February 13, 2023

Oregon Legislative Proposals – HB 2143 would Rein in OR-OSHA Wildfire Smoke and Heat Illness Rules.

House Bill 2134 (“HB 2134”) was submitted to House Committee On Business and Labor on January 11, 2023.  The bill would limit the rulemaking authority of the Director of Department of Consumer and Business Services related to poor ambient atmospheric conditions and high ambient temperatures.


HB 2134 would add two subsections to ORS 654.035(2).  The first would prohibit the Director, and thus Oregon OSHA, from requiring employers to provide, or employees to use, personal protective equipment at any place of employment to address poor ambient atmospheric conditions, including hazardous air quality resulting from wildfire smoke events, that are not directly caused by any operations or processes that are specific to the place of employment.  In effect, employers could not be required to take additional measures that address air quality conditions unless the work processes at that place of employment was directly responsible for causing those air quality concerns.  Additionally, the Director would be prohibited from requiring that employers provide employees with rest breaks or modified work schedules, whether paid or unpaid, to prevent exposure to high ambient temperatures while working.


Passage of HB 2134 would effectively prevent OSHA from enforcing most, if not all, of OAR 437-002-1081 and 437-004-9791 (“Protection from Wildfire Smoke”) as well as some portions of OAR 437-002-0156 and OAR 437-004-1131 (“Heat Illness Prevention”).


If you are an Employer and have questions and need assistance, please contact the lawyers at Cummins, Goodman, Denley & Vickers at (503) 476-8200.


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