Sep 17, 2020Washington state enacts Emergency Temporary Worker Housing Rule
On Sept. 10, Washington state announced a new Emergency Temporary Worker Housing (TWH) Rule, which expires on Jan. 8, and proposed anew permanent rule, which may be issued next spring if needed.
The new rule emphasizes early detection and care. If a worker is sick with any COVID-19 symptoms, the temporary worker housing operator must transport the worker for a medical evaluation. The Department of Labor and Industries has confirmed there will be no charge to employer workers’ comp accounts for COVID-19 treatment, regardless of whether it is ultimately determined that the exposure is work related.
For employers with greater than 500 workers, Washington state has established a fund to reimburse employers for required payments when a worker misses work due to COVID-19 symptoms/illness. Employers must submit an initial application by Sept. 18.
Revised, emergency rules adopted regarding temporary farmworker housing will continue to help increase occupant safety and reduce the spread of COVID-19. The rules detail specific steps required at farms where temporary workers live in licensed temporary housing facilities.
The revised, emergency rules, a joint effort between the state departments of Labor & Industries (L&I) and Health, took effect Sept. 10. They spell out several required steps to increase physical distancing, improve cleaning and sanitizing, and reduce the chance of a large outbreak or spreading of coronavirus related to temporary worker housing at farms.
- Revised Emergency Rule for Temporary Worker Housing (PDF)
- Guidance for Temporary Worker Housing (PDF)
Revised Camp Management Plan Required for Temporary Worker Housing
Additional requirements have been adopted to protect occupants in Temporary Worker Housing (TWH) from COVID-19 exposure.
- Effective date of revised emergency rules: Sept. 10, 2020.
- Any revisions to revised camp management plans must be submitted as soon as possible to DOH.
- Revised Rule Expiration Date: Jan. 8, 2021
The operator must revise/amend the facility’s written TWH camp management plan to include implementation of the requirements in WAC 246-358-002, as applicable. The revised/amended plan is to assure the operator/facility is taking the required steps to protect occupants from COVID-19 hazards.
- The plan must identify a single point of contact at the TWH for COVID-19 related issues.
- The operator must share the plan with all occupants on the first day the plan is operational or the first day the occupant arrives at the TWH.
- The operator must designate a person that will ensure all occupants are aware of all aspects of the plan and be available to answer questions.
Plans (new or revised) can be submitted by email to: [email protected] or by mail: Washington State Department of Health, Housing Programs, PO Box 47824, Olympia, WA 98504.