With summer arriving and temperatures starting to rise, Oregon employers should familiarize themselves with the new Oregon OSHA Heat Illness Prevention standard (OAR 437-002-0156) that comes into effect on June 15, 2022.

Covered Employers

The new standard applies to workplaces when an employee is performing work activities in any environment (both indoor or outdoor) where the heat index is 80 degrees Fahrenheit (°F) or higher. Additional high heat requirements apply if the heat index reaches 90°F.

Key Requirements for Covered Employers

Covered employers must take the following steps to prevent heat illness in the workplace:

  1. Provide access to shade. Shade may be provided through any natural or artificial means and must (a) be open to the air or have mechanical ventilation for cooling, (b) be located as close as practical to the areas where employees are working, and (c) accommodate at least the number of employees on recovery, rest, or meal periods.
  2. Provide cool or cold drinking water. There must be enough readily available cool (66-77°F) or cold (35-65°F) water for each employee to consume 32 ounces per hour at no cost to the employee. Employees must also be given ample opportunities to consume the water.
  3. Emergency Medical Plan. The employer’s emergency medical plan must address employee exposure to excessive heat, in accordance with existing rules for emergency medical plans.
  4. Acclimatization Plan. Employers must develop and implement a written acclimatization plan that allows employees to gradually adapt to working in the heat. Employers may design their own plan that satisfies certain requirements or adopt the plan set forth in the rules.
  5. Heat Illness Prevention Plan (HIPP). Employers must develop, implement, and maintain a written HIPP that address certain topics, such as employee training on the hazards of heat exposure and heat-related illnesses, how employees will be provided with shade, water, and opportunities for rest, and how the employer will implement heat acclimatization procedures.
  6. Ensure supervisor and employee training. Employers must provide annual heat illness prevention training to all employees. The training must cover specific topics set forth in the rules, such as environmental and personal risk factors, types of heat-related illness, and employer responsibilities and employee rights under the new standard. Employers must maintain written or electronic records verifying compliance with the required training.

The standard also imposes new heat illness prevention housing requirements for agricultural labor housing and related facilities. Agricultural employers should familiarize themselves with the requirements found in OAR 437-004-1120(25).

Additional High Heat Requirements for Covered Employers (90°F or higher)

In addition to the key requirements set forth above, employers must also implement these high heat practices when the heat index exceeds 90°F:

  1.  Maintain reliable and effective means of communication so that employees can contact a supervisor when necessary.
  2. Monitor employees for signs of heat illness through regular communication with employees working alone, a mandatory buddy system, or other equally effective means of observation or communication.
  3. Designate and equip at least one employee at each site who can call for emergency medical services and allow others to contact emergency services when the designated person is not available.
  4. Measure the temperature and humidity of buildings and structures that do not have a mechanical ventilation system.
  5. Develop and implement a written heat illness prevention rest break schedule. Employers must choose one of three rest break options set forth in the new rules.


Employers should evaluate whether their workplaces or operations are fully or partially exempt from the new standard.

Full Exemptions: Buildings and structures with mechanical ventilation that keeps the indoor heat index less than 80°F; incidental heat exposures from work activities (no more than 15 minutes in any 60-minute period); exposures to heat generated from the work process; and all emergency operations that are directly involved in the protection of life or property, or the restoration of essential services.

Partial Exemptions: Employees who perform only “rest” or “light” workloads; associated support activities for wildland firefighters; and employees who work from home. Sitting and thinking are considered “rest” workloads, while a “light” workload is one that involves sitting or standing with minimal arm and legal work.

Partially exempt employers should take care to understand when, and from which provisions, they are exempt. For example, an employer whose employees perform “rest” or “light” work are exempt from the standard’s key requirements only when the heat index is less than 90°F. If the heat index is 90°F or higher, that employer is no longer exempt and must comply with all requirements (e.g., providing shade and drinking water), including the high heat practices.

If you have questions about this blog, please reach out to the Jackson Lewis attorney with whom you often work, the authors of this blog, or any member of our Workplace Safety and Health Team.

It may come as a surprise to some, but Cal/OSHA’s workplace violence regulations currently apply only to the Health Care Industry. Cal/OSHA plans to change that.

Right now, for non-healthcare industries, Cal/OSHA regulates workplace violence using the employer’s obligation to regularly identify and evaluate workplace hazards under Section 3203, California’s version of the general duty clause.

Cal/OSHA recently released a revised draft regulation for workplace violence prevention to apply to general industry, not just health care,  proposing a broad application of the standards with limited exceptions.

Read the full article on Jackson Lewis’ California Workplace Law Blog.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published a proposed rule to restore and expand Obama-era requirements for high-hazard employers with at least 100 employees to submit their injury and illness forms electronically to the agency.

To read the article in its entirety, please click here.

