Brightwater tunnel project: DOSH is continuing to work with contractors and King County Metro on the
Brightwater Conveyance Project, a wastewater treatment project. The project consists of a 14-mile long underground
tunnel with four shafts from a new wastewater treatment plant in Woodinville, which will carry treated
wastewater into Puget Sound. Each shaft has a state-of-the-art tunnel-boring machine to complete the underground
work. As of May 2009, contractors completed one section of the tunnel. The Brightwater Project began in
2006 and is scheduled to be completed in 2010.
Hospitalization initiative: In April 2008, the Department of Labor and Industries adopted a rule that requires
employers to report the in-patient hospitalization of any employee within eight hours of the time they learn
about an accident. The department gave employers a grace period and did not begin citing them until April 2009.
Workplace inspections after such accidents often identify serious hazards and provide an opportunity to inform
and educate employers who have never had any contact with DOSH.
Discrimination investigations: Washington’s
Discrimination Investigations Program continues its performance
with exemplary timeliness, merit, and settled case rates. In fiscal year 2008, DOSH investigated 164 complaints
and all were completed within the 90-day statutory time limit.
WISHA Information Network: The third and final implementation phase of the WISHA Information Network
(WIN) occurred in June 2007. This phase improved abatement-tracking features and provided supervisors with the
ability to delegate their approval authority. Washington now issues citations directly from data entered into the
WIN system. During 2008, enforcement citation and notice documents were reformatted and streamlined, cutting
the average number of pages per citation in half. The effort made the final citation documents available online
in read-only format to WIN users, which eliminated the need to manually make copies of the citations for the
regional offices. Another system release added the ability for regional staff to upload scanned, read-only images
of the full case file document. This eliminated file requests and copying cases for appeal hearings. Additional
system releases added new features for the Consultation, Enforcement, Appeals, and Quality Assurance modules.
Petroleum refineries: Tesoro Refining and Marketing Co., was cited at its Anacortes refinery for violations after a
focused inspection. Tesoro is the third of Washington’s four large refineries to have a comprehensive inspection
as part of a federal national emphasis program to inspect all petroleum refineries in the U.S. Washington State
Department of Labor and Industries cited Tesoro for 17 serious safety and health violations, which carry penalties
totaling $85,700. The Shell Oil Company’s Equilon refinery in Anacortes was cited for 23 serious safety and health
violations with proposed penalties totaling $109,600 after a focused inspection at the facility.
Atlas Castings & Technology: In March 2008, DOSH fined Atlas Castings and Technology $19,200 after an investigation
of a 2007 liquefied-petroleum (LP) gas explosion that killed a delivery truck driver. The investigation found
that Atlas workers had repaired the foundry’s damaged LP-gas fill hose with fasteners that were not designed to
withstand pressurized LP gas. The delivery driver took the improperly repaired fill hose and began to unload the
LP gas. Within seconds, the hose detached from its connection to the truck’s tank and LP gas flowed out of the
open valve. In less than a minute the gas ignited and engulfed the truck – eight minutes later the truck exploded,
causing a second larger explosion. Atlas was cited for:
- Not properly training employees on the repair and maintenance of pressurized LP-gas systems
- Using hose connections that were not rated for LP-gas service and would not withstand the pressure
- Not testing the repaired hose after assembly to ensure it was free from leaks under normal use
- Not having a shutoff valve with means of remote control to protect against uncontrolled discharge of LP
gas from piping close to the point where the piping and hose connected
Formaldehyde: DOSH cited Legacy Salmon Creek Hospital in Vancouver for numerous violations of hygiene
standards for failing to protect workers from hazardous exposures to formaldehyde. Penalties for the violations
|DOSH wil have a fully established crane safety program for the construction industry on Jan. 1, 2010.
Cranes: DOSH is getting closer to having a fully established crane safety program for the
construction industry. On Jan. 1, 2010, all cranes that have a capacity more than 2,000 pounds
must be certified and operated by certified crane operators. After a tower crane accident in
Bellevue in 2006, the Legislature directed the Department of Labor and Industries to develop the
program by January 2010. Since the 2006 accident, Washington has adopted new rules covering
the certification of cranes, operator qualifications, and crane certifier requirements.
DOSH is also writing new crane rules that will outline the requirements for crane inspection,
maintenance, and operation, and personnel lifting. These new rules should be adopted in
March 2010. For more information on cranes and the new rules, see
Construction Crane Safety
on the DOSH Web site.
