Oregon OSHA releases draft rules for COVID-19
Wednesday, August 19, 2020
Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Oregon OSHA) has released a draft temporary standard (PDF) intended to protect workers against the COVID-19 pathogen in the workplace.
According to the agency’s infectious disease rulemaking page, the temporary standard would be step one in a two-step process; the second step would be a permanent standard that would replace it later. Both follow emergency rules (PDF) adopted in May requiring distancing, sanitation measures and other additional steps in the workplace.
According to a potential rulemaking timeline (PDF), officials hope to adopt the draft temporary standard by September 14. OAN, Oregon Farm Bureau and others are asking the agency to push back that deadline and allow more time for comment.
“The state is making a significant push to impose additional restrictions on employers, when only a small percentage of COVID-related deaths have been connected to the workplace,” OAN Executive Director Jeff Stone said. “Any COVID death is one too many, and work must continue to educate employees and employers on how to prevent transmission, but any rules imposed need to keep the realities of the workplace in mind. We have not seen the level of listening by officials that we would like to see.”
The permanent standard would be released in the fall, followed by a comment period and possible adoption by March 1.