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New heat safety regulations put in place for Oregon workplaces

These temporary workplace requirements will be in place for the next 180 days, and there could be a set of permanent ones in the near future.

Posted: Jul 27, 2021 6:42 PM
Updated: Jul 27, 2021 6:44 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- Oregon is on track to experience one of its hottest summers, and on the heels of the deadly extreme heat last month, Oregon OSHA has adopted some new requirements to help Oregon businesses beat the heat. 

For the next 180 days, workplaces must provide employees with cold water and sufficient shade, whether they work inside or outside. And employers also need to hold a training to make sure their workers know the signs of heat exhaustion, what to do in case of an emergency, and where to find drinking water. 

For indoor-based businesses like restaurants, it's easy. Managers at The Gateway Grill say they're always evaluating safety. Bar manager Taylor Stimson said they work on keeping temperatures inside nice and cool and make sure all tables have constant air conditioning to keep customers comfortable. 

"We do keep an extra eye on people out there just in case the temperatures get a little too insane out there. We want to make sure that everyone is cool and has some water to hydrate at all times regardless of the time of day," said Stimson. 

But what about businesses like landscaping that make their profit from being outside?

The general manager of GrassRoots Landscape, Phillip Farris, told KEZI 9 News his business has always prioritized safety. 

"We just did an all-encompassing training so we can all have awareness around what heat exhaustion, heat stress, heat stroke, what those look like," said Farris. 

Farris said these new requirements will also give his employees leeway to make their own calls. 

"One of the points that we made is you have permission to call it early and hit pause if you need to for the sake of safety, that's more important than finishing the job on time," said Farris. 

He said his workers always have access to drinking water and pop-up shade shelters, but it's up to workers to gauge if this is appropriate for where they are working. 

These temporary Oregon OSHA requirements are set in place for the next 180 days, and there could be a set of permanent ones that will be released by OSHA later. 

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