Oregon Proposes Revisions to Its Safe Employment Act

Legal Update
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Oregon Proposes Revisions to Its Safe Employment Act
On April 20, 2023, the Oregon Senate passed Senate Bill 592 (SB 592), which proposes revisions to the Oregon Safe Employment Act. SB 592 is now being reviewed by the House of Representatives. If this bill is signed into law, it will allow for significant changes to the current act by broadening Oregon OSHA’s (OR OSHA) inspections, increasing civil penalties and removing penalty adjustments.
If the bill is adopted by the House, Oregon’s governor will have five days to sign it into law (30 days if the legislative assembly is adjourned). In most cases, new laws become effective on Jan. 1 of the year following its passage.
Safe Employment Act Overview
The Safe Employment Act gives OR OSHA the authority to inspect Oregon workplaces for safety or health hazards. This act applies to most employers in Oregon but excludes independent contractors, sole proprietors and partnerships that have no workers’ compensation insurance coverage.
If SB 592 becomes law, comprehensive inspections will occur:
  • At any place of employment as deemed necessary by OR OSHA, based on the establishment’s prior safety and health violations;
  • Whenever an accident investigation reveals that a violation has caused or contributed to a work-related fatality at a place of employment (the inspection will take place at the place of employment within one year); and
  • Whenever three or more willful or repeated violations occur at a place of employment within a one-year period (the inspection will be completed within one year).
Employer Next Steps
Oregon employers subject to OR OSHA inspections should become familiar with the proposed changes in SB 592 and evaluate how this bill may impact their safety and health policies and procedures.
Important Information
The proposed revisions to the Safe Employment Act include:
  • Broadening inspection parameters;
  • Increasing civil penalties; and
  • Removing penalty adjustments unless the employer agrees to carry out additional abatement measures.
If adopted, SB 592 will broaden OR OSHA’s inspection authority, increase civil penalties and remove penalty adjustments.
This Legal Update is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel for legal advice. ©2023 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

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