Labor & Industries has announced citations against 20 businesses since July and fines against nine for not enforcing mask requirements to protect customers and employees from coronavirus infections. It is one of the state agencies responsible for checking on employer compliance with state safety requirements. The fines reported range from $900 to $7,500 per business.
It’s important that retailers are following Governor Inslee’s requirements, as L&I reports that it has received more than 1,300 complaints in October regarding businesses allegedly not enforcing mask rules with their customers and employees. The volume of complaints has tripled in the week following the Governor’s latest round of business closures including gyms and bowling centers and the banning of indoor dining in restaurants. L&I also says it is taking complaints about businesses for allegedly ignoring requirements to close.
In the vast majority of contacts, businesses have agreed to follow state requirements without L&I taking formal action. Complaints by employees go to L&I’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health for evaluation. The businesses face the possibility of inspection without prior notice. As businesses struggle to stay afloat, don’t let one fine be the reason that your business closes permanently.
In a related matter, the state has determined that no employer may operate unless it has notified its local health jurisdiction with 24 hours if the employer suspects COVID-19 is spreading in the workplace, or if the employer is aware of two or more employees who develop confirmed or suspected COVID-19 within a 14-day period. Read the Governor’s proclamation here.
For the latest COVID requirements click here.