Phase 2: The professional services establishments must adopt a written procedure for professional services activity that is at least as strict as the Phase 2 safety requirements below.
A professional service provider is defined as an office-based occupation that typically serves a client base. This includes but is not limited to: accountants, architects, attorneys, engineers, financial advisors, information technologists, insurance agents, tax preparers, and other professional service occupations. These employer- owners may contract with employee-service providers to provide these professional services. These professional service providers must be able to comply with the following guidelines before operating.
Safety and Health Requirements
All professional service establishments have a general obligation to keep a safe and healthy facility in accordance with state and federal law, and comply with the following COVID-19 worksite-specific safety practices, as outlined in Governor Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” Proclamation 20-25, and in accordance with the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries General Requirements and Prevention Ideas for Workplaces and the Washington State Department of Health Workplace and Employer Resources & Recommendations at https://www.doh.wa.gov/Coronavirus/workplace. All businesses are required to post signage at the entrance to their business to strongly encourage their customers to use cloth face coverings when in store with their staff.
They must specifically ensure operations follow the main L&I COVID-19 requirements to protect workers, including:
Employer-owners must specifically ensure operations follow the main L&I COVID-19 requirements to protect employee-service providers and clients:
- Educate employee-service providers in the language they understand best about coronavirus, how to prevent transmission and the owner’s COVID-19 policies.
- Maintain minimum six-foot separation between employee-service providers and clients in all interactions at all times. When strict physical distancing is not feasible for a specific task, other prevention measures are required, such as use of barriers, minimization of service providers or clients in narrow, enclosed areas and waiting rooms, staggered breaks, and work shift starts.
- Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, goggles, face shields and face masks as appropriate or required to employees for the activity being performed. Require employee-service providers to have personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, gowns, capes, goggles, face shields and facemasks as appropriate or required for the activity being performed. Cloth facial coverings must be worn by every individual not working alone at the location unless their exposure dictates a higher level of protection under Department of Labor & Industries safety and health rules and guidance. Refer to Coronavirus Facial Covering and Mask Requirements for additional details. A cloth facial covering is described in the Department of Health guidance, https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/ClothFacemasks.pdf.
- Ensure frequent and adequate hand washing with adequate maintenance of supplies. Use single use disposable gloves, where safe and applicable, to prevent transmission on tools and items that are shared, and discard after a single use.
- Establish a housekeeping schedule that includes frequent cleaning and sanitizing with a particular emphasis on commonly touched surfaces.
- Screen employee-service providers for signs/symptoms of COVID-19 at start of shift. Make sure sick employee-service providers stay home or immediately go home if they feel or appear sick. Cordon off any areas where an employee-service provider with probable or confirmed COVID-19 illness worked, touched surfaces, etc., until the area and equipment is cleaned and disinfected. Follow the cleaning guidelines set by the CDC to deep clean and disinfect.
A site-specific COVID-19 Supervisor shall be designated by the employer-owner at each business to monitor the health of employee-service providers and enforce the COVID-19 safety plan.
An employee-service provider may refuse to perform unsafe work, including hazards created by COVID-19. And, it is unlawful for the employer-owner to take adverse action against an employee-service provider who has engaged in safety-protected activities under the law if their work refusal meets certain requirements.
Employee-service providers who choose to remove themselves from a location because they do not believe it is safe to work due to the risk of COVID-19 exposure may have access to certain leave or unemployment benefits. Employer-owners must provide high-risk individuals covered by Proclamation 20-46 with their choice of access to available employer-granted accrued leave or unemployment benefits if an alternative work arrangement is not feasible. Other employee-service providers may have access to expanded family and medical leave included in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, access to use unemployment benefits, to available employer-granted accrued leave depending on the circumstances.
All professional service businesses are required to comply with the following COVID-19 facility-specific safety practices:
Below is a list of additional practices for employer-owners and employee-personal service providers to follow in order to provide a safe back to work environment for themselves and clients.
- Prior to reopening, all professional service businesses are required to develop and post at each location a comprehensive COVID-19 exposure control, mitigation and recovery plan. The plan must include policies regarding the following control measures: PPE utilization; on-location physical distancing; hygiene; sanitation; symptom monitoring; incident reporting; location disinfection procedures; COVID-19 safety training; exposure response procedures and a post-exposure incident project-wide recovery plan. A copy of the plan must be available at the location and available for inspection by state and local authorities. Failure to meet posting requirements will result in sanctions, including the location being shut down.
- COVID-19 safety information and requirements, such as CDC, DOH, OSHA posters and the employer-owner written policies for COVID-19, shall be visibly posted at each location.
- Service providers must follow their specific association standards to maintain health standards for owners, service providers and clients.
- Authorized access to the business should primarily be through the front door.
- Minimize the number of persons waiting in the waiting area.
- Arrange furniture to encourage social distancing, with at least six feet between individual seats.
- Identify and control “choke points” and “high-risk areas” at locations where employees or clients may typically congregate so that social distancing is always maintained. Consider relocating from small areas into larger rooms to accommodate more room for social distancing.
