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Comment period open on Oregon OSHA’s pending oversight of temporary labor camps

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Photo: Oregon.gov

Washington — Oregon OSHA is one step closer to having full oversight over temporary labor camps, after federal OSHA published a proposed final approval in the March 13 Federal Register.

Covered labor camps would include those for logging, agriculture, construction and general industry. Once a final approval is published, Oregon OSHA – which operates as a State Plan – will take over enforcement authority. But first, federal OSHA is allowing time for comments and any requests for an informal public hearing. Those are due April 17.

OSHA initially approved an Oregon standard on temporary labor camps in 1976, but the state made revisions to it in 2000. OSHA then raised concerns that the revised standard wasn’t as stringent as federal rules, a requirement under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.

While trying to work that out with OSHA and the Wage and Hour Division, Oregon’s State Plan as a whole was granted final approval by OSHA in December 2004. Oversight over temporary labor camps, however, was excluded from the approval.

Oregon OSHA made changes to its standard on temporary labor camps in 2008 and requested oversight of camps in an August 2018 meeting with federal OSHA. Oregon also amended its Agricultural Labor Housing and Related Facilities Rule in May 2022 to add provisions on heat illness prevention.

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