Oregon operates a state plan approved by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that applies to both public and private employers. Accordingly, Oregon employers are subject to state OSHA standards rather than federal OSHA standards. Oregon OSHA may adopt a temporary emergency standard (ETS) related to COVID-19 that deviates from the federal ETS, but Oregon OSHA’s ETS must be “as effective as” the federal ETS. In addition, Oregon employers are not required to comply with the federal ETS.
In light of the lifting of OSHA’s ETS residency, Oregon OSHA recently has updated its website to state that it is “required to adopt the same or similar standard by January 24, 2022” and “the expected effective date of the Oregon standard would be 30 days after adoption,” which is February 24, 2022. In the meantime, the United States Supreme Court has received several urgent applications for an immediate suspension of the OSHA ETS. While it’s always hard to predict how quickly a ruling could come, the Supreme Court will most likely take action in the coming weeks to give employers security. Employers may want to monitor Oregon OSHA’s website and legal developments to consider whether they should continue preparing to comply with vaccination and/or testing policies that are at least as effective as the federal ETS.
© 2022, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, PC, All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 13