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COVID-19 – Friday the 13th Update

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It has been quite a while since you’ve heard from me about COVID-19.  That’s a good thing!  Unfortunately, here I am again. 

The good news is Oregon is still doing a good job compared to much of the country in keeping the numbers of infections and deaths on the lower end.  The not good news is our numbers are doing what they are across the country – rising.

If you haven’t seen the new OSHA regulations, some are taking effect as soon as November 23, 2020, well, then you better keep reading.  I’ve done my best to synthesize it into a few bite-size chunks.  For those with time on their hands this rainy afternoon, the full document is attached.  Spoiler alert – many of these I would venture to guess most of you are already doing – but not all – so keep reading.   

Here are the highlights:

  • Physical Distancing – Employers must ensure that all individuals, including customers, vendors, and patrons, within the workplace, be six feet apart unless it can be shown it is not feasible for some activities. 
  • Masks/Face Coverings – Employers must assure that all individuals ages five (5) and older use face coverings following requirements from the Oregon Health Authority.  Employers must also supply face coverings at no cost to employees.  Employees may choose to use their own masks. Face shields may be used but should be limited to those who cannot wear a mask, as masks are more effective. 
  • Cleaning – Employers must provide employees with supplies and time for more frequent cleaning and to perform hand hygiene before using shared equipment, eating, or touching the face or eyes.  Common areas, shared equipment, and high-touch surfaces must be cleaned frequently, depending on how long workplaces are occupied. 
  • Posting Requirements – OSHA has created a COVID-19 Hazards Poster in English and Spanish.  Post the signs in a central location where workers will see it.  If employees are working remotely, you are required to provide them with the information electronically.  Post the signs in places where face coverings are required.  Poster Attached
  • Exposure Risk Assessment – With feedback and employee participation, employers must assess potential exposure to COVID-19 within the workplace.  Employers with ten (10) or more employees or those at workplaces with exceptional risk must document the assessment in writing.  See pages 9-11 of the OSHA rule attached for what you must specifically record and the questions you must address.  Oregon OSHA has created a fillable exposure risk assessment form. 

This email is a high-level summary and is not intended to be all-inclusive.  The rule also has industry and activity-specific requirements that are too lengthy to summarize.  In a nutshell, if you are in a high-exposure risk industry or activity such as healthcare, food service, personal care services, etc., please take the time to read the OSHA COVID Rules in detail. 

I know this is all a lot to digest on a Friday the 13th morning!  As always, feel free to reach out with any questions. 

Be well,

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