SALEM, Oregon (KTVZ) – Following the adoption of the country’s most stringent requirements to protect workers from heat stress, Oregon OSHA offers educational and training resources to help employers comply. At the same time, the division said it would apply the rule aggressively over the next few months by reassigning inspectors, approving overtime and tackling heat issues in tandem with other activities in the field. ‘application.
âOregon OSHA is engaging in a multi-faceted effort, involving both education and enforcement, to ensure that employers implement specific steps in this emergency rule to protect workers. against the dangers of heat stress at work, âsaid Michael Wood, administrator of Oregon OSHA. âWe are launching a new emphasis program, which will increase our presence in the field this weekend and in the months to come. ”
The Division’s Temporary Emergency Rule – promulgated on July 8 – remains in effect until January 3, 2022, or until replaced earlier by a permanent Heat Stress Prevention Rule, which is expected to be in effect. produce later this year. The temporary emergency rule applies to any workplace – both outdoors and indoors – where heat hazards are caused by weather conditions. Requirements include expanded access to shade and cool water; regular recovery breaks; training; Communication; and contingency planning.
The following Oregon OSHA resources are free and available now to employers who help them comply with emergency heat stress requirements. These resources involve no fault, no citation and no penalty:
Consulting services – Provides free help with safety and health programs, including how to control and eliminate hazards, and hands-on training
Technical staff – Help employers understand the requirements and how to apply them to their workplaces
Additionally, the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, which includes OSHA Oregon, maintains a multicultural communication program that provides outreach services to communities with limited English proficiency. This awareness includes information on occupational safety and health. The program includes a toll-free phone number for Oregon Spanish speakers: 800-843-8086.
Additionally, Oregon OSHA has compiled the following state and national education and training resources to help employers become compliant and reduce the risk of heat stress for workers. The following resources are free and available now in English and Spanish.
Meanwhile, Oregon OSHA’s decision to increase heat stress enforcement activities is spelled out in its soon to be released new accentuation program. The program includes additional guidance for inspectors on what to focus on and how to document violations of emergency heat stress requirements. It focuses inspection efforts where outdoor or indoor work activities are carried out and the heat index – the apparent temperature – is equal to or greater than 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Under temporary emergency requirements, employers are required to take specific action when the heat index reaches or exceeds 80 degrees Fahrenheit, including providing sufficient shade and an adequate supply of potable water. When the heat index exceeds 90 degrees Fahrenheit, employers are required to follow all the rules at the 80-degree threshold and take more action. These measures include communication and observation, regular cool-down breaks, emergency planning and the gradual adjustment of employees to the heat.
The accent program also sets out the following enforcement measures:
- Starting July 16, 2021 and through at least September 30, 2021, Oregon OSHA will identify more application capabilities to focus on heat-related issues.
- Additional enforcement capacity will come through reassigning existing staff, using overtime, and resolving heat issues in tandem with other inspection activities.
- Addressing heat issues in tandem with other inspection activities will include, but are not limited to, assessing heat stress issues during construction fall prevention inspections and site remediation inspections. land in agriculture.
Workers have the right to a safe and healthy workplace, including the right to be free from the dangers of heat stress. They have the right to raise health and safety concerns without retaliation. If they do not believe their concerns are addressed, they have the right to file a complaint with Oregon OSHA. The division does not give advance notice of inspections.
Penalties vary for violations of Oregon OSHA rules, in part, depending on the size of the employer, the risk involved, and the likelihood that a worker will be injured. Under the division’s penalty structure, the maximum penalty for a serious offense that is not a willful or repeated offense is $ 12,675. An intentional violation results in a maximum penalty of $ 126,749.
Meanwhile, Oregon OSHA continues to work on a permanent heat stress prevention rule for adoption this fall. The temporary rule was adopted following instructions from Oregon Governor Kate Brown to adopt emergency measures.
Emergency rules documents can be viewed in the following ways:
Oregon OSHA, a division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, enforces state occupational safety and health regulations and strives to improve the occupational safety and health of all workers in the Oregon. For more information, visit osha.oregon.gov.
The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For more information, visit www.oregon.gov/dcbs/.