Oregon sets new workplace safety rules for extreme heat, wildfire smoke

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Oregon safety regulators have adopted two new workplace rules aimed at protecting workers in the state from excessive heat and wildfire smoke dangers.

The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division (OSHA) announced that starting June 15, that when temperatures reach 80 degrees, employers must supply an adequate supply of drinking water at no cost to the workers. Additionally, there must be ample access to shade for people working outside.

If the temperatures reach 90 degrees, employers will be required to provide rest breaks so that workers can cool down. Employers must also have a heat illness prevention plan to share with workers.

The new wildfire smoke rules will go into place July 1. It includes a requirement for respiratory protection as well as monitoring and training for employees to be educated on what the air quality is.

You can read the full rules at the links below.

OSHA said the dates were selected to give employers time to adjust and prepare.

“As we enter what we expect will be another hot and dry summer, all workers, including Oregon’s hard-working agricultural and farmworkers, deserve health and safety protections from extreme heat and wildfire smoke,” said Gov. Kate Brown in a statement. “With these new rules from Oregon OSHA, I am proud that Oregon will be a national model for heat and wildfire smoke protections for all workers, regardless of income-level, occupation, or immigration status.”

“As we move forward with these rules, Oregon OSHA will continue to offer free training and education resources to help employers achieve compliance,” Renee Stapleton, acting administrator for Oregon OSHA, said in a statement.

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