This information is current as of March 29, 2024

Basic COVID-19 Guidance for All Workplaces

COVID-19 remains a recognized respiratory hazard in the workplace. DOSH recommends that employers continue to assess their workers’ exposure risk and take precautions to prevent exposure.

Guidance for Preventing COVID-19 Spread in the Workplace

  • DOSH recommends that employers continue to reassess the hazard to their employees and determine additional precautions to prevent the spread. The following prevention measures may assist employers in managing COVID-19 in their workplaces.
  • DOSH recommends keeping employees with symptoms of COVID-19 out of the workplace (or working in an isolated location) until:
    • They have gone 24 hours with their symptoms getting better overall. and
    • Have gone 24 hours without a fever and without taking fever reducing medications (e.g., acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin).
  • DOSH recommends, when ill employees return to the workplace, implement additional precautions such as increased ventilation, physical distancing, and testing.
  • DOSH recommends workers that have known or suspected COVID at the workplace wear a well-fitting respirator for 10 days following onset of symptoms or positive test. DOSH also recommends having effective controls in place to prevent transmission.
  • DOSH recommends vaccinations for employees including providing employees with paid time off to receive vaccines and recover from any side effects. Updated vaccinations continue to significantly reduce the risk for severe illness.
  • For workers with increased risk for severe disease and workers with exposures to High Exposure Risk Activities (HERPA), like aerosol generating procedures, may need an increased level of respiratory protection. DOSH recommends selecting, providing, maintaining, and using only NIOSH approved respirators with appropriate filters like N95 or P100.
  • DOSH recommends physical distance between employees and other people like customers for areas with poor ventilation or with unvaccinated people increase the distance between people or use barriers like sneeze guards for face-to-face interactions.
  • DOSH recommends developing flexible leave and telework policies to support workers who are ill but well enough to work or to take care of sick family members. For information on sick leave requirements refer to L&I’s Paid Sick Leave Policy page.
  • DOSH recommends maximizing 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). For more information on ventilation see COVID-19 Fact Sheet: Airflow Patterns Matter - ACGIH and Improving Ventilation In Buildings | CDC .
  • DOSH recommends using 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 enter the workplace.
  • DOSH recommends adopting flexible cancellation or refund policies for customers who are sick.
  • Employees have a right to a safe and healthy work environment. The Revised Code of Washington (RCW) Chapter 49.17 prohibits employers from retaliating against employees. See Discrimination in the Workplace for more information.