ORS 654.003¹

The purpose of the Oregon Safe Employment Act is to ensure as far as possible safe and healthful working conditions for every working person in Oregon, to preserve our human resources and to reduce the substantial burden, in terms of lost production, wage loss, medical expenses, disability compensation payments and human suffering, that is created by occupational injury and disease. To accomplish this purpose the Legislative Assembly intends to provide a procedure that will:

(1) Encourage employers and employees to reduce the number of occupational safety and health hazards and to institute new programs and improve existing programs for providing safe and healthful working conditions.

(2) Establish a coordinated program of worker and employer education, health and safety consultative services, demonstration projects and research to assist workers and their employers in preventing occupational injury and disease, whatever the cause.

(3) Authorize the Director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services and the designees of the director to set reasonable, mandatory, occupational safety and health standards for all employments and places of employment.

(4) Provide an effective program, under the director, to enforce all laws, regulations, rules and standards adopted for the protection of the life, safety and health of employees, and in so doing, predominantly prioritize inspections of places of employment to first focus enforcement activities upon places of employment that the director reasonably believes to be the most unsafe.

(5) Establish appropriate reporting and research procedures that will help achieve the objectives of the Oregon Safe Employment Act, identify occupational hazards and unsafe and unhealthy working conditions, and describe the nature of the occupational safety and health problem.

(6) Assure that Oregon assumes fullest responsibility, in accord with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 651 et seq.), for the development, administration and enforcement of safety and health laws and standards. [1973 c.833 §3; 1987 c.884 §55; 1999 c.1017 §1; 2017 c.238 §1]

Notes of Decisions

Legislature did not direct Workers’ Compensa­tion Depart­ment, in setting standards for workers for purposes of this sec­tion, to take account of cost of consequential civil liability toward other parties, and statute implies that safeguards for workers are not to be compromised by such considera­tions. Shahtout v. Emco Garbage Co., 298 Or 598, 695 P2d 897 (1985)

Where there was no substantial evidence that compliance with regula­tion adopted by Accident Preven­tion Division was economically infeasible, Workers’ Compensa­tion Board’s order could reduce protec­tion of workers contrary to purpose of Oregon Safe Employ­ment Act. Accident Preven­tion Division v. Bliss, 97 Or App 508, 776 P2d 1302 (1989)

Notes of Decisions

Safety codes under Oregon Safe Employ­ment Act apply to all work places and not only to work places covered by Employer Liability Law. Miller v. Ga.-Pacific, 294 Or 750, 662 P2d 718 (1983)

Viola­tion of Workers’ Compensa­tion Depart­ment rule resulting in injury to nonemploye is not negligence per se, but it does not follow that rule is irrelevant to determina­tion of due care in case grounded in common law negligence. Shahtout v. Emco Garbage Co., 298 Or 598, 695 P2d 897 (1985)

Where right of ac­tion for injuries exists resulting from viola­tion of Oregon Safe Employ­ment Act, right belongs only to employee whom Act directly protects not “indirect” employee. Flores v. Metro Machinery Rigging, Inc., 99 Or App 636, 783 P2d 1024 (1989), Sup Ct review denied

Referee did not err in finding employer in viola­tion of rule requiring workers to be “properly...supervised” where employee killed in accident was skilled and experienced supervisor working with two other supervisors during strike, but none of the three was in charge. Accident Preven­tion Div. v. Roseburg Forest Prod., 106 Or App 69, 806 P2d 172 (1991)

Whether identity of complainant falsely reporting viola­tion is subject to disclosure under Oregon public records law ([former] ORS 192.410 et seq.) depends on complainant’s good or bad faith in making complaint. Hood Technology Corp. v. Oregon Occupa­tional Safety and Health Division, 168 Or App 293, 7 P3d 564 (2000)

Chapter 654

Notes of Decisions

An administrative regula­tion requires Accident Preven­tion Division to prove reasonableness of civil penalty imposed for viola­tion of Oregon State Employ­ment Act. Accident Preven­tion Div. v. Sunrise Seed, 26 Or App 879, 554 P2d 550 (1976)

Accident Preven­tion Division rule allowing cita­tion for “repeat viola­tion” of division’s safety standards while prior cita­tion is contested and not yet upheld by final order is within agency’s authority to promulgate rules consistent with purpose of Act to assure as far as possible safe and healthful working condi­tions. Accident Preven­tion Div. v. Hoffman Construc­tion, 64 Or App 73, 667 P2d 543 (1983)

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Inap­pli­ca­bil­i­ty of occupa­tional safety and health laws to inmates in prison work programs, (1996) Vol 48, p 134

1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 654—Occupational Safety and Health, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors654.­html (2019) (last ac­cessed May 16, 2020).
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2019, Chapter 654, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano654.­html (2019) (last ac­cessed May 16, 2020).
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent. Currency Information