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Oregon OSHA Still Taking In Far More Complaints Than Normal

The agency that regulates workplace safety in Oregon is still taking in far more complaints than normal, more than two months after the coronavirus started spreading through the state.

There was a spike in safety complaints to Oregon Occupational Safety and Health in late March. The agency says the vast majority of those were concerns over lack of measures taken by employers to slow the spread of COVID-19. Oregon OSHA administrator Michael Wood told an Oregon Senate panel Monday that the pace of complaints is still much higher than normal.

“It’s a little odd, because now we’ve settled down to where we’re only doing about six or seven times as many complaints that we normally do," he said. "Our computer systems and our system overall bent in the face of this workload, but it didn’t break.”

That comment could have been a reference to the state’s beleaguered Employment Department, whose officials testified earlier in the meeting about the enormous backlog of unpaid unemployment claims from Oregonians who’ve lost a job.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018 and became News Director in March, 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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