COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Over seventy percent of Washington adults are vaccinated against COVID-19. Fewer workplace requirements remain in place, but employers must still assess workplace hazards, including COVID-19, as part of the ongoing requirement to provide a safe and healthy workplace. Where appropriate, employers must also take additional steps to protect unvaccinated employees.

Use the information and resources on this page to help keep everyone safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have other specific questions on how you can maintain a safe and healthy workplace, contact a DOSH consultant near you.

Workplace Discrimination

It is against the law for any employer to take any adverse action such as firing or threats against a worker for exercising safety and health rights such as raising safety and health concerns to their employer, participating in union activities concerning safety and health matters, filing a safety and health complaint or participating in a DOSH investigation. Workers have 30 days to file their complaint with L&I DOSH and/or with Federal OSHA.

General Information Masks and respiratory protection

General Guidance on Masks and Face Coverings

  • In general, employees in all industries must wear a cloth face covering (or more protective mask, when required by L&I or the employer), regardless of vaccination status when working indoors in areas generally accessible to the public.
  • Employers must post signage at a prominent location at each entry that informs customers of the face-covering requirement. Employers should remind customers of the requirement if they enter unmasked and have policies for accommodating customers who cannot wear masks.
  • Employers must provide cloth face coverings or something more protective for employees, free of charge, when use of a mask is required.
  • Employers may still require or encourage mask use when not required by L&I.
  • Employees have the right, by law, to voluntarily wear a mask or other protective equipment, when it’s not required, as long as it doesn’t create a safety or security issues.
  • Which Mask for Which Task (F414-168-000)
  • Understanding the Difference Between Surgical Masks and N95 (CDC)
  • Washington Coronavirus Hazard Considerations for Employers (except COVID-19 care in hospitals & clinics): Face coverings, masks, and respirator choices. Updated July 7, 2021, to cover vaccinated worker status.

Respirator Program Resources

Fit Testing

Industry- and Topic-Specific Resources

Agriculture

Cleanup and Sanitization

      Dentistry

            Health Care

              Long Term Care Facilities

                  Schools

                    Working from home/Telecommuting

                    Requirements & Policies

                    Emergency Rule - Prohibited business activities and compliance with conditions for operations.

                    L&I adopted an emergency rule effective on May 26, 2020, and updated that emergency rule most recently on July 6, 2021: WAC 296-800-14035 - 2019 Novel coronavirus prohibited business activities and compliance with conditions for operations.

                    Under the emergency rule:

                    • Employers must not allow employees to perform work where a business activity is prohibited by an emergency proclamation.
                    • Employers must comply with all conditions for operation required by emergency proclamation, including Safe Start phased reopening requirements for all business and any industry specific requirements.

                    Temporary Worker Housing Emergency Rule

                    L&I has adopted Additional requirements to protect occupants in temporary worker housing from 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) exposure (WAC 296-307-16102). This emergency rule supersedes the May 7, 2021, emergency rule as conditions have changed due to the updated guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding mask use and physical distancing for fully vaccinated individuals. These emergency rules are effective May 28, 2021 through September 25, 2021.

                    Some of the requirements in the emergency rule include:

                    • Educate occupants in a language or languages understood by the occupants on COVID-19;
                    • Provide occupants cloth face coverings;
                    • Ensure physical distancing of occupants when at housing sites, which includes all cooking, eating, bathing, washing, recreational, and sleeping facilities;
                    • Ensure frequent cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces;
                    • Identify and isolate occupants with suspect and confirmed positive cases; and
                    • Submit to the Department of Health a revised temporary worker housing management plan that demonstrates how the operator will comply with the emergency rule requirements.

                    DOSH Directives

                    These policies provide guidelines to L&I staff when enforcing WACs (Washington Administrative Codes).

                    Washington Administrative Code (WAC) Rules

                    Accident Prevention Program (APP)

                    Airborne Contaminants

                    Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

                    Respirators/Respiratory Protection