OR-OSHA – Legislative Update

HB 2222 

  • Signed by Governor June 18, 2007
  • Amends ORS 654.176 and 654.182.
  • Effective January 1, 2008

All public and private employers, regardless of size, must now have a safety committee or hold safety meetings. Employers of ten or fewer employees used to be exempt unless certain criteria were found by the Director of DCBS. Now, if an employer is agricultural, classified as “small”, or has mobile work sites, rules must be adopted to meet their special needs and providing for alternate forms of safety committees and meetings. “Small” no longer appears to be defined by statute and is left to rule-making.

HB 2223-B

  • Awaits Governor’s signature
  • Amends ORS 654.005
  • Effective immediately, if signed, pursuant to declared emergency

For purposes of the Oregon Safe Employment Act, the definition of employer is amended to include any successor or assignee of an employer. “Successor” is now defined as a business or enterprise that is substantially the same entity as the predecessor employer according to criteria adopted by the department by rule.

SB 556-A>

  • Signed by Governor June 15, 2007
  • Amends ORS 654.078 & 654.086
  • Effective January 1, 2008

Bill amends procedural deadlines relating to occupational safety violations. An employer may now contest a citation, a proposed assessment of civil penalty, and/or the period of time for correction of the violation within 30 days after receipt of the citation, rather than within 20 days. Similarly, the time frame for an affected employee to request a hearing before the Board, personally or through a representative, is extended to 30 days rather than 20 days. When an order assessing a civil penalty becomes final as an operation of law on appeal, an employer will now have 20 days after that order becomes final to pay the penalty before that penalty becomes a judgment rather than 10 days. Amendments are not retroactive.

HB 2022-A

  • Signed by Governor June 13, 2007
  • Added to & made part of ORS 654.001-654.295
  • Effective date is July 1, 2007, with exceptions, pursuant to declared emergency
  • Not retroactive

Requires healthcare employers (defined as hospitals and/or ambulatory surgical centers under ORS 442.015), to conduct periodic security and safety assessments to identify existing or potential hazards for assaults against their employees. Employers must develop and implement an assault prevention and protection program for employees, as well as provide training, conduct assessments, implement reporting procedures, and maintain detailed records of assaults. Grants employees who are the victims of assaults the right to refuse to continue treating an assaultive patient unless accompanied by a second employee, if employee so requests. Provides protection from discipline for employees who use self-defense against assaultive patient(s). Home healthcare employees may refuse to treat a patient if not provided with an adequate communication device with which to report assault(s).

HB 2259-A

  • Signed by Governor June 4, 2007.
  • Amends ORS 654.062.
  • Effective immediately pursuant to declared emergency
  • Not retroactive

Amends legal procedures and language that keeps complaints confidential by removing language regarding “public record” from the statute. Now states that such complaints may not be disclosed under ORS 192.410 & 192.505. The amendment appears to make such complaints non-discoverable public record(s).

HB 3400

  • Awaits Governor’s signature
  • Amends ORS 654.035 as amended by §2, chapter 595, Oregon Laws 2003 & §2, chapter 27, Oregon Laws 2005
  • Repeals Sunset provision: §3, chapter 595 of the Oregon Laws 2003
  • Effective immediately, once signed, pursuant to declared emergency

Amends the law to prevent the Director of the DCBS from requiring the use of fall protection by workers engaged in steel erection at heights lower than the heights at which fall protection relating to steel erection is required by federal regulation.

SB 479 -B

  • Signed by Governor June 11, 2007
  • Effective July 1, 2007, pursuant to declared emergency
  • Chapter 312, 2007 Laws

Schools, operated by school districts and/or public charter schools, may use only “T type light bulbs” in light fixtures that are designed for metal halide or mercury vapor light bulbs. T type light bulbs have an internal mechanism that shuts off the light within 15 minutes of a bulb breaking. There is a provision allowing schools 6 months from the effective date of the act (January 1, 2008) to replace all pre-existing non-complying light bulbs. A school may opt to switch to an alternative lighting option, such as fluorescent lights, rather than replacing the bulbs, if it prefers. The purpose of the act is to prevent injuries from accidental exposure to ultraviolet radiation that can be caused by a broken metal halide or mercury vapor light bulbs, including redness, burns, and other symptoms. Lighting used in stadium fields or outdoor athletic fields is explicitly excluded from the provisions. Metal halide or mercury vapor light bulbs are, apparently, commonly used in schools.

SB 442

  • Dead bill
  • Sponsored by the Comm. on Business Transportation and Work Force Development at OSIA’s request.
  • Bill was to amend ORS 654.078

Enactment of the Bill would have ended the requirement that violations be corrected prior to issuance of a final order, if and when a request for a hearing before the Workers’ Compensation Board is filed regarding the validity of a citation or the proposed civil penalty. Other minor clarifications to the language of ORS 654.078 were proposed as well.