OSHA Considering Amendments to Oregon State Standards

Oregon wants to amend three of its occupational safety and health standards fall protection, forest activities (logging) and steel erection, so federal OSHA is seeking public comment on the changes.

OSHA's review and approval process for changes to state occupational safety and health standards requires public comment if a state standard differs significantly from the comparable federal standard, or if OSHA needs more information on whether the standard meets its requirements. A state standard must be "at least as effective" as the federal standard. If applicable to a product in interstate commerce, the standard must also be required by local conditions and not unduly burden commerce.

The state of Oregon operates an OSHA-approved state plan administered by the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division (OR-OSHA) of the Department of Consumer and Business Services. OR-OSHA standards are fully enforceable upon adoption and prior to Federal review and approval. Significant differences in the three standards include:

Forest Industries Oregon's forest industries requirements are more extensive than the federal logging requirements and were developed to address the differences in western-style logging.

Steel Erection Federal OSHA generally requires fall protection at 15 feet and at 30 feet in some cases. Oregon's amended standard parallels the federal fall protection levels. It contains additional requirements, including a written site-specific erection plan, use of tag lines to control loads, and protection with covers or guardrails of large roof and floor openings that can't be decked over.

Fall Protection Oregon's fall protection rules have a higher overall height requirement, but the state does not allow as many alternatives and exceptions as the federal standard and residential construction compliance policy.

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