10 Nov COVID-19 Workplace Risks: Oregon OSHA Rule Finalized
In response to the continued increase of COVID-19 cases and the ongoing efforts to navigate the pandemic, Oregon Occupational Safety And Health Authority (OSHA) has adopted a temporary enforceable workplace rule.
The new rule is similar in many parts to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) guidance that has been shared out over the past 7 months, including physical distancing and face coverings. Additional layers are now included relating to infection control, notice to employees, requirements to assess COVID-19 exposure risk, and workplace monitoring that are new to Oregon employers, including those in veterinary medicine, and will require action and planning on your part.
The provisions take effect November 16, 2020 and will remain in place until May 4, 2021, unless revised or repealed by that date.
Please make sure to read through the requirements thoroughly and note due dates for compliance in several sections in bold.
The physical structure and set-up of veterinary facilities are as unique and diverse as the people in them! Please keep this in mind when interpreting the rule provisions for your practice, applying them, and working towards compliance.
Mandatory Workplace Guidance for Veterinary Care
Appendix A-16 Mandatory Workplace Guidance for Veterinary Care
Application: This appendix applies to veterinarians licensed under ORS 686, and to their assistants and other employees. To the degree this appendix provides specific guidance, it supersedes the requirements for physical distancing and for the use of masks, face coverings, or face shields, and sanitation of the COVID-19 Temporary Rule (OAR 437-001-0744); to the degree a situation is not addressed by the specific language of this appendix, the requirements of the rule apply.
Note: In accordance with Oregon Health Authority Statewide Mask, Face Covering, Face Shield Guidance and subsection (3)(b) of the Temporary Rule for COVID-19, it is strongly recommended but not required that individuals wear a mask or face covering as source control instead of a face shield alone.
Note: These workplace health and safety requirements are distinct from Oregon Health Authority guidance about reopening status and the resumption of non-emergency care, which may be restricted separate and apart from this appendix or the rule to which it applies.
A. Physical Distancing Measures.
To ensure appropriate physical distancing, veterinary facilities are required to take the following steps:
1. Adopt a curbside model, bringing the animal patient into the facility while the owner remains in the vehicle, strictly enforce 6-foot physical distancing in the waiting area, or employ a combination of the two;
2. Allowing owners and animal caretakers into veterinary facilities:
a. Owners and caretakers may come into the facility exam room for the purpose of euthanasia;
b. Owners and caretakers may come into the facility exam room for the purpose of receiving instruction as to providing home care for pets including but not limited to giving medication, fluids, managing feeding tubes or catheters, etc.;
c. In the case of examining or treating animals that may pose a threat to the veterinary worker, the animal owner or caretaker may be allowed into the veterinary facility as long as source control is observed;
3. Further minimize human-to-human contact by not allowing clients in the examination rooms other than under the circumstances listed above; and
4. Limit situations where any veterinarian workers or other individuals are in within 6 feet to those necessary to safely handle and treat the animal patient.
B. Masks, Face Coverings, and Face Shields and Personal Protective Equipment.
To minimize the risk of airborne spread of the disease, veterinary facilities must review and implement OHA Statewide Mask, Face Covering, Face Shield Guidance; if at any point such guidance is no longer available, such employers must require all employees, patrons, and other visitors five years of age and older, unless they are eating or drinking, to wear masks, face coverings, or face shields in all indoor spaces, and in all outdoor spaces whenever at least 6 feet of physical distancing cannot be consistently ensured.
Employee Notification and Quarantine
Covid-19 Infection Notification Process
Employers must establish a mechanism for notifying both exposed and affected employees within 24 hours of the employer’s knowledge of a potential COVID-19 workplace exposure (eg. an individual with COVID-19 in the workplace.)
Medical Removal (Quarantine and Return to Work)
Whenever the Oregon Health Authority, local public health agency, or medical provider recommends an employee be restricted from work due to quarantine or isolation for COVID-19, such as through identification during contact tracing activities, the affected worker(s) must be directed to isolate at home and away from other non-quarantined individuals. Quarantined individuals must be allowed to work from home if suitable work is available. The affected individual is entitled to return to their previous job duties if still available. Return to work and testing decisions must be made in concordance with public health guidance and the employee’s medical provider.
Cleaning and Sanitation
The employer must regularly clean or sanitize all common areas, shared equipment, and high-touch surfaces as defined by this rule that are under its control and that are used by employees or the public.
(A) Such regular cleaning or sanitization must be implemented based on the following frequencies: (i) At least once every 24 hours if the workplace is occupied less than 12 hours a day; or
(ii) At least every 8 hours while in use, if the workplace is occupied more than 12 hours a day.
The COVID-19 Temporary Standards Poster must be permanently placed conspicuously in a central location. Any employee working remotely must be provided with a copy of the poster through electronic or equally effective means.
Special Requirements for Building Operators
No later than November 23, 2020, where feasible, building operators must ensure that the facility layout allows for appropriate physical distancing and that a “Masks Required” sign is posted in common areas including shared entrances, waiting rooms, corridors, examination and treatment rooms, etc.
Conduct a COVID-19 Exposure and Risk Assessment
No later than December 7, 2020, all employers must perform a COVID-19 exposure risk assessment. The assessment must involve feedback and participation from employees via a safety meeting or a supervisor.
Employers with >10 employees must document their exposure risk assessment using the OSHA questionnaire for each job title. Risk assessment must involve participation and feedback from employees via safety meeting, supervisor meeting, or any other similar interactive process.
Infection Control Plan
No later than December 7, 2020, all employers must implement an infection control plan. For employers with > 10 employees, the Plan must be in writing and available to employees. If an employer has multiple facilities, the plan may be formulated for facility type rather than individual facility.
Employee Information and Training
No later than December 21, 2020, employers must provide workers with information and training on COVID-19 and ensure that employees are provided an opportunity for feedback about topics covered. (Documentation is not required.)
- Training must cover workplace requirements on physical distancing, mask/facial covering, sanitation, characteristics and methods of COVID-19 viral transmission, asymptomatic transmission, COVID-19 symptoms, employee reporting of COVID-19 signs and symptoms, workplace COVID-19 infection notification process, safe and healthy work practices.
- Oregon OSHA communicated that they will provide sample training materials that can be used to complete this requirement. If an employer has already provided training, the employer does not have to repeat the training, but may need to ensure that additional information is provided and that appropriate employee feedback can be collected.
No later than January 6, 2021, the employer must optimize the amount of outside air circulated through its existing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system(s), to the extent the system can do so when operating as designed, whenever there are employees in the workplace and the outdoor air quality index remains at either “good” or “moderate” levels. This does not require installation of new ventilation equipment.