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State COVID emergency expires, workplace safety protocols still in place



Washington state’s COVID-19 emergency order imposed by Gov. Jay Inslee during the pandemic ended Monday, and the state Department of Labor and Industries released a statement saying “employers must continue to take precautions to prevent the spread of the virus.”

Among the general safety requirements and guidelines that remain: each employer must assess their specific workplace for COVID-19 hazards and take steps to prevent employee exposure based on that assessment; workers who have tested positive for covid-19 should be kept away from the workplace for at least five days; and healthcare workers and others who provide care to or work near someone known or suspected to have covid-1

9 should wear appropriate, fit-tested and respirators that meet federal standards, according to the department.

The department also said rules in place under the state’s Health Emergency Labor Standards Act remain in effect as long as there is a national COVID emergency. The law prevents employers from retaliating against high-risk employees who seek accommodation from exposure and requires employers to notify their employees when exposure to covid-19 occurs and to report outbreaks to L&I at all companies with more than 50 employees.


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