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Oregon OSHA Issues $35K COVID-19 Safety Citation to Hardware Retail Chain

Posted on 4/26/2021 by Lauren Scott and Roger Marks

Two affiliated hardware stores in Oregon were fined a combined $35,600 for failing to adequately protect workers from exposure to COVID-19, according to the State Occupational Safety and Health Agency (Oregon OSHA).

After a series of inspections, employer and employee interviews, and records examinations, Oregon OSHA alleged that the retail chain managing the two stores willfully failed to ensure that all customers inside the stores wore a mask, face covering, or face shield to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Each store was fined $17,500 for the alleged infractions. In addition, Oregon OSHA cited one of the stores for failing to develop and implement a complete risk assessment to identify potential employee exposure to the virus and failing to develop and implement an infection control plan. That store faces an additional civil penalty of $600 for the alleged violations.

COVID-19 Exposure Risk Assessment 

Oregon’s Temporary Rule to address COVID-19 workplace risks lays out detailed steps employers should take to perform and record exposure risk assessments.

If an employer has multiple facilities that are substantially similar, the rule states, its risk assessment may be developed by facility type rather than site-by-site. In any case, site-specific information that affects employee exposure risk must be included in the assessment.  

Oregon OSHA includes a Risk Assessment template, linked on page 11 of the temporary rule, in Microsoft Word format.

Oregon OSHA Proposes Permanent COVID-19 Standard

Oregon OSHA has proposed a permanent COVID-19 worker protection standard to replace the temporary standard already in place.

The proposed permanent standard expands on the temporary standard, adding bolstered or modified requirements concerning employee transportation, ventilation measures, cooperation with public health officials, and employee notifications. It would also require healthcare employers to provide NIOSH-approved respirators for employees who work with known or suspected COVID-19 patients in many cases. 

The Public comment period for Oregon OSHA's proposed permanent COVID-19 worker protection standard closed on April 2. The agency received more than 5,000 public comments and expects to make a decision about the permanent rule before the existing temporary rule expires on May 4.

COVID-19 Safety Awareness Online Training

The COVID-19 Employee Safety Awareness Online Course will help you satisfy your state's employee training requirements concerning the novel coronavirus. Employees must know how to protect themselves and their co-workers from exposure to COVID-19 to keep your operations safe and healthy. 

The online course prepares employees to:
  • Recognize signs, symptoms, and risk factors for COVID-19
  • Describe how the COVID-19 disease is transmitted
  • Follow recommended hygiene and work protocols to prevent exposure
  •  Properly use and care for PPE and face coverings, when required 
 Find more resources to help your facility protect employees from COVID-19 at Lion.com/COVID19

Employers may need to provide additional training on site-specific COVID-19 procedures to achieve full compliance.  

Tags: coronavirus, COVID-19, employee safety, Oregon, osha, workplace safety

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