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Business and Industry Guidance

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Current COVID-19 guidance for businesses and workplaces.

Businesses and workplaces have an important role to play in helping slow the spread of COVID-19. Below are resources and current guidance to help keep your workers and customers safe.

The Washington State COVID-19 governor’s proclamations and state of emergency were rescinded on October 31, 2022. As a result, COVID-19 requirements for non-healthcare businesses and organizations are changing. In addition, the Washington State Department of Health (WA DOH) recently released updates to guidance for people who test positive for COVID-19 and people who have been exposed to COVID-19.

  • COVID-19 is a recognized workplace hazard that employers must address. Employers and businesses are required to follow Washington State face covering orders, and Labor & Industries (L&I) requirements regarding COVID-19 in the workplace:
  • WA DOH recommends that employers and businesses continue to support employees with using masks and other work practices that reduce exposure. Employees have a right to use masks, respirators, and other personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect themselves. Employers are required to allow workers to voluntarily wear masks and personal protective equipment as long as it does not create a safety or security issue (L&I Requirements and Guidance for Preventing COVID-19).
  • Everyone is required to cooperate with public health authorities in the investigation of cases, suspected cases, outbreaks, and suspected outbreaks (WAC 246-101-425). This includes providing public health authorities with information about workers with COVID-19 if
  • Washington Administrative Code (WAC 246-101) requires facilities conducting COVID-19 tests to report results to public health. This includes employers performing COVID-19 point-of-care testing or self-tests under a Medical Test Site/CLIA license. More information about reporting can be found on Reporting COVID-19 Test Results for Point-of-Care Testing Facilities. More information about Medical Test Site/CLIA licenses can be found here.

Safety & Accident Prevention Programs must include COVID Protocols

Every employer is required to create a written Accident Prevention Program (APP) to address the safety and health hazards found in their workplace. Businesses must now make sure that their safety plan (APP) includes COVID protocols.

Report COVID-19 cases to BFHD

Businesses and workplaces must notify Public Health within 24 hours if you suspect COVID-19 is spreading in your workplace or if there are two or more confirmed or suspected cases among your employees in a 14-day period. Please track cases reported by employees and submit a report if your facility meets that threshold. Public Health is currently only able to review reports from workplaces with 10+ employee COVID-19 positive cases identified within a 14-day period.

Report cases online

If an Employee has COVID-19

Further, to ensure occupational health and safety, employers should refer to and follow all applicable worksite requirements outlined by the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I).

What to do if you test positive for COVID-19 (PDF) (wa.gov)

What to do if you were potentially exposed to someone with COVID-19 (PDF) (wa.gov)

Symptom Decision Tree for Non-Health Care Settings and the Public (PDF) (wa.gov)

 

When employers must report cases to Benton-Franklin Health District:

  • Employers who operate in health care, veterinary medicine, and social service settings (e.g., senior living communities, homeless shelters, child care programs, and schools) must report cases to BFHD, while maintaining the confidentiality of anyone who is sick.
  • Employers in non-health care settings should notify BFHD if they suspect COVID is spreading in their workplace or if there are two or more confirmed or suspected cases among their employees in a 14 day period.

If you are a non-healthcare or social services setting, but you think the virus may be spreading through your workplace, please contact BFHD.

If one of your employees has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and may have been in close contact with other employees while infectious, notify other employees they may have been exposed, but do not identify the person who is sick. They can get tested, monitor for symptoms, and quarantine at home if high-risk for exposure.

Cleaning and disinfection

In most cases, you do not need to shut down your facility. If it has been less than 7 days since the sick employee has been in the facility, close off any areas used for prolonged periods of time by the sick person:

  • Wait 24 hours from the last time the employee was in the facility before cleaning and disinfecting to minimize potential exposure for other employees. If waiting 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible.
  • During this waiting period, open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in these areas.

 

If it has been 7 days or more since the sick employee used the facility, additional cleaning and disinfection is not necessary. Continue routinely cleaning and disinfecting all high-touch surfaces in the facility. Follow the CDC cleaning and disinfection recommendations.

 

Cooperate with public health investigators

The state requires employers to cooperate with public health authorities investigating any cases, suspected cases, outbreaks or suspected outbreaks of COVID-19
 (WAC 246-101-425). This includes providing public health authorities with information about workers with COVID-19 if requested

Maintain healthy business operations

  1. Keep track of cases in the workforce. and alert anyone who may have been exposed. Managers should help employees who have tested positive trace their contacts with coworkers and also prepare resources to assist workers who need guidance about how to isolate or quarantine at home. Businesses with more than 50 workers at the job site must also report outbreaks to the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. The privacy of employees’ protected health information must always be maintained.
  2. Establish sick leave policies and practices that are flexible and supportive, especially for workers 60 or older or those with underlying health conditions who are especially vulnerable to the virus. When sick employees stay home, it prevents the spread to others at work and customers. Businesses are required to provide paid sick leave to their employees (Paid Sick Leave). For more information, please see L&I’s Paid Sick Leave and Paid Sick Leave and Coronavirus Common Questions
  3. Do not require a doctor’s note from any employees with symptoms of COVID-19.
  4. Communicate supportive workplace policies, such as telework options, employee assistance programs, and alternatives to public-facing duties – in the preferred language of employees.

