COVID-19 is a recognized serious hazard that employers must address. Keeping sick individuals out of the workplace is the most effective approach to prevent transmission of COVID-19.
Employers are required to do either of the following:
- Keep contagious individuals with COVID-19 out of the workplace1; OR
- Implement effective controls to mitigate the transmission hazard, such as establishing a full respiratory protection program, masking (of the contagious individual), physical distancing, barriers, ventilation, or other effective controls.2
1A 10-day isolation is safest as many individuals remain contagious beyond 5 days from first symptom onset or positive test. Other employees may need to wear fit-tested respirators as part of a full respiratory protection program, as well as other effective controls, if employees contagious with COVID-19 are present in any common (shared) workplaces during days 0-10.
2Individuals should be excluded from common (shared) workplaces during days 0-5 after symptom onset or positive test. For days 6-10 or beyond following symptom onset or a positive test, continuing exclusion from common workplaces is safest, but if that is not possible, ensuring the contagious individual wears a mask (source control) and testing on days 6-10 after can be effective means for mitigating the COVID-19 transmission hazard, when done according to the Washington State Department of Health guidance, What to do if you test positive.
- Contact EyeOnSafety@Lni.wa.gov for general COVID-19 questions.
- Contact the DOSH Consultation Program for tailored assistance with preventing COVID-19 transmission in your workplace.
- Employees have the right to file a complaint with L&I DOSH if they have concerns about their safety and health at work.
- Local Health Jurisdictions (LHJs) also have enforcement authority related to COVID-19 isolation under Washington State statutes RCW 70.05.070 and WAC 246-110-020. Check with your LHJ for more information.