The comment period for Oregon OSHA's new confined space rule, 437-002-0146 Confined Spaces, which replaces 1910.146 Permit-Required Confined Spaces, closed May 9, 2012. The adoption date for the new rule had not been determined as of May 9; however, employers will have six months from the adoption date to comply with the requirements.
The new rule is similar to the existing one, but clarifies employer obligations and eliminates confusing requirements. The rulemaking will also amend Oregon-initiated rules 437-002-0182, 437-002-0256, and 437-002-0312 to update references to the new confined spaces rule; also amended are 1910.120 Appendix E and 1910.269. Oregon OSHA will also repeal 1926.21(b)(6) in Division 3/C, and place a note referring the reader to the new rule.
Oregon OSHA's proposed changes to its Penalties rule, 437-001-0015 Penalties, will become effective July 1, 2012. The changes to the existing rule will allow Oregon OSHA to use its existing penalty authority more effectively. The proposed changes include the following:
- An increase in the difference between penalties for small and large employers
- A decrease in penalty amounts for those employers who demonstrate "good faith" efforts to promote workplace safety and health
- A removal of the current decrease in penalty amounts based on an employer's immediate correction of violations
- A change in the reduction of penalties given employer's history
- An increase in the base penalty amount for death violations
- A change in the definition of repeat violations to focus on repeat behavior rather than technical issues related to the code