Temporary Worker Housing Rule Revisions

Emergency (CR-103E) - Temporary Worker Housing

Brief Description: Chapter 296-307 WAC, Temporary worker housing. The Department of Health (DOH) in conjunction with the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) continue to respond to the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. DOH and L&I adopted revisions to the initial emergency rule for temporary worker housing. DOH and L&I filed the initial emergency rules on May 13, 2020. As the pandemic continues to impact residents of Washington state and temporary worker housing occupants, and in response to the Governor's guidance, DOH and L&I filed subsequent emergency rules through January 14, 2023 to protect occupants from COVID-19 hazards in licensed temporary worker housing.

These new, revised emergency rules took effect September 16, 2022.

Changes to this emergency rule include:

  • Clearer definitions of “confirmed cases” as “cases testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 with a viral test,” and requiring isolation in accordance with DOH guidance or Local Health Officer rules.
  • Changes to education regarding cleaning/disinfection of frequently touched items, and steps to improve ventilation.

This emergency rule continues the requirements under the previous emergency rules that operators:

  • Educate occupants in a language or languages understood by the occupants on COVID-19;
  • Provide occupants masks/face coverings;
  • Ensure the ventilation requirements are met, including specific requirements for mechanical ventilation systems or that windows are open in buildings without mechanical ventilation;
  • Identify and isolate occupants with suspect and confirmed positive cases;
  • Ensure isolation requirements are met including medical monitoring by a licensed health care provider;
  • Report to L&I Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) within 24 hours whenever symptomatic or COVID-19 positive workers are placed in isolation; and
  • Ensure any changes made to the revised temporary worker housing management plan are submitted to DOH.
  • Mask/Face coverings are required in accordance with DOH guidelines or LNI Safety Rules.

This emergency rule continues the requirements under the previous emergency rules that operators:

  • Educate occupants in a language or languages understood by the occupants on COVID-19;
  • Provide occupants masks/face coverings;
  • Ensure the ventilation requirements are met, including specific requirements for mechanical ventilation systems or that windows are open in buildings without mechanical ventilation;
  • Identify and isolate occupants with suspect and confirmed positive cases;
  • Ensure isolation requirements are met including medical monitoring by a licensed health care provider;
  • Report to L&I Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) within 24 hours whenever symptomatic or COVID-19 positive workers are placed in isolation; and
  • Ensure any changes made to the revised temporary worker housing management plan are submitted to DOH.

The links below provide additional information about this rulemaking:

CR-103E Emergency Adoption (PDF)

Final Adoption Language (PDF)

Rules in Progress

On September 10, 2020, the Department of Health (DOH), in conjunction with the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I), filed the initial Preproposal Statement of Inquiry (CR-101) to amend the Chapter 246-358 WAC (and Chapter 296-307 WAC), Temporary Worker Housing regarding chapter amendments to further protect occupants in temporary worker housing and cherry harvest camps.

Revised Emergency Rule

Revised emergency rules adopted regarding temporary farmworker housing will continue to help increase occupant safety and reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). The rules detail specific steps required at farms where temporary workers live in licensed housing facilities.

The revised emergency rules a joint effort between the state departments of Labor & Industries (L&I) and Health, take effect on September 16, 2022. Ninth edition changes to the rule were limited to making the rule consistent with Department of Health language for “individuals who test positive for SARS-CoV-2 with a viral test.”

Revised Emergency Rule for Temporary Worker Housing (PDF)

Guidance for Temporary Worker Housing (PDF)

Revised Camp Management Plan Required for Temporary Worker Housing

Revised Camp Management Plan Checklist (Word)

Additional requirements have been adopted to protect occupants in Temporary Worker Housing (TWH) from COVID-19 exposure.

  • Effective Date of revised emergency rules: September 16, 2022
  • Any revisions to revised camp management plans must be submitted as soon as possible to DOH.
  • Revised Rule Expiration Date: January 14, 2022

Contacts

For more information about the rule making, see the Preproposal Statement of Inquiry CR-101 (PDF) or contact Peter Beaton, Rules Coordinator, at 360-236-4031 or Juan Gamez, Local Health Support Section Manager at 360-628-6620.