Recently, we were notified that Oregon OSHA was planning to implement an infectious disease rule that could have a large impact on special district operations. With the current decline in COVID-19 cases both in Oregon and worldwide, we believe that the adoption of these temporary rules is unnecessary and overly costly to Oregon employers. During this time of the public health emergency, financial challenges have arisen for everyone, including local governments. With the reduction in the case numbers and the trend heading downward, we believe that maintaining the status quo is appropriate, currently.
We understand the agency’s desire for additional clarity; however, we believe that could be accomplished with letters of interpretation and policy memos. There are serious concerns about how these rules would affect our local government members regarding the enforcement of these standards on the general public by an employer and not by the state.
In response to the Oregon OSHA notification, we created a 33-member committee to represent SDAO and the needs of the 37 types of local governments we serve. In collaboration with that committee and several other statewide associations, we submitted a response letter to Oregon OSHA on September 8th. View that letter here.