Heat-related illness: On July 5, 2008, Washington’s permanent Outdoor Heat Exposure (OHE) rule became effective.
The OHE standard is effective each year from May 1 through Sept. 30 when employees’ work environments
exceed set temperature action levels that are adjusted for different levels of personal protective equipment. At
worksites where the rules apply, employees must have sufficient water (up to a quart per hour per employee), be
trained on the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness, and have a place to get out of the heat when they show
symptoms of heat-related illness.
Construction Safety Days: Because of the increase of construction accidents in 2007, business and labor collaborated
to organize the first annual Construction Safety Day, May 14, 2008, in Puyallup. The conference included
more than 25 exhibits, a variety of demonstrations, a crane simulator, and new state of the art equipment. About
400 people attended.
Governor’s Conference: Washington’s 58th annual
Governor’s Industrial Safety and Health Conference will be
held Oct. 7-8, 2009, at the Tacoma Convention Center. The conference offers two days of training and education,
providing the latest tools, technologies, and strategies for workplace safety and health. Alternating between the
eastern and western side of the state, the annual event attracts approximately 3,000 safety and health attendees.
|Washington Department of Labor and Industries held its 16th annual Workers Memoral Day on April 28, 2009.
The Governor’s Lifesaving Awards
– for employees who have personally performed an urgent “hands-on” lifesaving
effort – are also presented at the conference. Last year, 43 people received a lifesaving award or a humanitarian
In the last Grassroots edition, DOSH reported hiring and training a bilingual Spanish-speaking investigator
to address all 11(c) complaints from migrant agricultural workers. The bilingual position continues to make
a tremendous impact on cases involving 11(c) investigations and has continually enhanced the number of investigations
completed and merit and settlement rates. In 2008, the position was responsible for three reinstatements
and approximately $40,000 in settlements returned to complainants; it appears that the figures for 2009 will be
Job safety calendars:
Washington developed a 2009 Job Safety Calendar for Construction and Agriculture, which
features monthly themes, safety tips, a focus on new regulations, and emphasizes workplace safety as a daily
The DOSH Employer Education Workshop Program provides safety- and health-related educational
workshops at no cost to employers throughout the state. During 2008, the Employer Education Workshop
Program held 130 workshops with an average attendance of eight people per workshop.
Safety and Health Investment Projects:
Safety and Health Investment Projects (SHIP)
grant program was
created in 2007 when the Washington State Legislature included a proviso in the Washington State Department of
Labor and Industries 2007-2009 biennial budget authorizing $8 million to fund safety and health projects. Projects
must address accident prevention and benefit businesses and workers covered by the state’s workers’ compensation
medical aid fund. SHIP has funded 27 projects ranging in size from $3,291 to $359,172. The full list of current
grants is on the SHIP Web page.
Worker Memorial Day: Every year Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries takes the time to remember
individual workers who died on the job during the past year. On April 28, 2009, the department held its 16th
annual Workers Memorial Day, honoring the memories of 81 workers who died in 2008. The ceremony was held
at the department’s central office in Tumwater. After the ceremony, family members were invited to ring a bronze
memorial bell specifically sculpted in memory of their loved ones.
Accident Prevention Program:
|Eastern Washington orchard workers decontaminateing a tractor.
DOSH requires every employer to develop a written
Accident Prevention Program
addressing the hazards of their business. The plan must include a safety and health committee, a hazard
identification system, and employee training about safe work practices. Washington is continuing to develop
videos, workshops, and online sample programs to assist employers and workers to establish accident prevention
APP Web page
includes general industry and industry-specific sample programs.
In February 2009, Washington held its fifth annual Agriculture Safety Day, which drew hundreds
of agricultural workers, employers, supervisors, and safety and health professionals to Yakima for a full day of
safety and health training. The event featured sessions on pesticide safety, fatality prevention,
cross-cultural communication, food safety and site security, the worker protection standard,
accident investigation, and drugfree workplaces. Experts from Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries, Department of Agriculture,
Washington State Farm Bureau, Washington State University, and Evergreen Safety Council presented the information.
All sessions were offered in English and Spanish.
|DOSH has 25 STAR sites in its VPP program.
VPP now has 25 STAR sites and one Merit site – 22 fixed sites, two residential construction sites,
and one demonstration project. Two sites have been evaluated for preapproval for STAR status.
Two other applications are in review and seven more sites are working toward submitting their