Washington workplace health and safety authorities have extended emergency rules for operating on-farm worker housing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The new regulations leave in place a ban on using bunk beds, except for workers who live, travel and work together in cohorts, and masks remain a requirement.

Regulators did make a few changes in light of vaccinations, namely allowing workers who have been vaccinated to begin gathering in common areas, such as lunchrooms, and to travel in the same vehicles, according to a May 7 news release from the state Department of Labor and Industries.

Also, the medical monitoring requirement for those isolating after COVID-19 exposure was relaxed to require only one in-person or telehealth visit from a provider, down from two in-person visits per day. Also, all unvaccinated workers must now be quarantined and housed separately when exposed to COVID-19, not only those living in group shelters.

This is third time emergency housing rules have been extended due to the pandemic. The previous set of rules expired May 8. 

To read the entire emergency rule, visit: https://www.lni.wa.gov/rulemaking-activity/AO21-11/2111CR103EAdoption.pdf?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery.

by Ross Courtney