This information is current as of April 12, 2023
Basic COVID-19 Requirements for All Workplaces
COVID-19 remains a recognized respiratory hazard in the workplace. Employers will need to continue to assess their worker’s exposure risk along with the need for further precautions to prevent exposure.
- Ensure workers (including those in health care settings) wear appropriate, fit-tested, and NIOSH-approved respirators:
- When providing care to or working near someone known or suspected to have COVID-19.
- When required by your COVID-19 hazard assessment and when respirators are required, you must have a respirator program (see sample templates) and meet the requirements in Respirators, Chapter 296-842, WAC.
- Make sure voluntary use of respirators is safe. Workers may use N95 respirators as long as it doesn’t create a safety or security issue. See voluntary use requirements in Respirators, Chapter 296-842, WAC.
- Ensure your COVID-19 hazard assessment identifies all Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). See Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)(wa.gov)
- For healthcare work, follow CDC recommendations when working near someone with known or suspected COVID-19. [See Standard Precautions in Healthcare Settings (wa.gov).]
- Address COVID-19 hazards in the company’s Accident Prevention Program, or equivalent safety program. See Safety & Health Core Rules, Accident Prevention Program Chapter 296-800 WAC.
- Keep employees who have tested positive or are symptomatic for COVID-19 out of the workplace for at least five days or implement effective controls.
- Provide hand washing facilities and supplies. Regularly clean and sanitize surfaces.
- Educate employees about COVID-19 prevention in the language they understand best.
- Record work-related COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and fatalities, on the OSHA 300 log.
- Report work-related COVID-19 hospitalizations and fatalities to DOSH.
Guidance for Preventing COVID-19 Spread in the Workplace
The level of COVID-19 hazards may change along with the number of cases. Employers will need to reassess the hazard to their employees and determine if additional precautions are needed. The following prevention measures may assist employers in managing COVID 19 in their workplaces:
- Support vaccinations for employees. Updated vaccinations continue to significantly reduce the risk for severe illness.
- If employees must return within 10 days from becoming sick, they should wear a well-fitting mask at work, such as an N95.
- Select and provide more protective masks or respirators, when feasible. A properly fitting, NIOSH-approved respirator provides the most protection. This is especially important for those at increased risk for severe disease and for employees in high-risk exposure situations.
- Physically distance employees from others, especially when the workforce is unvaccinated or when ventilation is poor. Use physical barriers like sneeze guards or increase the physical distance people for face-to-face interactions.
- Maximize fresh air and air filtration settings on HVAC systems, and improve filtration in areas with poor ventilation (for example, use portable air cleaners with HEPA filters).
- When possible, use signage, scheduling practices, or other means to encourage sick or symptomatic customers, visitors, and other non-employees to make alternate arrangements for services (e.g., ask for home delivery or postponing their visit) so they don’t need to enter the workplace.
Employees have a right to safe and healthy work environment. The Revised Code of Washington (RCW) Chapter 49.17 prohibits employers from engaging in safety discrimination against employees. See Discrimination in the Workplace (wa.gov) for more information.
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