On August 28, 2020, Washington Governor Jay Inslee released updated interpretative guidance accompanying the current COVID-19 safety requirements for agriculture on which we recently reported. Washington’s employers in the agriculture industry have endured a steady stream of additional requirements and changes around COVID-19 (coronavirus) safety. The good news is the new interpretive guidance is fairly insignificant. The only new items are a definition for licensed health care professionals (because employers who are isolating a sick individual in employer-provided housing must provide such a professional to monitor the individual’s health), and clarification that nothing in the rules prevents an employee from filing a workers’ compensation claim. Unchanged in the interpretive guidance are sections dealing with face coverings (workers may bring their own if the face coverings meet minimum requirements, but employers must still provide them if needed), handwashing stations (clarifying that the requirements only apply to hand-labor operations in the field and that handwashing stations don’t need to be plumbed or heated), and work vehicles used by only one person (they don’t need to be disinfected unless another person uses them).
Tips: Stay focused on the current requirements and ensure that exposure control plans incorporate all of the mandates. If you have questions about complying with any COVID-19 safety measures, reach out to your Vigilant safety professional.