Employers must provide protection to employees who perform work activities when the heat index equals or exceeds 80 degrees, with additional requirements when the heat index is over 90 degrees. The heat index is the apparent temperature which is what the temperature feels like when relative humidity is combined with the air temperature. The only exception to the rules is when heat is generated only from the work process (in foundries, for example).
Access to Shade
Employers must maintain at least one “shade area” that does not expose employees to unsafe or unhealthy conditions or discourage use. The shade area must:
- Be open air or provide mechanical ventilation for cooling;
- Accommodate and fully cover the number of employees on a rest period, sitting in normal postures;
- Be as close as practical to employee working areas; and
- During meal periods, accommodate the employees on that meal period who remain onsite.
Employers must always provide an adequate supply of readily accessible cool or cold drinking water at no cost to the employees and ensure employees have ample opportunity to drink water. There must be enough water supply for each employee to consume 32 ounces per hour.
Beginning no later than August 1, 2021, employers must train all employees on heat-illness prevention. The training must include:
- Environmental and personal risk factors for heat illness;
- Effects of non-occupational factors on tolerance to heat stress;
- Different types of heat-related illness and their common signs and symptoms;
- Procedures for complying with the requirements of the rule;
- Introduction to the concept, importance, and methods of acclimatization; and
- Importance of immediately reporting signs and symptoms of heat illness in themselves or others.
When the heat index exceeds 90 degrees, employers must ensure effective communication at all times; observe employees for alertness, signs and symptoms of heat illness; and monitor affected employees to determine whether medical attention is necessary. Employers must implement one or more of the following procedures:
- Ensure regular communication with employees working alone;
- Create a mandatory buddy system; or
- Implement other equally effective means of observation or communication.
Employers must ensure each employee takes a minimum ten-minute rest period in the shade every two hours regardless of the shift length. These breaks may be provided concurrently with any other meal or rest break required by policy, rule, or law if the timing of the cool-down rest period coincides with the otherwise required break. Except when a cool-down rest period coincides with an unpaid meal break, the cool-down rest period must be paid.
Emergency Medical Plan
Employers must also create an emergency medical plan that addresses:
- Responding to signs and symptoms of possible heat illness;
- Contacting emergency medical services, and transporting employees to reach medical services when necessary; and
- Ensuring clear and precise directions to the worksite are provided for first responders to navigate to the affected worker, in the event of an emergency.
As anticipated in a previous E-Alert, on June 30, 2021 Oregon OSHA issued a temporary rule removing the mask and physical distancing requirements from its permanent rule for most workplaces; however, many pieces of the permanent rule remain in place. Masks and physical distancing are still required for certain specialized and congregate employment settings. The ventilation, notification, sanitation, and training requirements all remain in place, as well. Employers may still choose to require masks and physical distancing in their workplace, so long as they follow public health guidelines and keep accommodations in mind.
Electronic Alerts are written by Barran Liebman attorneys for their clients and friends. Alerts are not intended as legal advice, but as employment law, labor law, and employee benefits announcements. If this has been forwarded to you, and you would like to begin receiving Electronic Alerts directly, please email or call Traci Ray at 503-276-2115. Copyright ©2021 by Barran Liebman LLP.
Las Alertas electrónicas son escritas por abogados de Barran Liebman para sus clientes y amigos. Las Alertas no son proveídas como asesoramiento legal, sino solo como anuncios de leyes de empleo, leyes laborales y beneficios de empleo. Si esto ha sido remetido a usted y quisieras empezar a recibir las Alertas directamente, por favor mándanos un correo electrónico o llama a Traci Ray al 503-276-2115. Derechos de autor ©2021 por Barran Liebman LLP.