More masks. Better distancing. Improved air circulation. More information and training.

These are just a few of the items that Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Agency will be imposing on many businesses as it seeks to slow the spread of the coronavirus, which has been rampant in recent weeks.

The rule will take effect Nov. 16, with certain elements phased in, and is expected to remain in effect until May 4, Oregon OSHA said. It is a continuation of the guidance produced by the Oregon Health Authority and enforced in the workplace by Oregon OSHA, including physical distancing, use of face coverings, and sanitation.

The temporary rule is intended to further improve the current structure for reducing risks in the workplace by requiring several measures many employers have voluntarily implemented, Oregon OSHA said in a news release. For example, it requires employers to notify employees of a workplace infection and provide training to workers on how to reduce risks. Likewise, employers must formally assess the risk of exposure, develop infection control plans and address indoor air quality.

“We believe compliance with this rule will help reduce the serious threat to workers posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Michael Wood, administrator for Oregon OSHA, said in the release. “It does so by establishing a clear, practical, and consistent set of measures for employers.”

The measures are part of Oregon OSHA’s ongoing efforts to help protect workers from the coronavirus disease, the spread of which has spiked in recent weeks. The state shattered its daily case count record on Thursday, reporting 805 new cases that day alone. On Friday, the state came close to that record again, reporting 770 new cases. In total, Oregon has seen over 47,500 cases of the coronavirus and more than 700 people have died. From week to week, state health officials have reported a 34% spike in weekly cases.

Douglas County has also seen an increase in coronavirus cases. going from 249 on Oct. 1, to 436 on Friday. There have been six reported coronavirus-related deaths in the county in the last 2 ½ weeks.

Oregon OSHA said that in the weeks ahead it will provide educational resources to help employers and workers understand and apply the requirements. Some of the highlights of the new set of rules include:

Physical distancing

  • Employers must ensure 6-foot distancing between all people in the workplace through design of work activities and workflow, unless it can be shown it is not feasible for some activities.

Masks, face covering, or face shields

  • Employers must ensure that all individuals — including employees, part-time workers and customers — at the workplace, or other establishment under the employer’s control, wear a mask, face covering, or face shield in line with the Oregon Health Authority’s statewide guidance.
  • Employers must provide masks, face coverings, or face shields for employees free of cost.
  • If an employee chooses to wear a mask, face shield, or face covering — even when it is not required — the employer must allow them to do so.
  • When employees are transported in a vehicle for work-related purposes, regardless of the travel distance or duration, all people inside the vehicle must wear a mask, face covering, or face shield. This requirement does not apply when all people in the vehicle are members of the same household.

Ventilation

  • Employers must maximize the effectiveness of existing ventilation systems, maintain and replace air filters, and clean intake ports providing fresh or outdoor air. The temporary rule does not require employers to purchase or install new ventilation systems.

Exposure risk assessment

  • Employers must conduct a risk assessment — a process that must involve participation and feedback from employees — to gauge potential employee exposure to COVID-19, including addressing specific questions about how to minimize such exposure.

Information and training

  • Employers must provide information and training to workers about the relevant topics related to COVID-19. They must do so in a manner and language understood by workers.

Notification, testing, medical removal

  • Employers must notify affected workers within 24 hours of a work-related COVID-19 infection.
  • Employers must cooperate with public health officials if testing within the workplace is necessary.
  • If an employee must quarantine or isolate, the employer must follow proper work reassignment and return-to-work steps.

Meanwhile, an executive order issued Oct. 23 by Gov. Kate Brown extended COVID-19 protections for agricultural workers in employer-provided housing through the off-season.

Oregon OSHA said it will continue to pursue permanent rule making that will provide a structure for responding to potential future disease outbreaks. More information is available on the OSHA web site, osha.oregon.gov.

Scott Carroll can be reached at scarroll@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4204. Or follow him on Twitter @scottcarroll15.

React to this story:

4
1
0
1
3

(19) comments

st paddy

reminds me of a song from way back..........

And it's one, two, three

What are we fighting for ?

Don't ask me, I don't give a dam,

Next stop is Vietnam.

And it's five, six, seven,

Open up the pearly gates,

Well there ain't no time to wonder why,

Whoopee! we're all gonna die.................country joe and the fish

Mike

Biden transition team announces coronavirus advisers. I didn't see Dr. John Powell's name on the list.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/biden-transition-team-announces-coronavirus-advisers-including-whistleblower-rick-bright/ar-BB1aPuDM

GhostofTMcCall

As a veteran, I find Mike’s comments uninformed and unnecessarily inflammatory. The Veterans Day Parade is organized and held by an independent group of veterans. That group of veterans have consulted with public health officials to ensure that the parade is being held in a safe and socially distanced manner. The “floats” are stationary at the fairgrounds and people can honor veterans by driving through and paying their respects from their cars. There will even be a drive through flu clinic at the event.

