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Oregon OSHA Issues Model Policy Related to Workplace COVID-19 Exposure

November 13, 2020

By Jessica D. Osborne & Maryann Yelnosky

This alert supplements Bullard’s prior alert relating to Oregon OSHA’s Temporary COVID-19 Rule, finalized on November 6, 2020, requiring most Oregon employers to take additional steps when there is potential workplace exposure to COVID-19.[1]  

Effective November 16, 2020, employers are required to adopt a simple policy and communication mechanism to provide notice to exposed and affected employees within 24 hours of the employer learning that an individual has tested positive for COVID-19. 

An employee is considered exposed if they were within 6 feet of a confirmed COVID-19 individual for a cumulative time of 15 minutes or more during a 24 hour period starting 2 days before illness onset or a positive COVID-19 test (based on the  current definition of “close contact”).[1] Employees are considered affected if they work in the same facility or the same well-defined portion of the facility as the COVID-19 positive individual.[2]

To assist employers in initiating the notification requirement, Oregon OSHA issued a sample notification policy and communication with language that complies with the Temporary Rule’s requirements.

The sample policy provided by Oregon OSHA contains four key pieces of information:
 
  1. The sample policy contains language requiring all employees and managers to notify the employer if they test positive or are aware that another individual who entered the workspace tested positive.
 
  1. The sample policy includes language relating to when employees are deemed to be “exposed” or “affected” as described above and requiring that such identified employees be notified of exposure or affect.
 
  1. The sample policy makes clear that the identity of the source of exposure will not be provided.
 
  1. The sample policy also includes language to notify all employees working in the facility of an exposure event, even if they did not have close contact with the individual in question.

Employers should implement a notification policy and prepare a draft communication no later than November 16, 2020. As always, Bullard’s attorneys are available to assist with any COVID-related workplace questions.
 
[1] “Close contact” as currently defined by the Centers for Disease Control
[2] A “well-defined portion” of the facility” includes the same floor of a building.

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