Update: Oregon Final COVID-19 Standard Revised

Posted on 8/17/2021 by Roger Marks and Lauren Scott

​[Update 08/17/21] Last week, Oregon OSHA revised the mask requirements in the state's final COVID-19 worker protection regulations and issued two new temporary administrative orders to expand upon the final standard.

The first temporary adminstrative order, "Adoption of rule requiring masks to be worn in indoor spaces in Oregon" expands upon the final standard's mask requirements. As of August 13, masks are required in indoor spaces for workers unless the employee is eating or drinking, in a private workspace, or masks must be removed to comply with law enforcement. This temporary standard is in effect until February 8, 2022.

Oregon OSHA further clarified its mask requirements in a second temporary administrative order titled "Masking Requirements in Schools," which was authorized on August 13. With certain exceptions, all staff, students, contractors, and visitors are required to wear masks during school hours and at other school activites (field trips, off-campus classes, etc.). This temporary rule will remain in effect until January 28, 2022.

​[Update 05/05/21] On May 4, Oregon OSHA adopted a final COVID-19 worker protection standard effective immediately. This standard replaces the similar temporary rule, which was set to expire on May 4.

See the full Oregon OSHA rule text here.

The “permanent” standard has no built-in sunset or repeal date. Oregon OSHA states at the top of the rule text that it will repeal the rule “when it is no longer necessary to address [the COVID-19] pandemic.” The State safety agency will consult with stakeholders no later than July 2021, and every two months thereafter, to discuss when all or part of the rule can be repealed.

The final standard largely mirrors the temporary rule. In response to the thousands of public comments received, the final standard adds additional language to clarify several existing measures, including social distancing and face coverings, transportation, sanitation, and exposure records.

Review the key revisions here.

On the Federal stage, US OSHA submitted its national COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for approval from the Office of Management and Budget last week. 

[Update 04/23/21] 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. 

On its dedicated web page for this rulemaking effort, Oregon OSHA states: "We have committed that anything required by the new rule that is not required by the existing temporary rule will have a delayed effective date." 

Oregon OSHA also released a document that outlines the differences between the temporary standard and the proposed permanent standard. 

[Update 02/04/21] Oregon OSHA has proposed a permanent COVID-19 worker protection standard to replace the temporary standard already in place. The temporary standard will expire on May 4. 

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. 

Oregon employers should review the proposed standard carefully. Public comments will be accepted until April 2, following a series of public hearings

In Virginia, a permanent COVID-19 rulemaking took effect on January 27

Oregon's Temporary COVID-19 Rulemaking
(Published in Lion News in November 2020) 

Oregon OSHA has finalized a temporary rulemaking to address the risks of COVID-19 exposure in the workplace. The rule applies “to all employees working in places of employment subject to Oregon OSHA’s jurisdiction” and includes requirements that apply to all workplaces.

Additional, more stringent requirements apply to workplaces where there is “exceptional risk” of exposure to COVID-19. 

The Rule takes effect on November 16, 2020 and addresses physical distancing at work, masks and face coverings, cleaning and sanitation, posting of a COVID-19 Hazards Poster, and notifying employees who may have been exposed.

Read the Final Rule 

4 Key Deadlines for Oregon Employers 

The rule sets four fast-approaching deadlines that employers must meet. Details on each item below are found in the text of the rule. 

By November 23, 2020, employers who operate or otherwise control buildings where their employees work must ensure the rule's sanitation requirements are met and must post signs in areas where masks, face coverings, or face shields are required. 

By December 7, 2020, employers must:  

  • Conduct exposure risk assessments detailed in the rule
  • Establish and implement an infection control plan

By December 21, 2020, employers must:  

  • Provide employee information and training in line with the requirements in section (i) of the rule.

By January 6, 2021, employers must:  

  • Optimize the amount of outside air circulated through the existing HVAC system(s).

COVID-19 Exposure Risk Assessment 

The text of the Final Rule 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 facilities type rather than site-by-site. In any case, site-specific information that affects employee exposure risk must be included in the assessment. 

A risk assessment template is included as a link in the final rule, in Microsoft Word format. 

COVID-19 Employee Training in Oregon

Training must cover general knowledge about COVID-19 as well as employer-specific information detailed below. Employee training must be completed by December 21, 2020.

Under the new rule, employee training must cover the following general knowledge about COVID-19. 
  • Physical distancing requirements as they apply to the employee’s workplace and job function(s).
  • Mask, face covering, or face shield requirements as they apply to the employee’s workplace and job-function(s)
  • Characteristics and methods of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19)
  • Symptoms of COVID-19
  • Ability of pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID-19 persons to transmit SARS-CoV-2
  • Safe and healthy work practice and control measures
Employers must provide additional, site-specific training to supplement the general knowledge elements above.

Site specific elements of the training must include: 
  • COVID-19 reporting procedures that apply in the specific workplace
  • How the employer will handle COVID-19 infection notifications to employees
  • Training on medical removal  
The rule also states that Oregon OSHA will provide materials 

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

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

Tags: covid-19 training by state, new rules

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