OSHA has just announced it is partially reopening the record on the rulemaking for the permanent healthcare COVID-19 standard known as the rule on Occupational Exposure to COVID-19 in Healthcare Settings. Comments are due by April 22, 2022. The docket number is OSHA-2020-0004. Following the written comments, there will also be a hearing held online on April 27, 2022. Individuals interested in testifying must submit their notice of intention to appear no later than 14 days after publication in the Federal Register, which will occur on March 23, 2022.

OSHA is soliciting information and feedback on these issues:

1. Alignment with the CDC’s recommendations for healthcare infection control procedures.
2. Additional flexibility for employers.
3. Removal of scope exemptions.
4. Tailoring controls to address interactions with people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
5. Employer support for employees who wish to be vaccinated.
6. Limited coverage of construction activities in healthcare settings.
7. COVID-19 recordkeeping and reporting provisions.
8. Triggering requirements based on community transmission levels.
9. The potential evolution of SARS-CoV-2 into a second novel strain.
10. The health effects and risk of COVID-19 since the ETS was issued.

OSHA cautions employers that until there is a permanent standard, healthcare employers should still comply with the terms of the healthcare ETS and is currently in the midst of a 3-month blitz of follow-up inspections in the healthcare industry. Employers who are following the healthcare COVID-19 ETS will have a safe harbor from citations under the general duty clause, respirator and recordkeeping standards.

If you have questions or need assistance with drafting and submitting comments for the healthcare COVID-19 rulemaking or need assistance with any other OSHA matters, please reach out to the Jackson Lewis attorney with whom you regularly work or any member of our Workplace Safety and Health Practice Group.

With its new inspection initiative, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is taking steps to ensure certain healthcare employers continue to protect workers against COVID-19, even as falling case numbers across the country have prompted many state and local agencies to withdraw mask mandates and other COVID-19 precautions.

To read this article in its entirety, please click here.

The Department of Industrial Relations’ (DIR) Labor Enforcement Task Force (LETF) has announced an initiative to inspect publicly funded construction sites to ensure employers provide worker’s compensation and follow labor laws, including workplace health and safety requirements.

With this new focus, construction employers who work on public works projects should review their workplace compliance to avoid citations.

Read the full article on Jackson Lewis’ California Workplace Law Blog.

On April 4, 2022, a merits panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments on a petition seeking to force OSHA to issue a permanent standard for healthcare occupational exposure to COVID-19 and to reinstate the Healthcare Emergency Temporary Standard on Occupational Exposure (Healthcare ETS) to COVID-19 pending the permanent standard. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals’ referral of this matter to a merits panel was initiated by the Court’s own motion.

On December 27, 2021, OSHA announced the withdrawal of the Healthcare ETS and confirmed its intent to issue a permanent infectious disease standard. Less than two weeks later, on January 5, 2022, National Nurses United and several other labor unions filed an Emergency Petition for a Writ of Mandamus and Request for Expedited Briefing and Disposition with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. In re: National Nurses United, et al., No. 22-1002 (D.C. Cir. Jan. 5, 2022).

The unions argue that OSHA has failed to adequately protect nurses and other healthcare workers from COVID-19. OSHA filed its opposition to the petition on January 21, 2022, arguing, among other things, that OSHA was unable to finalize a permanent healthcare standard because it focused the agency’s resources on its COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (which was also withdrawn). OSHA indicated it expects to complete rulemaking for a permanent healthcare standard within six-to-nine months.

The Healthcare ETS applied in settings where COVID-19 patients are treated, and it required healthcare employers with more than 10 employees to develop and implement written COVID-19 plans that included the following elements:

  • Assigning a designated safety coordinator;
  • Patient screening and management;
  • Policies and procedures to comply with CDC guidelines;
  • Facemask and PPE requirements;
  • Protections while using aerosol-generating procedures on persons with suspected or confirmed COVID-19;
  • Physical distancing;
  • Solid barriers at employee work stations;
  • Cleaning and disinfection protocols;
  • HVAC system requirements;
  • Health screening and medical management requirements;
  • Paid leave for vaccinations, vaccination recovery, and medical removal from work due to COVID-19 infection or certain COVID-19 exposures;
  • Employee training;
  • Anti-retaliation protections;
  • Employee COVID-19 logs; and
  • Reporting work-related COVID-19 fatalities and in-patient hospitalizations.

OSHA has indicated its forthcoming permanent infectious disease standard will cover all industries and address airborne, droplet, and non-bloodborne contact diseases.

While OSHA has indicated it may use the now-withdrawn Healthcare ETS to support citations against healthcare employers under the General Duty Clause of the OSH Act, only the COVID-19 log and reporting provisions formally remain in effect.

Reinstatement of the Healthcare ETS would have a significant impact on covered employers, particularly as COVID-19 cases appear to be dropping throughout the country and more jurisdictions are loosening restrictions.

Please contact a Jackson Lewis attorney with any questions.