The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an increase in the number of disinfection products used by UW departments. EH&S developed two new resources to assist custodial staff and others to safely use disinfectants to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- COVID-19 Enhanced Cleaning and Disinfection Protocols (Updated April 5, 2020)
The Enhanced Cleaning and Disinfection Protocols are provided to University units for prevention of the spread of COVID-19. In addition, University units are required to follow the Enhanced Cleaning and Disinfection Protocols when COVID-19 case is confirmed in the UW community.
- COVID-19 Chemical Disinfectant Safety Information (Updated May 15, 2020)
Provides safety information about EPA-registered disinfectants, such as potential health hazards and personal protective equipment recommendations, for commonly used disinfectants. Please note this list is not exhaustive, as there are a large number of disinfectants currently on the market. As new disinfectants are purchased and used by UW departments, EH&S will update this table. The safety information aligns with disinfectants in the EH&S COVID-19 Prevention: Enhanced Cleaning and Disinfection Protocols document.
Because alcohol-based hand sanitizers are highly flammable, the storage and dispensation within buildings are regulated by fire codes. Please follow these guidelines to ensure a safe and healthy environment.
Guidance from the University of Washington Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences Continuing Education Programs
Contact EH&S at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 206.543.7262 with questions about cleaning and disinfection procedures
The University of Washington’s COVID-19 Safety Training: Back to the Workplace includes information on safe work practices for all personnel. This course describes our roles, responsibilities, and steps for preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.
Note: COVID-19 Safety Training: Back to the Workplace must be completed by all University personnel before or upon returning to work on site at a University location. even if personnel have been performing critical work on site at a UW work location. University units/departments may provide their own training that covers the elements of the University’s COVID-19 Safety Training (e.g., medical centers). In addition to general COVID-19 safety training, units/departments are required to provide documented training on the contents of their unit or site-specific COVID-19 Prevention Plan.
For more information about safety training, contact EH&S at email@example.com or 206.543.7262.
As part of the EH&S phased plan to increase work on-site, EH&S continues to conduct work both remotely and on-site to support activities in accordance with the University’s COVID-19 Prevention Plan for the Workplace and EH&S's site-specific COVID-19 Prevention Plans.
EH&S is committed to COVID-19 prevention practices while providing critical on-site services to members of our campus community. Please review our EH&S COVID-19 Prevention Practices for Site Visits.
While COVID-19 circulates in the community, social and physical distancing, good hygiene (e.g., washing hands, not touching faces), and other preventive measures are necessary to prevent the transmission of the virus. Health and safety continue to be the top priority for the University of Washington and EH&S. View the list of on-site services EH&S will provide onsite to help ensure the health and safety of operations.
University of Washington COVID-19 Face Covering Policy (Updated June 30, 2020)
Guidance on Facemask Use for Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 (Updated June 17, 2020)
Masks can help protect others by containing respiratory droplets when the mask wearer coughs, sneezes or speaks. This guidance assists units with selecting facemasks and provides instructions on the correct use and care of facemasks.
- Refer to the Facemask Focus Sheet (updated May 28, 2020) for quick guidance on the use of cloth face coverings and medical/procedure masks, along with important safety tips for safe use.
- Refer to the Differences between Face Coverings, Facemasks and Respirators to understand the differences and similarities of these face protectors.
Workplace COVID-19 Risk Level and Selection of Personal Protective Equipment (Updated June 4, 2020)
EH&S characterizes work at the different risk exposure levels, and lists required and recommended PPE for the specific job roles/activities.
The purpose of this document is to assist departments during the personal protective equipment (PPE) procurement process and serves as a guide to determine if PPE meets minimum performance standards. This helps ensure PPE will provide adequate protection to prevent COVID-19 transmission.
EH&S recommends measures to conserve personal protective equipment (PPE) while maintaining our commitment to provide a safe and healthy place to work. This aligns with current guidance from the CDC and King County.
Voluntary use of respirators is permitted as long as exposure to substances remains below the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act (WISHA) permissible exposure limits (PELs) or there is no exposure to an airborne biological hazard. All UW employees who voluntarily choose to use a respirator must review and sign the Advisory Information for Employees Who Voluntarily Use Respirators.
Steps for safely putting on (donning) and taking off (doffing) PPE:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) instructions for using personal protective equipment (PPE)
Instructions for cloth face coverings/masks:
- The Whole U - Protective Cloth Mask Making Tutorial
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19
Instructions for removing disposable gloves:
Food establishments can reopen onsite dining if they meet the Phase 2 Restaurant/Tavern Reopening COVID-19 Requirements. Food establishments operating in a University location must follow the guidance in the Food Establishment Reopening Guidance document to comply with the Governor’s Phase 2 requirements and Safe Start plan, the Washington Food Code and University policies.
COVID-19 QUARANTINE AND TESTING RISK FRAMEWORK FOR FIELD WORK
The COVID-19 Quarantine and Testing Risk Framework for Field Work (Added July 10, 2020) is intended to assist University research and field personnel to determine COVID-19 quarantine and testing protocols for field research or assignments determined by their units as critical. The testing and quarantine requirements are one component of the Fieldwork Health and Safety Plan.
