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Heat and Air Quality Hazards

As temperatures push toward triple digits, make sure you’re protected from heat and air quality hazards. 

You’re also protected from harassment, discrimination or retaliation on the job for reporting concerns about unsafe working conditions.

If you think your employer is violating the law, you can make a complaint or contact us to get help.

Heat Illness Prevention Plus Rest and Meal Periods

In May 2022, Oregon-OSHA announced new rules regarding workplace hazards posed by excessive heat. These new rules became effective June 15, 2022. See Oregon OSHA’s website for details on required heat illness prevention measures.

Among other protections, employers must provide employees who perform work under high heat index conditions with heat illness prevention rest breaks. (OSHA’s rule provides three options for scheduling these, regardless of the length of the shift.)

These heat illness prevention rest breaks can take place at the same time as required meal or rest periods if the timing of the break coincides with the required meal or rest period.

So long as an employee is otherwise relieved of all duties, taking required preventive cool-down rest breaks is a work assignment that is not inconsistent with required meal and rest periods.

Click here for more information on rest breaks and meal periods.

Oregon sick time

As always, if an employee feels sick (including as a result the air quality or heat indexes) the employee may use any available sick leave under the Oregon Sick Leave laws.

Under BOLI rules, an employee who is not working as a first responder may also use available sick leave when a public official has determined that the air quality or heat indexes at either the employee’s work location or home are at a level where continued exposure to such levels would jeopardize the health of the employee.

Click here for more information on Oregon sick time.