This information is for contractors and consultants currently conducting essential work on Sound Transit field sites or office/facility sites. We want to keep you informed on the agency's new COVID-19 safety guidelines and requirements that apply to contractors and consultants as well as Sound Transit employees.

Please read this page carefully. It includes critical information about:

  • Face covering and/or medical procedure mask requirements. 
  • Updated safety requirements for field/construction sites. 

New requirement for all contractors and consultants conducting essential work onsite

Consistent with new construction jobsite and operating contractor requirements, all contractors and consultants are required to wear face coverings or medical procedure masks when conducting essential work on Sound Transit field sites or office/facility sites while interacting with other people. Please reference the next section for applicable criteria for wearing a face covering or medical procedure mask for all field and construction visits.

Hierarchy of protections based on current guidance from the CDC, the governor's office and Labor & Industries

As our state continues to open in phases, contractors and consultants may need to work on field/construction sites in concurrence with their Sound Transit project manager. Our goal is to ensure you are educated, protected and properly equipped. We encourage you to adjust tasks to lessen exposure and conduct tasks within the lowest risk category. The requirements listed below are in addition to standard field PPE, which includes a hard hat, safety vest, safety glasses, gloves and steel/composite-toe safety shoes.

Low-Transmission Risk Category

Social distancing (workers can easily maintain at least 6 feet social distance full time) + face covering: Under this method, intermittent passing (up to several times a day) that occurs closer than 6 feet is acceptable. Social distancing (at least 6 feet easily maintained full time) coupled with a face covering remains the most effective protection method. Contractors and consultants should work with their Sound Transit project manager and utilize this approach as the primary protection method for all field and construction visits. Always evaluate tasks and site visits to determine the feasibility of performing tasks under this risk category. 

Medium-Transmission Risk Category

Social distancing (workers can mostly maintain at least 6 feet social distance) + medical procedure mask: Due to the increased risk, a medical procedure mask is required for all medium transmission risk category events. Please use this option only if necessary and fundamental to conducting a task. Social distancing (at least 6 feet is mostly maintained) coupled with a medical procedure mask is the next tier level and is reserved for job tasks that require several minutes of broken 6 feet social distance several times a day. Some contractors and consultants may use this more frequently than others, but everyone should continuously evaluate the work to determine if adjustments can enable completion under the low-transmission risk category.

High- and Extremely High-Risk Categories

Sound Transit is NOT allowing any work above the Medium-Transmission Risk Category. Please contact your Sound Transit project manager for evaluation of any tasks that have a potential risk higher than medium. Sound Transit will assess options to help ensure worker safety. You must provide supporting evidence of why work completion falls outside parameters and protections of low- and medium-risk categories, as described above.

Understanding the difference

You have probably heard respiratory transmission protection described by various names, such as a face covering, medical procedure mask (surgical mask) and N95 mask (filtering face piece respirator). To ensure you are wearing the appropriate protection consistent with the risk category for the performance of your job tasks, it is important to understand the difference between these three types.

Type of Mask/Covering Material Purpose
Face Covering Made from variety of materials, such as fleece, cotton or linen. Contains the wearer's large droplets and helps protect others from transmission of these expelled droplets.
Medical Procedure Mask (surgical mask) The masks are three-ply material consisting of a melt-blown polymer, most commonly polypropylene, placed between nonwoven fabrics. FDA approved, contains the wearer's large droplets and helps protect others from transmission of the wearer's expelled droplets.
N95 Mask (filtering face piece respirator) Typically electrostatic nonwoven polypropylene fiber. The rating means this respirator reduces the wearer's exposure to fine particles, including small particle aerosols and large droplets, by 90% with proper fit testing and training on use.

Please contact your Sound Transit project manager if you have questions or concerns regarding the new face covering requirement or applicable criteria for wearing respiratory transmission protection during all field and construction visits.