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Heat Rules: What Do You Need to Know?

OR-OSHA’s Heat Rules have taken effect. The rules apply to all employers, regardless of size, and require access to shade and water, paid breaks of increasing length as the temperature increases and new exposure assessments, plans and training for all employees.

Heat Rule Overview

The heat rule requirements are based on a set of numbers called the heat index which indicates what the temperature feels like to the human body when relative humidity and the temperature are combined. The heat index is published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service.

Oregon OSHA’s rules apply whenever an employee is working indoor or outdoor and the heat index equals or exceeds 80 degrees Fahrenheit. There are a few full and partial exemptions to the rules. Full exemptions to the requirements are provided for incidental heat exposures, exposures to heat generated from the work process, emergency operations, and buildings/ structures/ enclosed vehicles that have a mechanical ventilation system that keeps the heat index below 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Partial exemptions are available when employees perform “rest” or “light” workloads, for associated support activities for wildland firefighters, and employees who work from home. See Key Requirements from OR-OSHA here.


When the heat index equals or exceeds 80 degrees Fahrenheit, there are three key requirements employers must follow, as well as a few additional general requirements:

Requirement: Training for supervisors and employees. Employers must ensure that all employees are trained in heat illness prevention before they begin work at sites where the heat index will be 80 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. The verification documentation required of completed training includes the employee name, date of training and trainer name.

Requirement: Access to Shade. Employers must establish one or more shade areas when the heat index equals or exceeds 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Shade may be provided by natural or artificial means.

Requirement: Provide Drinking Water. Employers must provide enough drinking water so that each employee can consume 32 ounces per hour. Drinking water must be cool (66 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit) or cold (35 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit).

Other General Requirements: A number of written plans are required including an emergency medical plan and acclimatization plan; all of which can be wrapped into an employer’s “Heat Illness Prevention Plan.” For this plan, employers must maintain the plan in writing. It should be made available to worksites and upon request. OR-OSHA has a template Heat Illness Prevention Plan you can use here. Fill in your company information and you are set!

Additional requirements are imposed when the heat index exceeds 90 degrees Fahrenheit:

  • Ensure that effective communication is maintained so that employees working at the site can contact a supervisor.
  • Ensure that employees are monitored for signs of heat illness, and whether medical attention is necessary.
  • Designate and equip one or more employees at each site who can call for emergency medical services.
  • Ensure that each employee takes heat illness prevention rest breaks, based upon one of the three options in the rules.

How Do I Find the Heat Index?

  1. Download and use the OSHA-NIOSH Heat Safety Tool App on your phone. -or-
  2. Measure on your own. The national Weather Service Heat index calculator can help:

The information provided is not an exhaustive review of the heat and smoke rules, so if you have questions, review with OR-OSHA directly.

Smoke Rules: What Do You Need to Know?

OR-OSHA’s Smoke Rules take effect July 1 and apply to apply to employers whose employees are or will be exposed to unhealthy or hazardous levels of wildfire smoke. See Key Requirements from OR-OSHA here.Overview

The smoke rule requirements are based on the Air Quality Index (AQI) which was developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as an indicator of overall air quality for the general population. Requirements begin to take effect at AQI of 101 or higher for exposures to particulate matter with a diameter in micrometers of 2.5 or less, commonly referred to as PM2.5.

These standards do not apply to employees working in enclosed buildings, structures, and vehicles in which air is filtered by a mechanical ventilation system, and when exterior openings are kept closed except when it is necessary to briefly open doors to enter or exit, employers that have predetermined to suspend operations to prevent employee exposure to wildfire smoke, and employees working at home. Partial exemption is provided for wildland firefighting and associated support activities; evacuation, rescue, utilities, communications, and medical operations directly involved in or aiding emergency operations or firefighting operations; and work activities involving only intermittent employee exposure of less than 15 minutes in an hour, for a total exposure of less than one hour in a single 24-hour period.

Requirement: Assess and monitor air quality at each work location where employees are exposed. Employers must assess work locations when they are affected by wildfire smoke to determine air quality conditions by checking the current average AQI value for PM2.5.

Requirement: Provide and document employee training. Employers that are not partially exempt from the standard must verify supervisor and employee training by preparing a written or electronic record that includes at least the name or identification number of each employee trained, the dates of the trainings, and the name of the people who conducted the training. The most recent annual training record for each employee must be maintained for one year.

Requirement: Implement two-way communication system. The system is intended to communicate wildfire smoke information between supervisors and employees and may include use of cell phones, two-way radios, in-person communication and any other viable means to transmit information reliably and effectively.

Requirement: Implement engineering and administrative controls. Used to reduce employee exposure to smoke, only controls that are functionally possible and would not prevent the completion of work must be used.

Requirement: Provide NIOSH-approved filtering face piece respirators for voluntary use to employees. NIOSH-approved filtering face piece respirators include: N95, N99, N100, R95, R99, R100, P95, P99, and P100. NIOSH-approved filtering face piece respirators do not include any “KN” designations, such as KN95s.

When the AQI value exceeds 250, employers must provide NIOSH-approved filtering face piece respirators for mandatory use to employees.

When the AQI exceed 500, employers must provide NIOSH-approved respirators for mandatory use to employees.

Finding the AQI

There are a few ways to find the Air Quality Index measurement

  1. Oregon DEQ website:
  2. U.S. EPA AirNow Fire and Smoke Map website:
  3. Download the free OregonAir app from DEQ or the “EPA AIRNow” app from the U.S. EPA

Oregon Ag Overtime Signed Into Law

Governor Brown signed the ag overtime bill, ending the long-standing agricultural exemption from overtime laws. In the 2022 legislative session, the bill passed the House on a party line vote and passed the Senate 17 – 10 with Senator Lee Beyer (D) joining Republicans in a ‘no’ vote.