Farm and Farmworker Guidance

Emergency Rule Adoption – Temporary Worker Housing 

The Department of Health (DOH) in conjunction with the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) continue to respond to the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. DOH and L&I adopted revisions to the initial emergency rule for temporary worker housing. DOH and L&I filed the initial emergency rules on May 13, 2020. As the pandemic continues to impact residents of Washington state and temporary worker housing occupants, and in response to the Governor’s guidance, DOH and L&I filed subsequent emergency rules through January 14, 2023 to protect occupants from COVID-19 hazards in licensed temporary worker housing.

These new, revised emergency rules took effect September 16, 2022.

Changes to this emergency rule include:

  • Clearer definitions of “confirmed cases” as “cases testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 with a viral test,” and requiring isolation in accordance with DOH guidance or Local Health Officer rules.
  • Changes to education regarding cleaning/disinfection of frequently touched items, and steps to improve ventilation.

This emergency rule continues the requirements under the previous emergency rules that operators:

  • Educate occupants in a language or languages understood by the occupants on COVID-19;
  • Provide occupants masks/face coverings;
  • Ensure the ventilation requirements are met, including specific requirements for mechanical ventilation systems or that windows are open in buildings without mechanical ventilation;
  • Identify and isolate occupants with suspect and confirmed positive cases;
  • Ensure isolation requirements are met including medical monitoring by a licensed health care provider;
  • Report to L&I Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) within 24 hours whenever symptomatic or COVID-19 positive workers are placed in isolation; and
  • Ensure any changes made to the revised temporary worker housing management plan are submitted to DOH.
  • Mask/Face coverings are required in accordance with DOH guidelines or LNI Safety Rules.

The links below provide additional information about this rulemaking:

Temporary worker housing – L&I emergency rule for Temporary Worker Housing

CR-103E Emergency Adoption (PDF)

Final Adoption Language (PDF)

 

Ag-Related Health Topics

Working In Extreme Heat

Be Heat Smart L&I

Agriculture, Chapter 296-307, WAC

Be Heat Smart – Safety requirements for employees working in extreme heat conditions  – English

Be Heat Smart – Safety requirements for employees working in extreme heat conditions – Spanish

 

Wildfire Smoke and COVID

 

Monkey Pox

 

 

 

 

Other Resources (archive)

Families Caring for Loved Ones (DOH, English) Available here in 26 languages

Service and Emotional Support Animals Guidance (DOH)

Washington Non-Healthcare COVID-19 Workplace Guidance (DOH)

BFHD Accepted Types of COVID Tests(BFHD)

Employer Testing Guidance (DOH & BFHD)

The COVID-19 Safety Plan Template is a basic tool to assist businesses in creating their plans to reopen as allowed by the governor’s orders:

BFHD COVID-19 Safety Plan Template (PDF)
BFHD COVID-19 Safety Plan Template (Word)
Plantilla del Plan de Seguridad COVID-19

BFHD Business Guidance Breakroom Flyer

Cleaning and Disinfecting Guidance for Public Spaces

CDC Resuming Business Toolkit

Business Signage Toolkit
Business Signage Toolkit – Spanish

BFHD Mask Required Signage
BFHD Mask Required Signage – Spanish

BFHD Business Mask Signage 1
BFHD Business Mask Signage 1 – Spanish
BFHD Business Mask Signage 2

BFHD Business Mask Signage 1 Black and White
BFHD Business Mask Signage 1 Black and White – Spanish
BFHD Business Mask Signage 2 Black and White
BFHD Business Mask Signage 2 Black and White – Spanish

Please Wear Face Covering PDF
Please Wear Face Covering PNG

Safe Travel Practices for Non-Emergency Transportation – English/Spanish

Healthy Washington Roadmap to Recovery Page

If you are a business, or worker with inquires you can use this form to ask Washington State for guidance: COVID-19 Business and Worker Inquiries

WA DOH Recommended Guidance for Employees and Visitors (PDF) | Spanish | Russian

L&I has issued coronavirus workplace safety guidance for numerous industries including agriculture, grocery workers, janitorial workers, and construction – Division of Occupational Safety and Health coronavirus webpage

Basic Employee training on COVID-19 Infection Prevention English | Spanish

BFHD COVID-19 Symptoms Graphic

BFHD Stay Healthy at Work: Dos and Don’ts for Employers and Employees
BFHD Stay Healthy at Work: Dos and Don’ts for Employers and Employees – Spanish

CDC 3 Key Steps to Take While Waiting for Your COVID-19 Test Result

COVID-19 Farmworker Infographic
COVID-19 Farmworker Infographic – Spanish

Farmers Market Poster

There are additional materials available on BFHD Posters and Graphics page