OSHA temporary rule, the statewide two-week freeze, and governor’s travel advisory

Dear colleagues,

We are writing to inform you about the state of Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) new temporary rules to promote safety, prevention, and limiting of exposure to COVID-19 at the workplace. These rules mirror existing Oregon Health Authority guidance as well as the University of Oregon pandemic safety regulations. You are encouraged to review the following information and familiarize yourself with the rules.

Effective November 16, OSHA has adopted a temporary rule to combat the spread of COVID-19 within workplaces in the state. This emergency rule is a continuation of other guidance that has been created by state and local public health authorities and is expected to remain in effect until May 4, 2021.

In addition to the OSHA temporary rule, Governor Kate Brown has implemented a statewide two-week freeze on numerous activities that goes into effect November 18 to help slow the virus’ spread.

Along with the freeze, the governor also issued a travel advisory that discourages out-of-state travel. But when traveling is necessary, the advisory urges you to self-quarantine for 14 days upon return to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Under the governor’s two-week freeze that will be in effect from November 18 through December 2:

  • Some university services will be modified:
    • Dining across campus will move to grab and go. (Updated 11/18/20)
    • The Student Rec Center will close but remain open for scheduled academic courses.
    • The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art and Museum of Natural and Cultural History have closed to the public.
  • Supervisors have been asked to consider where additional remote work can be implemented within their units during the two-week freeze.

The OSHA emergency rule mandates that workplaces implement multiple measures to reduce risks posed by the pandemic. Many workplaces, including the University of Oregon, have already voluntarily implemented these required measures, and the university is committed to continuing to lead in this manner. All university departments and units are expected to familiarize themselves with the requirements of this new rule.

Additionally, the department of Environmental Health and Safety is working with Human Resources and the Incident Management Team to evaluate and implement any new provisions not currently addressed by the university’s pandemic safety regulations, and both units will be providing support and other compliance-aiding tools to campus partners.

The OSHA temporary rule’s notable requirements include:

Information and training

  • Employers must post the OSHA COVID-19 Hazards Poster (English or Spanish) in central locations accessible to all employees, and must provide the posting to all remote workers.

Exposure risk assessment

  • Employers must conduct a risk assessment to gauge potential employee exposure to COVID-19, including addressing specific questions about how to minimize such exposure. The university is using its Safety Advisory Committee to ensure participation. Feedback from employees informs this process.

Physical distancing

  • Employers must ensure six-foot distancing between all people in the workplace through design of work activities and workflow, unless it can be shown it is not feasible for some activities.

Masks, face covering, or face shields

  • Employers must ensure that all individuals—including employees, part-time workers, and customers—at the workplace, or other establishment under the employer’s management, wear a mask, face covering, or face shield.

Additionally, the rule requires other measures for exceptionally high-risk jobs. Such jobs at the university include direct patient care, aerosol-generating procedures and decontamination work in healthcare; and first-responder activities that involve more than the provision of first aid.

André Le Duc
Chief Resilience Officer
Associate Vice President for Safety and Risk Services

Mark Schmelz
Chief Human Resources Officer
Associate Vice President for Human Resources