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OR-OSHA has released Temporary “Smoke” Rules

As anticipated, these rules follow the agency’s “Heat” Rules released in mid-July. The rule requires ALL employers to provide training to employees about the hazards of wildfire smoke if they will be exposed to an AQI of greater than 101 about how to stay safe during this hazard. The rule incudes a training exemption if you determine you will suspend operations once the Air Quality Index (AQI) exceeds 101.

The rule also requires employers make respirators available to employees who will be working in conditions where the AQI exceeds 101 (does not include intermittent exposure of less than 15 minutes in an hour or short duration exposure of less than 2-hours in a single 24-hour period or the commute to and from work). The rule also requires the use of “feasible” engineering or administrative controls to reduce exposure including enclosed buildings or vehicles or relocating work or changing schedules.

The rule takes effect Aug. 9th and remain in effect for 180-days. Training materials and signage will be released by OR-OSHA in the coming week.

The rule and training applies to wildland firefighting and emergency response if does not create a greater hazard.

View Temporary Rule here.

OSHA Training/Educational Materials for Heat Rules

OR-OSHA has released educational materials and training resources to help employers comply with the new Temporary Heat Rules. The agency also announced enhanced enforcement where they will redirect investigators to confirm compliance. Penalties vary for violations of Oregon OSHA rules, in part, on the size of the employer, the risk involved, and the probability of a worker getting hurt. Under the division’s penalty structure, the maximum penalty for a serious violation that is not a willful or repeat offense is $12,675. A willful violation carries a maximum penalty of $126,749. The temporary emergency heat rule applies to any workplace – outdoors and indoors – where heat dangers are caused by the weather. The requirements include expanded access to shade and cool water; regular cool-down breaks; training; communication; and emergency planning.

You can also access OR-OSHA’s consultation and technical support resources. These are free and available to employers for help with complying with the emergency heat stress requirements. These resources involve no fault, no citations, and no penalties:

Current factsheet here.
Heat Index Calculator

Supervisor and employee training is required by Aug. 1, 2021! Employers must ensure that all employees – including new employees, supervisory, and nonsupervisory employees – are trained in a language they can readily understand, before they begin work at sites where the heat index will be 80 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. See topics on the listed factsheet.

Oregon Mask Mandate - OSHA Updates

Effective at 12:01 am, June 30, 2021 Governor Brown’s statewide mask mandate, county risk level system, limitation on non-urgent healthcare procedures, and restrictions on businesses for physical distancing, capacity limits and closing times is repealed. See Repeal of Executive Orders here. Some restrictions will remain at healthcare facilities, public transportation and congregate settings.

As anticipated, OR-OSHA followed with a similar announcement and updated rules which can be found attached (still be processed at SOS for filing here). While OR-OSHA has taken the position that they will NOT repeal all of their COVID-19 Workplace Rules, they have released a repeal of the following:

  • Physical Distancing:
    • Requirement to eliminate need/redesign workflow for any employee to be within 6-ft of another is REMOVED. See new (3)(a).
  • Masks:
    • Requirement that all employees, customers and vendors wear a mask is REMOVED. See new (3)(b).
    • Allows an employee who wants to wear a mask or respirator to wear one – a general employer is not required to provide mask/respirator
    • No requirement to verify vaccine status of employee
  • Posters:
    • No separate notice/posting required – just your regular workplace safety poster/notices – in “conspicuous manner in a central location” and provided electronically for those working at home. See new (3)(d).

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.

OSHA Releases Permanent Rules

OR-OSHA has published the permanent rules implementing workplace protection for COVID-19. As a reminder, the Permanent Rules replace the Temporary Rules which expired on Tuesday, May 4th and apply to ALL employers in Oregon. Our Dalton Advocacy team has been actively involved in the rulemaking process, flagging concerns with proposed expansion by labor and urging the agency to adopt a clear sunset tied to the Governors Executive Order. The rules do not contain a repeal date but do note that the agency will review them every two months beginning in July to discuss partial/complete repeal.

Review the OSHA summary of the rules here. Text of rules here.

The rules are effective May 4th (essentially ensuring no gap in your compliance with the current Temporary Rules on the books) with a delayed effective date of June 6th for the new provisions relating to ventilation, transportation, employee notification, and the PPE supply/crisis management plan requirements and May 17th for provisions related to respiratory protection for direct patient care.

Highlight of how these rules differ from the Temporary Rule:

  • Clarifies that if an employer already conducted a risk assessment and completed an infection control plan under the temporary rules, they do not need to do so again under the permanent rules.
  • Updates the cleaning and sanitization requirements to be consistent with new CDC guidance that such cleaning need only be done once a day. This is particularly helpful for businesses that run 24-hour operations.
  • Directs employers to minimize employees traveling together in vehicles, where practical. Where not practical, employees must wear face coverings and outside air flow in vehicles should be optimized.
  • Employers with 10 or more employees must attest that HVAC systems are functioning consistent with rule requirements.
  • When employees must be absent from the workplace to quarantine because of an exposure, employers must notify them of their rights to return and encourage information to be shared of any paid leave benefits provided by the employer.
    • Note: under new guidance from OHA individuals who are fully vaccinated and asymptomatic do not have to quarantine after an exposure.

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

Federal Motor Carrier Medical Card Waiver Extended

FMCSA has had a waiver in place since March to allow commercial driver license holders who are subject to federal rules to continue to hold commercial driving privileges with expired certificates. These Medical Examiner Certificate (MEC) waivers will be extended as follows:

  • If a driver certifies a driving type of “non-excepted interstate” and their MEC was valid for a period of 90 or more days and expired on or after Sept. 1, 2020, then a MEC emergency condition waiver will be placed on their record with an expiration date of Feb. 28, 2021. “Non-expected interstate” drivers whose prior MEC expired before September 1, 2020 or was valid for a period less than 90 days will not qualify for this new waiver.
  • If a driver certifies a driving type of “non-excepted intrastate” or “excepted interstate” and the driver’s prior MEC was valid for a period of 90 or more days and expired on or after March 1, 2020, and before Feb. 28, 2021, a MEC emergency condition waiver will be placed on their driving record with an expiration date of February 28, 2021.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and Oregon DMV have taken steps to help keep the holders of commercial driver licenses (CDL) and commercial learner permits (CLP) on the road during the COVID-19 response.

DMV is continuing to provide CLP knowledge tests and first-time CDL issuances by appointment only at six offices across Oregon.

Learn More

Driver License, Vehicle Tag Grace Period Extended

Oregon residents with a vehicle registration, permit or driver license expiring between Nov. 1, 2020, and April 30, 2021, have up to three months after their expiration date without being cited by law enforcement for an expired license or tags. The Oregon Department of Transportation and Oregon law enforcement agencies agreed to the new grace period as DMV catches up with a backlog due to COVID-19 restrictions.
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