CORRECTED LINKS - Emergency Rule Adoption - WAC 296-62-600

Trouble viewing this email? View it in your browser.

washington state department of labor and industries - safety and health

Emergency Rule Adoption

Chapter 296-62 WAC, General Occupational Health Standards

WAC 296-62-600

Public Health Emergency Reporting and Notification Requirements for Infectious and Contagious Disease

NOTE This corrected bulletin includes working links to the CR-103 emergency rule filing order and the emergency rule language.

The Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) is responding to the 2021 passage of Substitute Senate Bill 5254 (SSB 5254) regarding voluntary use of personal protective equipment (PPE) during a state of emergency, and Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5115 (ESSB 5115), also known as the Health Emergency Labor Standards Act (HELSA), This rulemaking creates new sections of WAC regarding public health emergency related reporting and notification requirements for infectious and contagious disease.

The emergency rule includes requirements for when there is a public health emergency for an infectious or contagious disease and as such, the requirements are applicable to COVID-19.

Under the emergency rule:

  • Employers with 50 or more covered employees at a workplace or worksite are required to report infectious or contagious disease outbreaks of 10 or more employees to L&I;
  • Definitions for Covered Employee, Public Health Emergency, Worksite or Workplace and Test- confirmed are included;
  • Employees are not required to disclose any medical condition or diagnosis to their employer;
  • Employers, except for certain healthcare employers, are required to notify employees in writing of potential exposures within one business day; and
  • Employees and contractors must be permitted to voluntarily use personal protective equipment.

The HELSA was signed by Governor Inslee on May 11, 2021 and is currently enforceable under RCW 49.17.  Senate Bill 5254 gives employees the voluntary option to protect themselves from transmission of COVID-19 by use of employer provided PPE in circumstances where the PPE does not pose a safety or security issue for the employer.  COVID-19 continues to be recognized as a very serious workplace hazard and until permanent rulemaking for infectious and contagious diseases is adopted, this temporary measure will help to reduce the transmission of this disease in the workplace.

L&I filed a Preproposal Statement of Inquiry (CR-101) on May 13, 2021, WSR 21-11-051, regarding permanent amendments to existing permanent rules to address hazards from COVID-19 or other outbreaks of infectious or contagious diseases.  Some amendments made as part of the emergency rule will be considered for permanent rulemaking.

The links below provide additional information about this rulemaking:

CR-103E Emergency Adoption

WSR 21-17-051

Adoption Language

WAC 296-62-600  through WAC 296-62-60103


Please contact John Stebbins or Dr. Nicholas Reul with any technical questions regarding this rulemaking project.

Please contact Carmyn Shute with any questions about this rulemaking project.