New rules about isolated workers apply to some retail employees

Jan 21, 2021
Written by wpengine

A new rule on isolated worker panic buttons starts this month for retailers. These devices, similar to a medic alert, summon help when needed from other workers or management.

The rule primarily applies to employees in the hospitality industry. However, retail members in the janitorial business or employees who spend a majority of their working hours alone have to be provided a panic button at no cost to the employee.

Retail stock workers whose primary responsibility involves working alone also need to have such a device provided to them.

In addition, employers must adopt sexual harassment policies, train managers in sexual harassment prevention, and provide employees with a list of resources including contacts for advocacy groups.

Additional details can be found in “Questions and Answers: Panic Buttons: Guidance for Employers in the Hospitality Industry.” This provides guidance for affected businesses covered by the new panic button provision in RCW 49.60.515 (1)(d). Additional background is available here and here.

WR employs Rick Means as Director of Safety & Education who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198, Ext. 118 or [email protected]