Oregon OSHA has just released a series of materials, including sample training materials, to help employers comply with OR-OSHA’s temporary workplace safety rules related to COVID-19. We previously discussed the OR-OSHA rules here and here. The new materials are summarized below.
Employers must provide employees with COVID-19 information and training by December 21, 2020. For most employers, the training can be provided remotely (for example, by having employees review a PowerPoint). Exceptional-risk employers must conduct more detailed training, which must be “live” but not necessarily in-person (it can be conducted by video conference, for example).
OR-OSHA’s sample training materials cover the following topics:
- The characteristics and methods of transmission of COVID-19;
- The symptoms of COVID-19;
- The ability of presymptomatic and asymptomatic COVID-19 persons to transmit the virus; and
- Safe and healthy work practices and control measures, including but not limited to physical distancing, sanitation and disinfection practices.
Although the sample materials are helpful, there are still six topics that training must cover for which OR-OSHA has not provided sample materials:
- 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);
- COVID-19 sanitation requirements as they apply to the employee’s workplace and job function(s);
- COVID-19 signs and symptom reporting procedures that apply to the employee’s workplace;
- COVID-19 infection notification process as required by the OR-OSHA rule; and
- Medical removal as required by the OR-OSHA rule.
If you have questions about preparing the training materials, please contact us.
Please note that OR-OSHA has also published a sample training verification form. Although use of verification forms is not required, we recommend that employers use them to document employees’ completion of the trainings.
OR-OSHA has also released a memorandum providing some employers with a short grace period to complete the required risk assessment, infection control plan and employee training. Whether an employer qualifies for this grace period is a complex analysis of whether the employer has complied with the Oregon Governor’s Executive Order 20-65, “Temporary Freeze to Address Surge in COVID-19 Cases in Oregon” (available here). Here is an overview:
- Businesses that were covered by and in substantial compliance with Sections 4.a (food and drink establishments) and 4.b (gyms, pools, indoor recreational areas, and other entertainment facilities) of Executive Order 20-65 will not be cited for violation of the risk-assessment or infection-control plan provisions of the OR-OSHA rule that occur before December 28, 2020.
- Businesses that were covered by and in substantial compliance with Sections 4.a and 4.b of Executive Order 20-65 or their successor county-specific orders based on the Executive Order will not be cited for violation of risk-assessment or infection-control plan provisions of the new rules that occur before January 11, 2021. This deadline applies to, for example, restaurants operating in Multnomah, Washington or Clackamas Counties, each of which is classified as “extreme risk.”
- Businesses that are not covered by Sections 4.a and 4.b of the Executive Order or successor county-specific orders, or that were not in substantial compliance, must comply with the original timelines under the rules (December 7 for the risk assessment and infection control plan and December 21 for the employee training). However, according to the memorandum:
Oregon OSHA will address any compliance issues that arise under these requirements beginning with a telephone inquiry. If the employer provides a response that indicates they are working to comply and providing a reasonable time frame to complete the work, no inspections will be conducted based on the Risk Assessment and Infection Control Plan requirements before December 14, 2020, and no inspections will be conducted on the Infection Control training requirements before December 28, 2020. However, if satisfactory progress does not appear to be taking place based on the telephone inquiry, worksites may be scheduled for inspection based on those issues at any time after those provisions of the rule take effect.
Although extensions/grace periods are available for the risk-assessment and infection-control-plan aspects of the rule, the memorandum does not address whether they are available for the rules’ other requirements. This includes workplace safety measures like physical distancing rules, face-covering requirements, and infection-notification protocols (among many others) that were required to be implemented by November 16, 2020, as well as the training requirement that must be completed by December 21, 2020. The safest assumption is that the deadlines for these aspects of the rules remain in effect and cannot be extended.
OR-OSHA has also issued Fact Sheets and a Q&A document, available at the link above. The Fact Sheets provide concise, user-friendly summaries of OR-OSHA’s new rules and common symptoms of COVID-19. The Q&A Document answers 19 questions about the parameters of the new rules. Although many of the questions are specific to particular industries or types of employers (“Is the company that provides decontamination services in non-healthcare settings considered to be an Exceptional Risk?”), many of the questions are generally applicable. For example, the Q&A addresses such issues as what methods qualify as “reasonable alternative methods” when it is not feasible for employees to maintain six feet of distance at all times, as well as how employees who work in a cubicle-based office environment can maintain proper physical distancing.
If you have any questions about the new OR-OSHA rules, please contact us.