Summer in Oregon has officially arrived and, at least in the Portland Metro area, it did so not with a polite knock on the door, but with a string of 90-degree days. As the season continues to roll out, and with the likelihood of more hot days ahead, it’s important to remember that Oregon has
Lou Ferreira is a senior partner with more than 30 years of complex trial experience. His practice focuses on insurance coverage and environmental, safety & health issues.
Best Lawyers in America® has consistently recognized Lou as one of the leading attorneys in insurance law. He has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars from insurance companies for his clients. Lou is AV Peer Review Rated for Energy & Environmental, Martindale-Hubbell’s highest peer recognition for professional ability and ethical standards. He represents clients in an array of environmental contexts, including issues related to negotiation of consent decrees with governmental agencies, lawsuits between potentially liable parties to allocate the cost of environmental cleanups, suits against insurance companies to recover the costs associated with environmental liabilities, and Citizen Suits under the Clean Water Act. Lou has tried cases under both the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Recovery Act (CERCLA), and Washington State’s Model Toxics Control Act.
Lou regularly advises companies on a wide range of risk management issues, including matters concerning the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, product liability, regulatory compliance, and contractual allocation of risks, as well as advising clients with regard to the procurement of a wide range of insurance products necessary to deal with their unique issues.
Lou has represented clients in OSHA and other types of regulatory enforcement actions involving workplace fatalities and other catastrophes. Lou is experienced in managing multi-agency investigations, coordinating evidence preservation, and making sure clients have the right experts involved to protect their rights and to understand the root causes of such events.
Prior to joining Stoel Rives, Lou served as law clerk to the Honorable Stephen S. Trott, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (1989–1990) and as an honors intern in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environmental and Occupational Disease Litigation Section (1987). He also served as a Special Forces medic in the U.S. Army.
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Yesterday, the Oregon Occupational Health and Safety Administration (“OR OSHA”) issued a temporary rule to address employees’ exposure to the hazards posed by temperatures in excess of 80 degrees.
The rule applies whenever employees are required to work in conditions in which the “heat index temperature” (which combines air temperature with relative humidity to measure…
Effective May 4, 2021, the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OR OSHA”) published its final rule requiring Oregon employers to continue to implement safety measures to protect against the spread of COVID-19. The final rule is available on OR OSHA’s website. Here is a summary of the permanent rule’s key provisions:
No Sunset Date …
On November 6, 2020, the Oregon Occupational Health and Safety Administration (“OR-OSHA”) published final temporary rules for workplace safety protections specific to COVID-19. Our alert about the new rules is available here.
Among other requirements, the new rules require employers to adopt a COVID-19 Infection Notification policy for notifying exposed and affected employees of…
On November 6, 2020, the Oregon Occupational Health and Safety Administration (“OR-OSHA”) published final temporary rules for workplace safety protections specific to COVID-19. The text of the final rules is available on OR-OSHA’s website.
The effective date for the new rules is November 16, 2020, although the timeline for different requirements under the rules…
Oregon OSHA has released its “Near Final Draft” of a COVID-19 Temporary Standard. This proposed new regulation sets forth a number of new rules for how an employer must operate in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and respond to any positive cases among its employees. The regulation applies to employers and building operators.…
In the wake of an onslaught of employee complaints about social distancing in the workplace, the Oregon Occupational Health and Safety Administration (“OR-OSHA”) announced that it would begin workplace inspections in order to enforce the social distancing requirements imposed by Governor Brown’s March 23 Executive Order. Our blog post describing the Executive Order is here, a link to a media article about OR-OSHA’s announcement is here, and a link to OR-OSHA resources regarding workplace safety during the COVID 19 pandemic is here.
Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind if OR-OSHA conducts an inspection at your workplace:
- OR-OSHA has the legal authority to inspect workplaces for compliance with safety standards, with or without notice. This includes the right to enter the workplace “during working hours or at other reasonable times, within reasonable limits, and in a reasonable manner.” What is “reasonable” will depend on the circumstances, but in general it means that investigators may access your facility during regular business hours and may inspect portions of the facility as much as necessary to determine whether sound safety practices are being followed.
- The OR-OSHA investigator will generally begin the inspection by holding a short conference with the employer’s representative. This is why it is important now to plan ahead and designate your representative(s), who may or may not be the same individual(s) who are enforcing social distancing compliance with Governor Brown’s Executive Order, and prepare them for how to cooperate with OR-OSHA. During the conference the investigator will present his/her credentials and explain the purpose and scope of the visit, request any records he/she intends to review, determine whether any personal protective equipment is necessary while touring the facility, and inform the employer of OR-OSHA’s right to speak to employees and take photographs or conduct sampling.
- The employer is entitled to have a representative accompany the investigator during the inspection. Inspectors have the right to question employees confidentially without management representatives present.
- At the conclusion of the inspection, the investigator will conduct a closing conference to discuss his/her findings and advise the employer of any violations and safety hazards that have been identified. The investigator will also discuss OR-OSHA’s remediation and enforcement plan, including items like timelines for correcting any hazards, possible penalties, and the employer’s appeal rights.