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Apr 07, 2022

OREGON: COVID-19 rules scaled back for general industry

COVID-19Safety and Health 

On March 18, 2022, Oregon OSHA updated its Rule Addressing COVID-19 Workplace Risks (OAR 437-001-0744), eliminating some requirements for general workplaces, making some provisions merely recommended, and continuing nearly all of the requirements for “exceptional risk” workplaces (such as health care settings). Our Legal Guide, At a Glance: COVID-19 Compliance in Oregon has been updated with the changes.

There are now only four requirements for general workplaces:

  • If you choose to require employees to be tested for COVID-19 (coronavirus), you must cover the costs associated with such tests, including paying for employee time and travel.
  • You must provide masks, face coverings, or face shields at no cost to workers.
  • If an employee chooses to wear a filtering facepiece respirator such as an N95 mask to protect against COVID-19, you must allow it and follow the “voluntary use” provisions of federal OSHA’s Respiratory Protection Standard (29 CFR 1910.134).
  • If an employee chooses to wear a mask, face shield, or face covering even when not required, you must allow them to do so.  

Oregon OSHA now merely recommends (instead of requires) the following for general workplaces:

  • Establish a procedure to notify employees of potential workplace exposure to COVID-19.
  • Follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines on length of quarantine and isolation, except that as of March 12, 2022, the Oregon Health Authority says quarantine after exposure to someone with confirmed COVID-19 is no longer necessary. As a result, only the isolation guidelines (for employees who actually test positive or have symptoms) are relevant.
  • Optimize the amount of outside air circulated through your existing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system when the outdoor air quality is good or moderate.

Tips: If you operate an exceptional risk workplace (such as health care), very little has changed. For other workplaces, decide whether to continue any of the recommended procedures. We suggest notifying employees if your procedures change. If you have questions about time off work or other legal issues related to COVID-19, contact your Vigilant Law Group employment attorney. For questions about respiratory protection or other safety aspects of the rules, contact your Vigilant safety professional.

This website presents general information in nontechnical language. This information is not legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific management decision, consult legal counsel.