- Ensure frequent and adequate hand washing with adequate maintenance of supplies. Use single use disposable gloves, where safe and applicable, to prevent transmission on equipment and items that are shared, and discard after a single use.
- Establish a housekeeping schedule that includes frequent cleaning and sanitizing with a particular emphasis on commonly touched surfaces.
- Keep guest occupancy at 50% of maximum building occupancy or lower, with the exception of one to one service in a fully enclosed service room.
- Tissues and trash cans must be made available throughout the worksite.
- Restrict access where unauthorized visitors may enter, most specifically “back of the house” doors and entry points.
- The employer must increase frequency of HVAC system filter changing.
- Ensure restrooms are frequently cleaned and appropriately disinfected throughout the day.
- Face shields or sneeze guards should be placed throughout the worksite at all places of potential interaction between service providers and clients.
- Post a notice for walk-up guests regarding access to the facility. The notice should include the phone number that the guest should call to determine availability of services. If service is available at the time, the walk-up guest would be allowed access, but the guest will need to answer questions regarding COVID- 19 exposure and current health.
- Gatherings of any size must be prevented by taking breaks, performing activities and lunch in shifts. Any time two or more persons must meet, ensure minimum 6-feet of separation.
- No more than one person per vehicle for any necessary travel that aren’t part of the same household.
- Soap and running water shall be abundantly provided at all locations for frequent handwashing. Employees should be encouraged to leave their workstations to wash their hands regularly, before and after all client interactions, before and after going to the bathroom, before and after eating and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing their nose.
- Hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol must be available and distributed throughout the facility. Increase the number of hand sanitizing stations throughout the facility. Ensure cleaning supplies are frequently replenished. Ensure supplies are available in company vehicles as well.
- Post, in areas visible to all employees and clients, required hygienic practices, including not to touch face with unwashed hands or with gloves; washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol; cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces such as workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, machines, shared tools, elevator control buttons, and doorknobs; covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing as well as other hygienic recommendations by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
- Frequently clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces at locations and in offices, such as shared tools, machines, vehicles and other equipment, handrails, doorknobs, and restrooms. Sanitation workers disinfecting these areas must be provided appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for these work tasks and trained on work expectations. If these areas cannot be cleaned and disinfected frequently, these locations shall be shut down until such measures can be achieved and maintained.
Sick Employee Plan:
- Screen all employee-service providers at the beginning of their day by asking them if they have a fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle aches or new loss of taste or smell.
- Ask employee-service provider to take their temperature at home prior to arriving at the business, or take their temperature when they arrive. Thermometers used at the business shall be ‘no touch’ or ‘no contact’ to the greatest extent possible. If a ‘no touch’ or ‘no contact’ thermometer is not available, the thermometer must be properly sanitized and disinfected between each use. Any employee-service provider with a temperature of 100.4°F or higher is considered to have a fever and must be sent home.
- Create policies which encourage employee-service providers to stay home or leave the location when experiencing symptoms or when they have been in close contact with a confirmed positive case. If they develop symptoms of acute respiratory illness, they must seek medical attention and inform their employer-owner.
- Have employee-service providers inform their supervisors if they have a sick household member at home diagnosed with COVID-19. If an employee-service provider has a household member sick with COVID-19, that employee-service provider must follow the isolation/quarantine requirements as established by the State Department of Health.
- Instruct employee-service providers to report to their employer-owner if they develop symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g., fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle aches, or new loss of taste or smell). If symptoms develop during a shift, the employee-service provider should immediately report such and be sent home. If symptoms develop while the employee-service provider is not working, the employee-service provider should not return to work until they have been evaluated by a healthcare provider.
- If an employee-service provider is confirmed to have COVID-19 infection, employer-owner should inform employee-service providers determined to have been in close contact of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The employer-owner should instruct fellow employee-service providers about how to proceed based on the CDC Public Health Recommendations for Community-Related Exposure.
- All on-site employee-service providers must be trained on the businesses’ policies, these requirements and all relevant sanitization/disinfection and social distancing protocols. Current and new employee-service providers must also be trained about COVID-19 and how to prevent its transmission. This can be accomplished through weekly safety meetings, where attendance is logged by the system, supervisor, human resources or COVID site supervisor.
All professional services businesses must meet and maintain all the requirements in this document, including providing materials, schedules and equipment required to comply.
All issues regarding worker safety and health are subject to enforcement action under L&I’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH).
- Employers can request COVID-19 prevention advice and help from L&I’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH).
- Employee Workplace safety and health complaints may be submitted to the L&I DOSH Safety Call Center: (1-800-423-7233) or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- General questions about how to comply with the agreement practices can be submitted to the state’s Business Response Center at https://app.smartsheet.com/b/form/2562f1caf5814c46a6bf163762263aa5.
- All other violations related to Proclamation 20-25 can be submitted at https://bit.ly/covid-compliance.