Oregon OSHA proposes permanent rules on extreme heat, wildfire smoke
Salem, OR — Oregon OSHA is seeking public comment on proposed rules that would increase worker protections against extreme heat and wildfire smoke, calling them “the strongest such protections in the nation.”
The proposals build on emergency standards adopted by the agency last summer. The development process involved review and input from rule advisory committees as well as employer and worker stakeholders. Oregon OSHA, which operates as a State Plan, also conducted listening sessions for worker and community stakeholders.
The proposed heat illness prevention rule includes access to shade and cool water, work/rest schedules, information and training, and other plans and preventive actions. Meanwhile, the proposed wildfire smoke rule features various exposure assessments and controls, as well as steps for training and communication. Both proposals also address protections for workers who rely on employer-provided housing, including as part of farm operations.
“The dangers of extreme heat and wildfire smoke are not going away,” Andrew Stolfi, director of the state’s Department of Consumer and Business Services, which includes Oregon OSHA, said in a press release. “That is why we must continue to build up our safeguards against them. These rulemaking efforts demonstrate our commitment to bolstering Oregon’s ability to protect workers – especially vulnerable workers who work outdoors – from extraordinary hazards that have been worsened by climate change.”
Oregon OSHA says it expects to adopt the rules in April, ahead of the grow and wildfire seasons.