News Release

L&I issues hazard alert to help employers make workplaces safer during coronavirus outbreak

March 13, 2020
#20-006

TUMWATER – At the direction of Gov. Jay Inslee, the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) has issued a hazard alert to provide guidance to employers to help them keep workers safe during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

“L&I is committed to working with partners to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and Gov. Inslee’s direction to issue this alert will help guide employers and workers response to the outbreak,” said L&I Director Joel Sacks.

Workplaces are a likely place for people to be exposed to coronavirus. This makes employers frontline partners in the effort to contain the spread outbreak and keep workers and our communities safe and informed.

The L&I hazard alert provides guidance and links to resources on keeping workers as safe as possible from exposure, and it offers some strategies. Those strategies could include things like social distancing; encouraging sick employees to stay home; promoting frequent hand washing along with adequate supplies to support that; and other important steps.

"Employers are going to play a significant role in containing the spread of this disease," said Anne Soiza, assistant director in charge of L&I’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH). "This hazard alert, information available on our website, from Federal OSHA, the CDC, and Washington’s Department of Health, can help keep workers and our communities safe."

The nature of the outbreak changes daily, and it’s important for the public and employers to stay on top of the most current information. L&I has launched a COVID-19 webpage with links to helpful information, and we support the Federal OSHA workplace guidance publication to help employers prepare and deal with the outbreak. The state Employment Security Department coronavirus page has additional online information for businesses and workers.

The Washington State Department of Health webpage is the best source of current information. Of course, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provides extensive information about the virus.

Information is the best resource to keep workers and the public as safe as possible. L&I is urging employers to stay as informed as possible, and to take all measures necessary to keep Washington workers safe and healthy.

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For media information:

Frank AmeduriL&I Public Affairs, 360-972-4868.

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