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Oregon OSHA seeks comments on COVID-19 temporary workplace rule

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SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Oregon OSHA is proposing a temporary rule that would combat the spread of coronavirus in all workplaces by requiring employers to implement 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.

“This rule proposal reflects the need to provide both clearer and more stable guidance in the workplace than has been possible during the height of the COVID-19 emergency,” said Michael Wood, administrator for Oregon OSHA. “We look forward to more review and feedback as we seek to further bolster on-the-job protections for workers against this disease.”  

Oregon OSHA is accepting public comments on the proposal through Monday, Aug. 31. Send comments to 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. The rule contains multiple provisions that would apply to all workplaces.

For example, employers would have to ensure six-foot distancing between all people in the workplace. That would include designing work activities and the workplace to eliminate the need for any worker to be within six feet of another person.

If such separation is not practical, the employer would have to ensure that face coverings are worn and that as much distance as practical is maintained.

The distancing requirement could be met with an impermeable barrier that creates a “droplet buffer” of at least six feet in distance as measured between the mouths of the affected people.

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.

Oregon OSHA announced on June 26 that it had begun work on a draft temporary rule addressing COVID-19. The division conducted the work in consultation with the Oregon Health Authority, technical advisors, and affected stakeholders. At the same time, the division continues to pursue permanent rulemaking that would provide a structure for addressing potential future disease outbreaks.

For more information about Oregon OSHA workplace guidance and resources related to the coronavirus outbreak, visit


Oregon OSHA, a division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, enforces the state's workplace safety and health rules and works to improve workplace safety and health for all Oregon workers. For more information, go to

The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon's largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For more information, go to  

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  1. Most businesses I go into already seem to have these measures implemented. Why is Oregon OSHA working on a temporary 180 day manditory rule now? Must be some kind of Kate Control Issue or something.

    1. Worksite safety engages in a concept of “ongoing improvement”- the old “kaizen” way. So I have no issues with the basic idea of trying to do better- but OSHA should not be the heavy hand of Brown’s enforcement goons until they clean-up their own act- so if I may- the new guidelines have some specific requirements that are “not” being met almost state-wide.

      Page 5-

      (d) “Social distancing officer. All employers with at least 25 employees at any time must designate one or more employees who will be responsible to assist the employer in identifying appropriate social distancing, proper face covering use, and sanitation measures and ensure such policies and procedures are implemented. The social distancing officer must have the authority to take prompt corrective action or to implement measures to eliminate or otherwise minimize exposure to COVID-19. Employers with fewer than 25 employees may choose to appoint such a social distancing officer to assist the employer in complying with the requirements of this rule.”

      Most companies have no “mask police”- and nobody wants that job- especially around Union half-wits who have no respect for authority anyway. The whole of concept in Oregon of “police your own” is ineffective- it explains why Oregon has some of the highest safety accidents and incidents in the country.

      Oregon companies control their own destiny- fight the virus tooth and nail… or roll over and take the financial hit till the next guy out of Kentucky or Arkansas moves in- and yes- those contractors are already up and down the Gorge doing construction because Oregon has a messed up lazy work force- the data don’t lie.

  2. Money generator is the name of oshas game. If theybhave these new rules they can fine people and businesses. I say no thank you government I can decide whether or not i need to wear a mask at work.

    1. “I can decide whether or not i need to..”

      Not in Kate Browns Democrat asylum ! You will do as her Executive Orders mandate- which include house arrest, closing of business, financial hardship, no schooling for children, and her constant flip-flopping of phases to ensure you all know who’s in charge.

      This is a complete dictatorship and she’s laughing at the masses from her perch high in the kingdom of Salem.

      So you either continue to comply with her harsh and highly illegal acts- or you sign the petition to throw her out and begin to address the carnage- it will take decades !

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