Oregon operates a state plan that the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has approved that applies to both public and private employers. Accordingly, Oregon employers are subject to the state OSHA’s standards rather than the federal OSHA standards. Oregon OSHA may adopt an emergency temporary standard (ETS) related to COVID-19 that differs from the federal ETS, but Oregon OSHA’s ETS must be “as effective as” the federal ETS. Moreover, Oregon employers are not required to comply with the federal ETS.
In light of OSHA’s ETS stay being lifted, Oregon OSHA recently updated its website to state that it is “required to adopt the same or similar standard by Jan. 24, 2022” and “the anticipated effective date of the Oregon standard would be 30 days from adoption,” which is February 24, 2022. In the interim, the Supreme Court of the United States has received several emergency applications for an immediate stay of the OSHA ETS. Although it is always difficult to predict how quickly a ruling might come, the Supreme Court will most likely take action in the coming weeks to give employers some certainty. Employers may want to monitor Oregon OSHA’s website and legal developments to consider whether to continue preparations to comply with a vaccination and/or testing policy that is at least as effective as the federal ETS.
Ogletree Deakins will continue to monitor and report on developments with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic and will post updates in the firm’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center as additional information becomes available. Important information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar and podcast programs.