The manner in which this was organized and planned to ensure the safety of the public is what you would expect from former military veterans – and our Commissioners have every right to be proud of the support they have given to this event. I was listening to that right wing news media outlet NPR on this morning and a nationally recognized infectious disease doctor was speaking about the plans of President-elect Biden’s Covid response team. He said the goal shouldn’t be lockdown – but moving towards conducting ourselves in a safe manner.

According to Mike, everything wrong is the fault of the Commissioners. There is an old saying, “When you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” I encourage everyone to safely attend Oregon’s best Veteran’s Day Parade – and get a flu shot while you are at it.

GhostofTMcCall

2020 Douglas County Veterans Day Reverse Parade Information and Guidelines

Due to Covid-19 this year’s Veterans Day Parade will be a “Reverse” Parade.

The parade entries will be stationary, while the viewers drive past along the parade route in vehicles.

It will be on Wednesday, November 11, 2020 at 11:00 am

It will be at the Douglas County Fairgrounds and not in downtown Roseburg this year.

Parade floats will be staged in the North Parking Lot of the Douglas County Fairgrounds.

Static parade displays in West Parking Lot of the Douglas County Fairgrounds.

The bands will be in the Grandstands, adjacent to the racetrack.

There will also be an optional drive-thru flu clinic. The flu clinic will be behind the grand-stands and food trucks will be located at the end of the parade route in the racetrack pits.

Parade viewers and participants must follow the posted signs and directions of Parade Officials/Staff.

Parade viewers are asked to stay in their vehicles, and not make any pit stops along the parade route.

All entries must check in to receive their staging location.

No support vehicles will be allowed in staging areas.

Facemasks are required for anyone not able to maintain 6-foot distancing, per state guidelines.

All entries will obey instructions and take directions from parade control units, aligners and police officers concerning the operating and staging of vehicles for this reverse parade.

Floats will need to stay in the staging area from the start to the end of the parade.

If parade viewers wish to stop at the end of the parade to visit the food trucks, they will need to make sure to follow the posted guidelines and directions of Parade Officials/Staff.

Mike

Just like the Halloween Party at the County Fairgrounds where a significant portion of the people handing out candy and most of the people in cars weren't wearing masks.

With coronavirus cases taking off in schools and throughout Douglas County, can you with any certainty say none of those cases are related to the Halloween Party ten days ago?

mworden

Hi, GhostofTMcCall, good to see you. I agree with you that the drive-by Veteran's Day Parade planned at the fairgrounds has been organized to be safe. A regular parade could have dire consequences. Back in 1918, Philadelphia refused to cancel a war bonds parade and within a week the city ground to a halt, 45,000 people were infected, and within 6 weeks 12,000 were dead. Cities that cancelled their parades fared much better.

I'm not worried about this parade. I am worried about people getting in a festive mood and gathering in groups to continue the celebrations of our Vets in less than safe ways. We had a spike in cases after the 4th of July, after Labor Day, after Halloween, and I hope we don't see one after Vet's Day. But we do have Thanksgiving coming up and large family gatherings are a long-time tradition. We have to do better this year.

I don't think our county commissioners and other local elected leaders have done enough to avoid a future lockdown. I'd like to see them send a maintenance worker out to the courthouse lawn to spray paint rectangles ten feet apart. Then they could invite their fans and supporters to a rally to talk about covid realities. Do we want to dig in our heels and defy all requests to mask up or do we want to avoid being locked down while people get sick and die around us? We can't have it both ways.

Local leaders have had a lot to say about individual responsibility -- a buzz phrase for many residents of the county. I'd like our leaders to start talking about community responsibility and what we must do in order to avoid a shutdown. I'd like to see them talk from the heart to tell their supporters they want our community to stay healthy and strong and that's only going to happen if people stop equating refusal of masks with liberty. That's all screwed up. I don't even know where that idea came from.

Dr. Fauci, Gov. Brown, Joe Biden, Dr. Dannenhoffer and mworden can shout from the roof tops, telling people to wear masks and the words with drift away with the wind.

Unless our local political leaders, the ones who got the big votes, stand up and tell their supporters it's time to understand that a virus doesn't care about your politics ... unless our most popular local leaders tell their supporters to stop messing around, put on the masks, socially distance, avoid travel and gatherings ... unless our leaders stand on the courthouse steps and actually lead ... well, I think we can look forward to a shutdown.

