Itemizer-Observer report

SALEM — Oregon OSHA is proposing a temporary rule that would combat the spread of coronavirus in all workplaces by requiring risk-reducing measures, including social distancing, barriers, face coverings, cleanings, and information sharing.

In addition to requirements that would apply to all workplaces, the rule encompasses further requirements for certain job duties involving close-in work activities, as well as health care activities involving direct patient care.

Oregon OSHA is accepting public comments on the proposal through Monday, Aug. 31. Send comments to tech.web@oregon.gov. The division is scheduling virtual public forums to discuss the rule. The full text of the draft standard — as well as background documents and other up-to-date information – is now available.

The temporary rule, which could take effect no later than Monday, Sept. 14, would remain in effect for 180 days. Another example pertains to all high-contact surfaces used by multiple employees, such as door handles and cash registers. Employers would have to ensure that such surfaces are thoroughly cleaned at the beginning of each shift. Meanwhile, the draft rule includes additional measures for jobs requiring an employee to be within six feet of another person for 15 minutes or longer if it includes direct contact. Examples of such activities include tattooing, massage, and hair dressing.

In those situations, employers would need to conduct a COVID-19 exposure risk assessment. Such an assessment would account for a variety of risk elements, including the anticipated or actual working distance between all employees and the frequency, duration, and variety of close-in work activities.

The draft rule contains an additional requirement for employers engaged in such health care activities as direct patient care, aerosol-generating procedures, and emergency first-responder work: developing and implementing an infection control plan.

The plan would need to include such steps as outlining worker tasks requiring the use of personal protective equipment, spelling out hazard control measures, and describing face-covering requirements.

For more information about Oregon OSHA workplace guidance and resources related to the coronavirus outbreak, visit https://osha.oregon.gov/Pages/re/covid-19.aspx.

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