A Whatcom County public health emergency has been declared to reduce the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
On March 16, the PUD held a Special Meeting to pass Resolution No. 770, declaring a local emergency and delegation of authority, allowing the General Manager to exercise such emergency powers as may be lawful, and be authorized to exercise such lawful authority through the use and direction of District personnel, services, equipment and such additional acts as the General Manager may find necessary in his sole discretion to properly and safely manage this emergency.
Whatcom PUD Pandemic Response Plan
The purpose of this plan is to protect our employees and keep the PUD functioning during a disease outbreak. Strategies for screening and preventing the transmission of pandemic influenza or other contagious diseases (Pandemic Event), should employees become ill or in contact with a pandemic influenza strain. It is intended to be consistent with the guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and will be updated as CDC guidance changes. Therefore, employees are expected to comply with the current and future guidelines.
- Reduce the spread of disease among staff
By following the CDC’s guidance, the PUD will take the following workplace safety precautions:
- Sanitizing frequented areas such as restrooms/breakrooms/copier rooms.
- Wash hands often with soap and water. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
- Stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others.
- Infection Control Measures
To create a culture of wellness before, during and after an outbreak, the PUD will:
- Place posters that encourage staying home when sick, cough/sneeze etiquette and hand hygiene at entrance and high visibility locations.
- Provide soap, water and alcohol-based hand rubs in multiple locations and routinely refill.
- Instruct employees to clean hands often with hand-sanitizer or by washing for at least 20 seconds.
- Supply tissue and no-touch waste bins.
- Routinely clean commonly touched surfaces in all facilities.
- Maintain Business Operations, Minimize Customer Impact
In order to maintain daily business operations, the PUD will:
- Identify what jobs are needed to carry on day-to-day activities:
- Water Operations – Two (2) operators on duty, or at least one.
- Electric Operations – One (1) electrician on-site; Remote access – at least one.
- IT/SCADA Operations – At least one employee shall remain in Whatcom County.
- Front Office Administration – At least one to collect mail and process accounting/banking needs.
- Work from Home/Remote Access
- Access Workplace Exposure Risk
- Commission Meetings
The PUD adheres to the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) RCW 42.30 and follows the State Attorney General Opinions.
- Employee Travel and Meeting Restrictions
- Mandatory Medical Check-Ups, Vaccinations or Medication
- Restrictions from Work/Mandatory reporting of exposure, such as employees reporting to employers and employers reporting to public health authorities.
- Employee Quarantine or Isolation
- Workplace Policies
Paid Sick Leave Benefits (all eligible employees)
- CBA – 8 hours accrued per month
- Non-CBA – 8 hours accrued per month
- State Paid Leave (Washington Family and Medical Leave Program)
- Unpaid Leave (Family Medical Leave Act)
- District’s Supplemental Sick Leave Authorization – will be authorized based on medical condition.
- Facility Shutdown
As a last resort should a majority of employees become ill.
- For how long or until further notice
- Only PUD employees required to provide on-site, mission-critical functions will report to their normal work locations.
- Work from home options where possible.
Click HERE to view the complete PUD Pandemic Response Plan