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OR-OSHA Permanent Heat Rules

May 10, 2022- OR-OSHA has released their final permanent “Heat” Rules. These rules are effective June 15, 2022 and apply to all public and private employers where an exemption or partial exemption does not otherwise apply. Employers are required to provide “heat illness prevention” training to all employees before they begin work that “should reasonably be anticipated to expose them to the risk of heat illness.” The rules are available here. We will be scheduling training seminars shortly. Until, then a brief outline to aid in starting with compliance is listed below.
  • Application:All employees when working indoor OR outdoor where temperature equals or exceeds 80 degrees
  • Exemptions:
    • Buildings with “mechanical ventilation system”/HVAC that keeps the temperature below 80 degrees
    • Incidental heat exposure of 15 minutes in a 60-min period (no daily limit)
    • All emergency operations directly involved in the protection of life/property/power shut off
    • Partial Exemptions: a) Employees who work from home are only subject to the training requirements in sections (9) and (10) or b) Employees who perform either ‘rest’ or ‘light’ workloads when the temperature is less than 90 degrees subject to section 3-10
  • Requirements at 80 degrees:
    • Shade – Section (3): Must establish and maintain one or more shade areas that are immediately and readily available to exposed employees that are outdoors
    • Drinking Water – Section (4): Cool or cold water made available at all times at no cost. Must be enough that each employee can consume up to 32 ounces per hour
  • High-Heat Practices/Requirements at 90 degrees – Section (5)
    • Communication devices required to contact supervisor at all times
    • Heat-related illness communication plan (communication device, buddy system) 5(a)-(e).
    • When working in buildings/structures without mechanical ventilations: Measure temperature and humidity when occupied; Use NIOSH Heat Safety Tool app to determine heat index
    • Heat Illness Prevention Rest Breaks
      • Develop and implement written heat illness prevention rest break schedule
        • Employers required to choose and implement one of the three options
          • Option A – Table 1: self-designed schedule built on minimum rest break schedule
          • Option B – Table 2: schedule based on heat illness prevention plan developed by NIOSH
          • Option C – Table 3: schedule based on OR OSHA for high-heat scenario in NIOSH plan
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      • Rest Breaks may be provided concurrently with other meal/rest breaks if they coincide. However, note that heat illness prevention rest breaks only count when time is spent in the shade and when employee is not performing work other than “rest” or “light” work. BOLI is working on compliance guidance now. See workload classification in Appendix A, page 8
    • Other General Requirements:
      • Emergency Medical Plan – Section (6): Address exposure to excessive heat in compliance with OAR 437-002-0161(4)
      • Acclimatization Plan – Section (7): Employer-designed acclimatization plan; or NIOSH acclimatization plan
      • Heat Illness Prevention Plan – Section (8): Develop, implement and maintain heat illness prevention plan in writing; Made available to worksites and upon request
      • Annual Supervisor & Employee Training – Section (9): BEFORE beginning work “reasonably anticipated to expose them to the risk of heat illness”; Verification documentation required of completed training – name, date of training and Trainor

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.

OR-OSHA released permanent “Smoke” Rules

OR-OSHA has released final permanent 'smoke' rules which are effective July 1, 2022. A copy of the rules is available here. A brief summary is below.

Smoke Rules

  • EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2022
  • Application: Public & Private employers whose employees are OR will be exposed to wildfire smoke where the AQI is at or above 101 for PM2.5
  • Exemptions:
    • Enclosed building with mechanical ventilation system AND employer ensures windows/doors kept closed except when necessary to briefly enter/exit
    • Enclosed vehicle with air filter system and closed doors/windows
    • Employer predetermines a shuts down of operations at AQI 101 or higher
    • Employees working from home
    • Partial Exemptions – subject only to (4)(a)-(4)(g) Training and (7)(b) Voluntary use of filtering facepiece respirators:
      • Wildland firefighting and support activities
      • All emergency operations directly involved in the protection of life/property/power shut off
      • Intermittent employee exposure of less than 15 minutes in an hour to AQI of 101 for a TOTAL exposure of less than one hour in a single 24-hour period
  • Requirements:
    • Exposure Assessment – Section (3): Required at start of each shift AND as needed
    • Training – Section (4)
      • Annually before employees exposed to all employees who “may be exposed to” PM 2.5 or AQI 101 or above.
      • OSHA will provide a Wildfire Smoke Online Course in English and Spanish and materials to assist with training
      • Training documentation required – name, date of training and Trainor. See Section (5).
    • Two-way Communication before AQI 101 – Section (6)
    • Exposure Controls – Section (7)
      • Engineering – temporarily relocating to indoors
      • Administrative – temporarily relocating to another outdoor operation; changing work schedules
      • Voluntary use of respirators when AQI at 101 – employer provided. Distribute directly or maintain sufficient supply for all exposed employees
      • Required use of NIOSH-approved respirators when AQI 251: Employers must follow the Respiratory Protection Standard, including medical evaluations and fit testing for NIOSH-approved respirators OR implement a Wildfire Smoke Respiratory Protection Program as described in Appendix A. Employer provided housing is exempt while employees are inside the housing
      • Required use of NIOSH-approved respirators when AQI 501 AND complete Respiratory Protection Program: Employer provided housing is exempt while employees are inside the housing.

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.


More Valuable Links

OR-OSHA "Fighting farmland and rangeland wildfires" publication.

Guide to Farm Trucking in Oregon – ODOT, online version.

OSU Extension Cereal Newsletters – online reports by count.y

Crop Quality Oregon State Reports.

Grain Bin Safety Flyer.

SAIF: Agriculture and farm safety. Find information on agricultural safety and regulations, including pesticides, farm vehicles, seasonal workers, and more.

Visit the Oregon OSHA website to learn more about agricultural safety and regulations.

View the 2020 Seed Buying Guide here.

Worker Protection Standards

Web-Based Training for Trainers of Agricultural Workers and Pesticide Handlers under the National Worker Protection Standard (WPS) – Train the Trainer course – online, 24/7 training

WPS Compliance Assistance Library – A comprehensive guide with links to FAQ and more.

WPS: A Manual for Trainers of Ag Workers & Pesticide Handlers

PERC website – Pesticide Educational Resources Collaborative

“How to Comply” Manual

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