And I will blame the commissioners and Dallas Heard and Gary Leif, unless those very popular vote-getters man-up and start talking hard truths to the people who trust them.

Mike

Swedes ignore their first-ever lockdown as country sees record number of new Covid infections with people continuing to cram onto buses and throw dinner parties despite restrictions.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8926955/Swedes-ignore-lockdown-amid-rising-infections.html

Mike

Faced with the reality of a winter surge, Sweden is finally bringing in some harsher restrictions after months of being one of the few countries with no lockdown. Sweden's PM in isolation.

https://www.businessinsider.com/sweden-brings-in-regional-measures-cases-surge-2020-11

Mike

BEWARE Douglas County residents. The county’s 7-day positive test rate is now over 15.2%. This comes after a second straight day of record breaking case numbers in Douglas County. And remember, increasing deaths lag 3 – 4 weeks behind increasing case numbers. This may turn out to be a memorable Thanksgiving for all the wrong reasons, in great part due to the negligence of our County Commissioners and their many actions to downplay this pandemic for their own political reasons. One particularly dangerous action is Douglas County does NOT follow CDC guidance for coronavirus testing and tracing.

A RECORD 25 new coronavirus cases were reported today by our County Commissioners Coronavirus Response Team, increasing Douglas County’s totals to 482 cases and 10 deaths. Douglas County has set record case numbers three of the last four days.

The County Commissioners Coronavirus Response Team reported 133 coronavirus cases and received 1,338 test results over the past two weeks. Dividing 133 cases by 1,338 test results increases Douglas County’s 14-day positive test rate to a RECORD 9.9% today. The school re-opening metric is a maximum of 5.0%

The 110 coronavirus cases over the past two weeks represent a RECORD HIGH case rate of 119.8 today for Douglas County. The school re-opening metric is a maximum of 50.

The six counties surrounding Douglas County reported 166 new coronavirus cases today and a RECORD 880 cases and 5 deaths over the past week.

The Oregon Health Authority reported its second highest number of new coronavirus cases today at 861 with 1 death today. This is the fourth straight day Oregon has reported over 760 new coronavirus cases and the test positivity continues to increase statewide. The 7-day positive test rate for Oregon set another RECORD today at 12.1%. Douglas County was even higher than that at a 7-day positive test rate of 15.2%.

Mike

Further evidence of our County Commissioner's negligence during a pandemic.

According to today's Commissioner's Response Team press release, "The Douglas County Veterans Day Parade, is one of only two Veterans Day parades in Oregon that was not canceled due to the pandemic."

Douglas County has a positive test rate of over 15% and had record case numbers three of the past four days, yet our Commissioner's press release still brags how Douglas County will be one of the only Oregon counties to attract large groups of people together to attend a parade. I fully expect to read our Commissioners attended the parade and encouraged everyone to take off their mask and hug a veteran.

CitizenJoe

Long, dark, and deadly winter ahead here.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/nov/08/coronavirus-pandemic-trump-biden-strategy-experts

Mike

Grim forecast for the next two months.

mworden

I visited an Evergreen medical facility last week. I wore a medical mask. As I entered the building, I was greeted by a masked worker who had a machine take my temperature. The worker asked me if I had any symptoms or if I'd been exposed to anyone diagnosed with covid. I then entered the main lobby and went to the reception desk. The workers were behind glass shields, but they were not wearing face coverings of any kind.

Dr. Powell, please take better care of your staff and patients.

Mike

This comes after Evergreen on Edenbower was declared a coronavirus workplace outbreak by the Oregon Health Authority. If Dr. Powell didn't take steps to improve patient and worker safety after being declared a workplace outbreak, what makes you think he will do so now?

melrosereader

Sounds like Evergreen is a pest house.

melrosereader

I have recently been to OHSU in Portland and to Slocom Orthopedics in Eugene and to other medical facilities in Eugens. In ALL of these places staff ALL wore masks and required visitors to wear masks as well. At OHSU and at one place in Eugene, family members were not allowed.

melrosereader

mworden, have you thought about reporting Evergreen to OSHA? Here's a link: https://osha.oregon.gov/workers/Pages/index.aspx

mworden

[thumbup]

Mike

After 50,000 cases, 729 deaths and 9 months of a pandemic, the Oregon Health Authority is only NOW requiring “employers to notify employees of a workplace infection.” Previously, employers and our County Commissioners would jeopardize the lives of people and their families by keeping infection information hidden from employees, so they could keep making money and gather more campaign contribution. Previously, the public had to wait until the OHA’s Wednesday report to find out about workplace infections, something our County Commissioners told the employers about but NOT the employees.

How sad that it took OHA this long to make this requirement. Even sadder is that OHA must force this requirement on employers.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.