Sep 17, 2020Emergency Temporary Worker Housing Rule enacted in Washington state
On Sept. 10, Washington state announced a new Emergency Temporary Worker Housing (TWH) Rule, which expires on Jan. 8, and proposed a new 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.