Mandated Changes - Facemasks & OR OSHA -Action Needed - Facemask Friday the 13th & Required Training

Author: Stephanie Leffler

It's HOT outside! Bust the heat by following OR-OSHA's New Rules.


This Friday the 13th is going to be extra special! Beware...Effective this Friday, 08/13/2021, per Governor Brown's mandate, all indoor employers (a few minor exceptions such as restaurants and pools) must require staff and patrons to wear a mask regardless of their vaccination status. The silver lining is that the employer need not worry about vaccination status. If you decide not to comply, OR OSHA will be out visiting businesses and potentially issuing fines for non-compliance. Enough about masks for now.

OR-OSHA regulates ALL Oregon employers. There has been some misconception about other agencies trumping OR-OSHA such as the Cosmetology Board. This is not true. OR-OSHA rules must be adhered to regardless of your industry (nail and hair salons, manufacturing, retail, etc.). Another misconception is that the hazards of high and extreme heat training is due on 08/16/2021. Let’s break down the three training requirements.


New Rule - OR-OSHA's emergency rule - hazards of high and extreme heat.

  1. Effective date: August 07/08/2021.

  2. By August 1, 2021 employers must ensure all employees (supervisors too) are trained to understand the heat index and this rule.

  3. Stays in place 180 days (They are looking to make this rule permanent by Fall 2021).

  4. Temperatures dictate actions required. > 80 F. = sufficient shade and adequate supply of drinking water. > 90 F. = All of 80-degree requirements plus effective and ongoing communication between employee/employer for reporting concerns, observation of employees for signs of heat illness, provide cool down rest periods of 10 minutes for each two hours worked (this can be combined with normal rest/meal periods) and develop and implement an emergency medical plan and practices to acclimate employees to the heat. The link details definitions and other important details.

New Rule - OR-Osha's Emergency Protection From Employer Provided Housing

  1. Effective 08/09/2021 and remains in place 180 days.

  2. Objective - More clarity for employers and protection for workers and residents of housing units from, "hazards exacerbated by climate change", (2021 Stolfi).

  3. Wildfire Smoke -

New Rule - OR-Osha's Emergency Protection From Wildfire Smoke

  1. Effective 08/16/2021 and remains in place 180 days. Rule OAR 437-004-1120

  2. Does not apply to property management apartments/rentals unless you provide housing for a worker. That worker(s) housing then applies.

  3. *Indoor Housing Areas - Must maintain an ambient temperature of 78 F. using air conditioners and other reliable means. One or more rooms must be maintained at 78 F. The area must be large enough to allow use by at least 50% of the occupants at the labor housing at any one time and must use either or any combination of two approaches:

  4. *Outdoor Rest Areas -

  5. Must be shaded and allow occupants to sit or stand in a normally posture while fully covered by shade.

  6. Provide cooling devices such as misters and cooling towels. Towels and vests must be washed before sharing.

  7. Encourage use by offering chairs and other seating.

  8. OSHA encourages use of a combination of indoor and outdoor cooling practices.

*Both Indoor and Outdoor Methods Require - Employers must provide fans, vests, etc. at NO cost to the employee. There must be access to a phone to call EMS. A cell phone is okay if there is a signal.

Under ORS 654.062(5), employees are protected from discrimination or retaliation including the Oregon Safe Employment Act and related statutes.

Action Items:

1. If you need more information GourmetHR will contact OR-OSHA for you or you can contact OR-OSHA consultative (no citations, no penalties, no fault) services at: 1-800-922-2689 or email, consult.web.@oregon.gov.

2. Be aware of and train about the air quality index.

3. Wildfire training consists if 10 training elements. The online course covers 6. The other four relate to individual operations.

4. Understand health threats from Wildfire Smoke and be prepared to let employees use the mandated OR Sick Leave Law that applies to ALL OR employers with very few exceptions. New Sick Leave Rules Effective 07/22/2021 for absences related to smoke. This includes mental or physical impairments.

5. This Friday, 08/16/2021, ensure all employees and guests wear a mask indoors. Contact me to discuss reasonable accommodations and sincerely held religious beliefs.

6. Learn about hazards of high and extreme heat - Details definitions and other important details.

7. If you provide worker housing, follow the temperature related guidelines above.


Have a great rest of your week. Please subscribe to my blog to stay updated about these and other mandated items and best practices. Subscribe to email list.

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