COVID-19 Restrictions May be Here to Stay

COVID-19 Restrictions May be Here to Stay... but Not for Long

Oregon OSHA is proposing to extend protective measures against the pandemic regardless of improvement.

Oregon OSHA is stressing the importance of COVID-19 safety. This primarily includes workers whose employers provide housing. These risk-reducing measures cover social distancing, sanitization and face coverings.

The proposed permanent policy has three public hearings followed by a comment period through April 16th, according to a news release. Oregon OSHA, however, expects to repeal the rule once it is no longer needed to address the pandemic involving labor housing.

“While there is good news on the horizon, the public health challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic remain a significant concern in Oregon. In the labor housing environment, addressing an airborne disease poses unique challenges," said Michael Wood, administrator for Oregon OSHA. “We believe this proposed rule addresses those challenges by protecting vulnerable workers – especially those who spend both their work and off-work hours at the employer's location. But it also strikes a balance based on the current economic realities."

The new requirements are very similar to the current ones.

The proposed requirements include:

1. Ventilation

- Increase air circulation and ventilation by opening windows and doors in labor housing when safe.

2. Masks, Face Coverings, Face Shields

- Oregon Health Authority’s statewide guidance requires facial coverings in the common areas.

3. Social Distancing

- Allow six feet of distance whenever possible.

4. Cleaning and Sanitization

- Equipment and high-touch surfaces must be cleaned and sanitized regularly.

Learn more about the division's workplace guidance and resources related to COVID-19 here.

About the Author

Shereen Hashem is the Associate Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety magazine.

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