Heat, smoke rules shield Oregon workers… but for how long?

Farmworkers pick crops in Oregon in July, 2021.

The seasonal workforce on local wineries will be harvesting grapes by hand in September, under emergency workplace protections from excessive heat and wildfire smoke.

The rules from Oregon's Occupational Health and Safety Administration, which require improved access to shade and water, masks in especially smoky conditions, and cooling controls in employer-provided housing, were issued in July and August — part of the state's on-the-fly response to unprecedented heat and early-summer wildfires. But they are only temporary: They expire in January 2022.