February 1, 2022

Oregon OSHA Proposes Permanent Wildfire Smoke Rules – Public Hearings Scheduled

Oregon OSHA adopted temporary rules related to exposure of Oregon workers to wildfire smoke on August 3, 2021.  The rules required employers to monitor the air quality to which their workers might be exposed and to take certain steps if the Air Quality Index (AQI) for PM2.5 was at or above 101 (identified as potentially unhealthy for sensitive groups by the EPA).  Those temporary rules will expire on February 4, 2022.  OR-OSHA has been working with stakeholders to develop permanent rules related to the exposure of workers to wildfire smoke.  On January 28, 2021, OR-OSHA published its proposed permanent rules related to wildfire smoke exposure.  The proposed permanent rules apply to most employers and contains significant requirements for employers to conduct exposure assessments of the AQI in areas where their workers may be exposed to ambient air.  The proposed rule further imposes additional requirements related to  training, engineering and administrative controls, making N95 masks available to employees, and implementing new communication systems.

The specific language of the proposed permanent rule can be found at this link.

OR-OSHA has scheduled three public hearings on the rule when interested parties can comment on the proposed permanent rules.  All Hearings will be held virtually.  The hearings are currently scheduled for:

March 2, 2022 at 6:00 p.m.   REGISTER
March 3, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. (Spanish only)  REGISTER
March 5, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.    REGISTER

Comments on the proposed permanent rule can also be submitted in writing to:

Department of Consumer and Business Services
Oregon OSHA
PO BOX 14480
Salem OR 97309-0405

The comment period for this proposed permanent rule closes on March 18, 2022 at 5:00 p.m.  OR-OSHA anticipates final adoption of the rule in April 2022.

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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