As of June 11, 2021, Governor Jay Inslee has removed Washington’s industry-specific COVID-19 (coronavirus) requirements for certain industries, including manufacturing, construction, outdoor maintenance, and several recreation industries. Employers in these industries are now only required to follow the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) general COVID-19 workplace safety requirements. L&I’s general requirements were recently updated to reflect the latest changes in face mask guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Washington Department of Health. Although this is a significant sign of progress for employers in these industries, the impact of the changes on workplace health and safety requirements is minimal. For example:
Manufacturers no longer have specific ventilation system requirements, although the previous ventilation guidance is still recommended;
You’re no longer required to monitor employees’ temperatures prior to entering the workplace, but it’s still encouraged. Keep in mind, you’re still required to perform a health screening prior to entrance, including asking questions about COVID-19 exposure and symptoms; and
Face masks and physical distancing are no longer required for employees who are fully vaccinated (as we previously reported).
According to the updated L&I workplace requirements, all businesses must post signs at each entry to inform customers or visitors that face masks are still required for those who aren’t fully vaccinated. Businesses are allowed to assume that anyone entering without a face mask is fully vaccinated, and aren’t required to ask about their vaccination status. Businesses also have the option of inquiring about vaccination status or continuing to require everyone entering to wear a mask.
Tips: Consider updating your COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan and any related workplace policies to reflect any of these changes you’re comfortable making in your Washington facilities, and be sure to communicate changes to your employees. See our revised Model Policy, Washington Manufacturing Facility COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan, and contact your Vigilant safety professional for assistance.