Vigilant Blog

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May 14, 2020

WASHINGTON: New manufacturing requirements released

COVID-19Safety and Health 

In a memo on May 12, 2020, Governor Jay Inslee announced a comprehensive list of Phase 2 – Manufacturing Facility COVID-19 Requirements for businesses located in counties where Phase 2 of the governor’s reopening plan is in effect. The requirements apply to all manufacturing in the state of Washington, with the exception of certain food packing, processing, and manufacturing and the non-routine assembly of items in a retail or office setting. Manufacturing that was deemed essential and allowed to operate prior to May 12 (“previously authorized”) will have to comply with the requirements by May 27. All non-essential manufacturing (“newly authorized”) may resume operations if the state or county is in Phase 2 and it can meet and maintain all requirements, including developing and posting a written COVID-19 (coronavirus) exposure control, mitigation, and recovery plan before beginning to work again. The plan must be at least as stringent as the state requirements. Some of the key requirements are listed below:Educate workers in the language they understand best about coronavirus, how to prevent transmission, and the employer’s COVID-19 policies.

  • Educate workers in the language they understand best about coronavirus, how to prevent transmission, and the employer’s COVID-19 policies.
  • Designate a site-specific COVID-19 Coordinator to monitor employee health and enforce the COVID-19 site safety plan.
  • Maintain a minimum six-foot separation between employees in all interactions at all times (e.g., communicating work orders, assisting with a task, and physical sign-offs) and apply other prevention measures when this isn’t feasible.
  • Stagger workdays, shifts, shift changes, breaks, and lunches to reduce the size of employee groups. Provide additional break seating, preferably outside.
  • Increase ventilation where feasible.
  • In addition to providing regularly mandated personal protective equipment (PPE), you must ensure every employee not working alone wears cloth face coverings unless their exposure dictates a higher level of protection under Washington Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) safety and health rules and guidance.
  • Frequently clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces (e.g., machines, vehicles, handrails, doorknobs, and portable toilets). Sanitize human-machine interfaces (e.g., keyboards and buttons), and standard tools (e.g., brooms, rakes, scrapers, and hand tools) in between users.
  • Screen all workers at the beginning of their shift by asking them if they have a fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle aches, or new loss of taste or smell.
  • Require employees to take their temperature prior to work or take their temperature at work (with a “no touch” thermometer if possible).

The document includes additional requirements related to ongoing workplace hygiene and specific actions when employees or their household members become ill. The Manufacturing Facility COVID-19 Requirements will be enforced by L&I.

Tips For Employers: If your manufacturing operation is in a Phase 2 county and newly authorized under Governor Inslee’s memo, closely review the Phase 2 – Manufacturing Facility COVID-19 Job Requirements and ensure that you comply with all of them—and can maintain them—prior to resuming operations. If you have ongoing manufacturing operations, make sure you comply with all requirements by May 27, 2020. Unsure of what phase your county is in? Check out the state’s Current Safe Start status map. For questions about the manufacturing requirements, contact L&I’s Business Response Center or reach out to your Vigilant safety professional.

This website presents general information in nontechnical language. This information is not legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific management decision, consult legal counsel.