State laws Workplace exposures

Washington L&I updates COVID-19 workplace rules, guidance

Photo: Bill Oxford/iStockphoto

Tumwater, WA — Fully vaccinated workers are not required to wear a face covering under updated COVID-19 workplace protection rules and guidance issued by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries on June 30.

Masks or respirators are still required for all workers in health care facilities, public transportation, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and in locations where children are present or expected to be present (e.g., schools, child care facilities and day camps).

Before lifting mask requirements, employers must verify worker vaccination status and be able to show their process for verification. Other employer requirements: Provide handwashing facilities and supplies, notify workers in writing within one business day if a close contact tests positive for COVID-19, and report to L&I within 24 hours outbreaks of 10 or more employees at a worksite with more than 50 workers.

Additionally, employers are required to ensure unvaccinated workers wear masks indoors and continue physical distancing between unvaccinated employees, especially when working with the public or in poorly ventilated indoor areas.


Among Washington L&I’s guidance to protect unvaccinated workers:

  • Provide a more protective mask than a cloth facial covering for workers who aren’t able to maintain physical distancing.
  • Make sure workers in crowded outdoor settings such as sporting events, parades and concerts wear masks.
  • Maximize fresh airflow and air filtration settings on heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems, along with adding filtration in poorly ventilated areas.

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