Vigilant Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law, HR, safety & workers' comp

Mar 24, 2020

WASHINGTON: State recommends screening employees and visitors

COVID-19Safety and Health 

The Washington Department of Health (DOH) recently released guidance recommending that all employers in the state conduct daily health screening of employees and visitors for symptoms of COVID-19 (coronavirus). The screening protocol suggests asking all employees and visitors a series of five specific “yes” or “no” questions before entering the premises or starting their shift about whether the person is experiencing a new fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, and/or muscle aches that can’t be attributed to other health conditions. If the answer is “yes” to any of the questions, DOH suggests that the screener should follow the company’s emergency protocol.

Tips: We recommend that you designate screeners to ask the five questions before individuals start working their shift. Depending on the size of your workforce, you may need to have multiple screeners. Make sure you have protections in place for the screeners; they should stand at least six feet away from the people they’re interviewing. Have a plan of how you’ll respond to a “yes” to one or more of the questions. If employees have COVID-19 symptoms, they should stay at home until (1) at least 72 hours pass with no fever, without using fever-reducing medication; (2) other symptoms have improved; and (3) at least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared. We recommend that you follow the CDC’s “What To Do If You Are Sick” guidance and review the DOH’s Workplace and Employer Resources and Recommendations.

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.