Oregon is on track to become the third state in the country to start new emergency workplace COVID-19 rules. This comes as almost 8,000 Oregonians have gotten the infection through their jobs.
Sara has worked at a Portland grocery store for 20 years, but none like this year. She tells our news partner KGW, “The stores are obviously making money, while the employees work in fear and rely on masks and a few sheets of plexiglass to save our lives. What we need are statewide rules that are clear, strong, and enforceable.”
Oregon OSHA’s Administrator Michael Wood hopes new temporary emergency rules will do just that. “It’s important to protect workers. It’s critical. But it’s also important to recognize that there are businesses that have taken a pretty hard hit during all of this as well,” Wood said.
Oregon OSHA’s draft rules would require employers to offer the best air quality they can, personal protective equipment and instruction on how to use it, notification to employees of workplace infections, and training on how to reduce COVID-19.
Graham Trainor’s the President of Oregon’s AFL-CIO. He said, “Showing up to work shouldn’t be a death sentence or mean that you’re significantly at risk for contracting a disease that we still don’t have a cure or a treatment for.”
Oregon OSHA could adopt the new rules as soon as next week.