PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
[Filed September 10, 2020, 11:36 a.m.]
Subject of Possible Rule Making: Chapter 246-358 WAC, Temporary worker housing, the department of health (DOH) in conjunction with the department of labor and industries (L&I) regarding chapter amendments to further protect occupants in temporary worker housing and cherry harvest camps.
Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: Chapters 70.114A
Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: In February 2020 Governor Inslee proclaimed a State of Emergency in Washington state as a result of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in the United States. The virus was confirmed to spread person-to-person. Under the initial March 23, 2020, proclamation 20-25, Stay Home, Stay Healthy, among other things, the governor enacted various forms of social and physical distancing requirements. This was followed by proclamation amendments adjusting the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order transitioning to a phased-in approach to reopening Washington state, referred to as "Safe Start Washington."
DOH (department) in conjunction with L&I have responded to the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic by adopting emergency rules to protect occupants from COVID-19 hazards in licensed temporary worker housing (TWH). The governor has also issued Proclamation 20-57 and 20-57.1 addressing workplace and transportation requirements for COVID-19 specific to the agriculture industry.
Stakeholder feedback and peer reviewed research indicate that the pandemic will continue into 2021 and possibly longer and that existing permanent rules for temporary worker housing jointly adopted by the department and L&I may need revision to address hazards from COVID-19 or other outbreaks of airborne infectious diseases.
The department and L&I will consider such topics as: (1) Housing ventilation requirements; (2) isolation requirements during outbreaks; (3) requirements for group shelters; and (4) overall clarification throughout the chapter as necessary. Some amendments made as part of the emergency rules will be considered for permanent rule making.
Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: L&I and the United States Department of Labor. Coordination with these agencies will occur as these agencies also regulate TWH conditions.
Process for Developing New Rule: Collaborative.
Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting David Gifford, P.O. Box 47824, Olympia, WA 98504-7824, phone 360-236-3074, TTY 711, email email@example.com.
Additional comments: The department will notify stakeholders and interested parties via GovDelivery notices, website postings, and other forms of communication typically used within the industry of stakeholder meetings, proposed changes, the public hearing and open public comments periods. Coordination with [will] be done with L&I. For more information or to be included on an interested parties list contact Dave Gifford.
September 10, 2020
Chief of Staff
for John Wiesman, DrPH, MPH