On May 4th, 2021, the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Oregon OSHA) adopted a permanent safety and health standard to protect workers against COVID-19 exposures. This new standard will remain in force until repealed and includes health protection measures such as formal exposure risk assessment and infection control planning, optimization and maintenance of existing ventilation systems, physical distancing, and the use of face coverings, as well as employee notification and training.
The permanent standard incorporated several changes from the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), including:
- 1. Reducing the number of industry-specific appendices by six and limiting industry-specific requirements to those involving worker protection, reducing the length both of the appendices and the entire rule.
- 2. Dramatically reducing the K–12 schools appendix and removing all references to cohorts and square footage limitations, as well as physical distancing between students.
- 3. Requiring employers to consider alternatives to transporting multiple people in a single vehicle and providing other guidance about reducing risk while sharing vehicles but not requiring the use of multiple vehicles to transport multiple employees.
- 4. Requiring employers with more than 10 employees that have existing ventilation systems to state in writing that, to the best of their knowledge, they are running their systems in line with requirements. However, the final rule does not require the purchase or installation of new ventilation systems.
- 5. Reducing required sanitation measures to reflect the most up-to-date guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- 6. Requiring employers to provide written notification to employees of their rights to return to work if they must quarantine.
- 7. Requiring healthcare employers to provide respirators to employees working with known or suspected COVID-19-positive patients, unless such respirators are unavailable (source).
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