COVID-19 PREVENTION FOR SMALL BOAT OPERATIONS
These COVID-19 Prevention Guidelines for Small Boat Operations are intended to supplement the University's COVID-19 Prevention Plan for the Workplace. The COVID-19 Prevention for Small Boat Operations guidelines should be followed and included as a part of the site-specific plan.
GUIDANCE FOR RESUMING RESEARCH
The Guidance for Resuming Work in Research Labs During and After State Restrictions (Updated June 4, 2020) is for research labs resuming work during and after Washington state's Stay Home, Stay Health order. A checklist is included to assist you in planning for resuming research activities.
BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLANNING
EH&S has created a Guide to Business Continuity and Recovery Planning for Laboratories and Research Spaces to supplement your existing business continuity plans. It includes a checklist and is intended to assist faculty, staff, laboratories and research facilities in maintaining research continuity consistent with their own unique needs and circumstances.
COVID-19 RESEARCH BIOSAFETY GUIDANCE
EH&S has COVID-19 Research Biosafety Guidance to assist investigators planning research involving SARS-CoV-2 to understand the health and safety considerations and compliance expectations necessary to safely facilitate the research.
ENHANCED CLEANING AND DISINFECTION
EH&S asks research laboratories and facilities to also implement enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of high touch surfaces. This includes switches, benchtops, commonly used hand tools, and shared PPE.
- Disinfect hard, non-porous surfaces with an EPA-registered disinfectant, an alcohol solution with at least 70% alcohol, or a 10% bleach/water solution.
- It is also recommended that all departments purchase single-use disinfectant wipes for touchpoints within their workspaces.
- Please avoid putting disinfectant gels or liquids on electronics and other equipment, including elevator buttons, unless they have been indicated as safe to use on those devices.
- Additional guidance is available in the enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols.
If you have any questions please contact EH&S Research & Occupational Safety at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206.685.3993.
The University of Washington Guidance for Plexiglass Barriers (updated July 9, 2020) provides a review of the benefits, limitations and performance standards for plexiglass barriers, and guidance for prioritizing the installation. University units considering the use of barriers may consider this alternative strategy as a component of their overall COVID-19 prevention efforts.
Requests for plexiglass barriers are initiated by submitting the Plexiglass Barrier Request Form (updated June 15, 2020) to UW Facilities. UW Facilities units will coordinate with EH&S to review the requests. EH&S can also be consulted for assistance at 206.543.7262 or email@example.com.
The Stay Healthy, Huskies toolkit contains posters for COVID-19 prevention that should be placed in work areas:
- Post “Back to the Workplace” in work areas and reception areas.
- Post “Physical distancing at work” and “Face coverings are required” if more than one person at a time may be working in a space.
- Post “Clean and disinfect” near shared equipment that must be cleaned after each use and in common areas, such as meeting rooms and break rooms.
- Post “Wash your hands the right way” in bathrooms and near handwashing stations.
Building coordinators are responsible for the placement of posters at building entrances, near restrooms, in lobbies, in common areas, on bulletin boards, in break rooms, near elevators and at entrances to work areas per the Building Readiness Guidelines.
Caution: When placing posters, be careful to not disturb building materials. The University prohibits the use of nails and other implements that cause damage to walls, doors and other surfaces that may contain lead, asbestos and other regulated building materials.
Stay home, report to the Employee Health Center, and get tested if:
- You are sick, even if you experience mild symptoms of illness or
- Your health care provider suspects or confirms you have COVID-19 or
- You had close contact with a person who has COVID-19
UW Seattle, Bothell, and Tacoma students, staff, faculty and other academic personnel should contact the UW Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) Employee Health Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206.685.1026.
UW Medicine personnel should contact Employee Health Services (UWMC – Montlake at 206.598.4848, UWMC – Northwest at 206.668.1625, or Harborview Medical Center at 206.744.3081).
EH&S fulfills the University’s public health responsibilities to document suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the UW community and take action to prevent further transmission.
For more information, refer to these frequently asked questions on the University's Novel coronavirus & COVID-19 FAQ page:
The University of Washington COVID-19 Prevention Plan for the Workplace (PDF, Word) helps ensure the health and safety of personnel by reducing the potential for COVID-19 transmission at the University of Washington. The measures are based on Governor Inslee’s Safe Start requirements, the regulatory directive of the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) Directive 1.70 General Coronavirus Prevention Under Stay Home-Stay Healthy Order, and guidance from public health agencies. This plan will be updated as regulations and public health guidance change.
The University Plan covers all University work environments. To ensure compliance with the University Plan, each University unit is required to develop and implement a unit-specific COVID-19 Prevention Plan that covers all personnel of a unit work area(s). In addition to unit-level plans, work area or sitespecific plans are required as necessary and appropriate to address required COVID-19 prevention and control strategies.
COVID-19 information for Units with Contractors and Vendors Working on Site (Updated June 12, 2020).
This document is for University units to follow or review with contractors or vendors hired to work in University facilities.
The Washington Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) Directive 1.70 requires that employers have a program to prevent sick employees from entering the workplace and when recognized, that ill employees are sent home.
The UW Guidance for Symptom Monitoring for COVID-19 (updated June 9, 2020) is intended for UW units implementing symptom monitoring of faculty and other academic personnel, staff, students, contractors, visitors, volunteers, and other personnel who present in-person at any University work site.