As passed and signed, the bill adopts an agricultural overtime threshold that is phased in over the next six years – starting at 55 hours in 2023 and ending at a 40-hour work week by 2028. The bill includes a tiered tax credit structure where eligible employers can apply for credits to offset their labor costs over the five-year phase in. FLSA exemptions are permitted and to view an explanation of those for ag, click here.

Phased-In to 40 Hour Strict
The bill phases in the overtime threshold on work weeks, with the following:
  • 55 hours per work week in 2023 and 2024
  • 48 hours per work week in 2025 and 2026
  • 40 hours per work week in 2027 and beyond.

Limited Duration Tiered Tax Credit
The tax credit differentiates between the size of operations, with divisions between those with more than 50 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) employees, 25 to 50 FTE and less than 25 FTE. It also included a special credit allocation for small dairies. See the table below.

Signs of Heat Exhaustion and Take Precautions

Employers Encouraged to Learn the Signs of Heat Exhaustion and Take Precautions

As temperatures rise to record levels across the state, OR-OSHA has released an announcement educating employers on the dangers heat illness poses to employees whenever they are unprepared for hot weather. Knowing that farmers work alongside their employees, OFB encourages everyone on the farm to take precautions in the coming days, as over exposure to heat can have serious consequences.

In the following voluntary measures, OR-OSHA encourages employers to focus on prevention. Prevention includes providing water, rest, and shade, gradually adapting workers to hot environments, and training employees to recognize the signs of heat illness and to raise concerns immediately. Depending on the situation, they may consider certain steps. Those include adjusting work practices, including performing work during the coolest part of the day, or making sure workers get regular breaks, shade, and water.

Here are some tips that employers can use for preventing heat-related illness:

  • Perform the heaviest, most labor-intensive work during the coolest part of the day.
  • Use the buddy system (work in pairs) to monitor the heat.
  • Drink plenty of cool water (one small cup every 15 to 20 minutes).
  • Wear light, loose-fitting, and breathable clothing (such as cotton).
  • Take frequent short breaks in cool, shaded areas – allow your body to cool down.
  • Avoid eating large meals before working in hot environments.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcoholic beverages (these make the body lose water and increase the risk of heat illnesses).

To help those suffering from heat exhaustion:

  • Move them to a cool, shaded area (the inside of a hot vehicle is not appropriate). Do not leave them alone.
  • Loosen and remove heavy clothing.
  • Provide cool water to drink (a small cup every 15 minutes) if they are not feeling sick to their stomach.
  • Try to cool them by fanning them. Cool the skin with a spray mist of cold water or a wet cloth.
  • If they do not feel better in a few minutes, call 911 for emergency help.

As a reminder, the call to address the hazards of working in high heat is part of an OR-OSHA’s emphasis program. This means that the division’s enforcement and consultation activities include a review of employers’ plans to address heat exposure, especially from June 15 through Oct. 1 of each year. Oregon OSHA urges employers to create a heat illness prevention plan. Employers can get a sample heat illness prevention plan in English and Spanish.

Employers may also consider using the following resources to help protect their workers from heat stress:

  • Oregon OSHA’s consultation services offers free assistance with health and safety programs. No fault, no citations, and no penalties are involved.
  • The division’s technical experts can help you understand health and safety requirements.
  • The federal OSHA heat stress app is useful for planning outdoor work activities based on how hot it feels during the day.
  • Oregon OSHA provides heat stress prevention videos in English and Spanish.
The division’s A-to-Z topic page about heat stress includes quick guides, fact sheets, and posters in English and Spanish.

CAT Forms now Available Online

Forms for Oregon’s Corporate Activity Tax are now available on the Department of Revenue website.

Go to the Revenue forms page and scroll down to Corporate Activity Tax or type “corporate” in the search box.

Taxpayers with general questions about the CAT can email or call 503-945-8005.

Learn more about the CAT here.

Oregon Workplace Fairness Act

All employers are required by law to have a clear policy to reduce and prevent harassment, discrimination, and sexual assault, as a result of legislative action in 2019. The Oregon Workplace Fairness Act requires all Oregon employers to adopt a written policy containing procedures and practices to reduce and prevent specific types of unlawful discrimination and sexual assault.

At a minimum, the policy must:

(a) Provide a process for employees to report prohibited conduct;

(b) Identify the individual or position (for example the Store Manager or HR Director) as well as an alternate individual or position to whom an employee can report of prohibited conduct;

(c) Include a statement that an employee who pursues legal action on alleged conduct prohibited by ORS 659A.030, 659A.082 or 659A.112 must do so no later than five years after the occurrence of the violation;

(d) Include a statement that an employer may not require or coerce an employee to enter into a nondisclosure or non-disparagement agreement, including a description of the meaning of those terms;

(e) Include an explanation that an employee claiming to be aggrieved by unlawful discrimination or sexual assault may voluntarily request to enter into a settlement, separation or severance agreement which contains a nondisclosure, non-disparagement, or no-rehire provision only if the employee has at least seven days to revoke the agreement after signing; and

(f) Include a statement that advises employers and employees to document any incidents involving unlawful discrimination and sexual assault.

All employers must:

(a) Make the policy available to employees within the workplace;

(b) Provide a copy of the policy to each employee at the time of hire; and

(c) Require any individual who is designated by the employer to receive complaints to provide a copy of the policy to an employee at the time that the employee discloses information regarding prohibited discrimination or harassment.

Be Road Safe!

To help keep both motorists and farmers safe, the Oregon Farm Bureau (OFB) Health & Safety Committee offers a video and free brochure with important tips on how to share the road safely with farm equipment.


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