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Amending Rules Addressing the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency in All Oregon Workplaces

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and in-line with public health recommendations, the hearings will be held virtually. Oregon OSHA offices remain closed to the public.

Virtual Public Hearings Scheduled for:

November 2, 2021 at 5:00 pm
Please register for Amending Rules Addressing the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency in All Oregon Workplaces on Nov 2, 2021 5:00 PM PDT at:

November 3, 2021 at 5:00 pm
Please register for Amending Rules Addressing the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency in All Oregon Workplaces on Nov 3, 2021 5:00 PM PDT at:

November 5, 2021 at 10:00 am
Please register for Amending Rules Addressing the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency in All Oregon Workplaces on Nov 5, 2021 10:00 AM PDT at:

November 8, 2021 at 5:00 pm
*** This hearing will be conducted entirely in Spanish.***
Please register for Spanish-only Amending Rules Addressing the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency in All Oregon Workplaces on Nov 8, 2021 5:00 PM PST at:

After registering for a webinar, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. In order to ensure as many people as possible are able to testify, Oregon OSHA reserves the right to restrict testimony to no more than 5 minutes.

Rule Summary:

This rule protects workers throughout the state given the current COVID-19 public health emergency, which has not abated in 2021. The current surge of summer infections from the highly-contagious COVID-19 Delta variant has resulted in a record number of Oregonians hospitalized with COVID-19 in August and September 2021. It is within this public health context that Oregon OSHA is proposing to make permanent amendments to the OAR 437-001-0744: Rule Addressing COVID-19 Workplace Risks (COVID-19 rule).

Since it was first adopted as a permanent rule on May 4, 2021 (AO 2-2021), Oregon OSHA has filed three temporary amendments to the COVID-19 rule. The first of these changes (AO 5-2021), which occurred June 30, 2021, greatly reduced requirements as well as simplified the appendix given the low case load and high vaccination numbers at the time. Additionally, On July 19, 2021, Oregon OSHA published a Workplace Advisory Memo reducing requirements related to sanitation and physical distancing, with an additional update on August 13, 2021. After the surge of summer infections, the Governor and Oregon Health Authority (OHA) re-instated masking requirements with the adoption of OHA’s OAR 333-019-1025: Masking Requirements for Indoor and Outdoor Spaces and OAR 333-019-1015: Masking Requirements in Schools; Oregon OSHA updated its COVID-19 rule accordingly (AO 10-2021). The third and most recent change (AO 12-2021) adopted Medical Relief Benefits for healthcare workers to ensure Oregon OSHA’s COVID-19 rule is as effective as federal OSHA’s COVID-19 Healthcare Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). These temporary amendments are effective through December 26, 2021.

As the temporary changes are set to expire, the public health emergency remains a significant concern in Oregon and it is necessary to update the original COVID-19 rule with the most current multi-agency guidance and the most effective protections – otherwise the rule reverts to its original May 4, 2021 text. The proposed amendments are as follows:

  • Employers with employees working in indoor or outdoor workspaces must implement the requirements of OAR 333-019-1025: Masking Requirements for Indoor and Outdoor Spaces, adopted by the Oregon Health Authority.
  • The K-12 Educational Institutions (A-8) industry-specific guidance in the appendix is updated. Employers must ensure that the requirements of OHA’s OAR 333-019-1015: Masking Requirements in Schools and other employee protections imposed by OHA or the Oregon Department of Education are implemented and enforced in public and private K-12 schools.
  • The physical distancing requirements previously found in OAR 437-001-0744(3)(a) are no longer in effect outside healthcare and transit settings.
  • Except for healthcare settings, Oregon OSHA no longer requires employers to 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. All other sanitation requirements of OAR 437-001-0744(3)(c) remain in effect for all workplaces.
  • In the appendix, the industry-specific guidance for Transit Agencies (A-5) and Emergency Medical Services (A-11) remains in place, with some modifications. Physical distancing guidance for Veterinary Clinics (A-10) is removed.
  • The following appendix sections are simplified and updated to only include industry-specific masking exemptions: Personal Services Providers (A-3), Employers Operating Child Care and Early Education Programs (A-9); Law Enforcement Activities (A-12); and, Jails, Prisons, and Other Custodial Institutions (A-13).
  • Oregon OSHA simplified the appendix, removing the specific requirements related to Restaurants, Bars, Brewpubs, and Public Tasting Rooms at Breweries, Wineries, and Distilleries (A-1); Retail Stores (A-2); Construction Operations (A-4); Professional, Division 1, Pac12, West Coast Conference and Big Sky Conference Sports (A-6); and Employers Operating Fitness-Related Organizations (A-7).
  • In alignment with federal OSHA’s COVID-19 ETS, Oregon OSHA is proposing to adopt medical relief benefits in the healthcare sector. They provide some financial relief for workers in healthcare; as defined by the federal standard, when the need for the medical removal is met under the provisions listed in the rule. These benefits apply to specified employees in healthcare settings only.

Oregon OSHA has the authority to enforce rules adopted by other state agencies under
ORS 654.025(3)(a). As stated previously, it is Oregon OSHA’s intent to repeal the entire rule once it is no longer necessary to address the COVID-19 pandemic in Oregon workplaces. Discussions continue with the Oregon OSHA Partnership Committee, the Oregon Health Authority, the two Infectious Disease Rulemaking Advisory Committees, and other stakeholders to determine when all or additional parts of the rule can be appropriately repealed.

Please visit our website to view our proposed rules, or select other rule activity from this page.

Direct link to the proposed rulemaking (notice, filing documents, and text of proposed changes)

When does this happen: Adoption tentatively will be in December 2021.

To get a copy: Our web site – Rules and laws, then, Proposed rules
Or call 503-947-7449

To comment: Department of Consumer and Business Services/ Oregon OSHA
PO BOX 14480
Salem OR 97309-0405
Email –
Fax – 503-947-7461

Comment period closes: November 12, 2021

Oregon OSHA contact: Matthew Kaiser, Salem Central Office @ 503-378-3272, or email at