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About the Department of Labor & Industries: L&I is a diverse state agency primarily focused on protecting the safety and welfare of Washington’s nearly two million workers. We foster on-the-job safety and health through our (DOSH) inspection and enforcement program and through voluntary consultations and training. We also administer the state’s mandatory workers’ compensation system, which provides medical and limited wage-replacement coverage to all those who are hurt or become ill as a result of their work. We help protect consumers from unsound building practices, combat illegal employment practices and help develop the state’s skilled workforce through apprenticeship programs. More about L&I …

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Contacts & Topics

Media Contacts
 Main number: 360-902-5400  Fax: 360-902-5420   Admin. Asst: 360-902-4226
If you have questions about … Contact
General agency information, legislative issues. Tim Church,
Public Affairs Manager
360-902-5673
Tim.Church@Lni.wa.gov
Workers' compensation insurance

Rena Shawver
360-902-5189
Rena.Shawver@Lni.wa.gov

Workers' compensation insurance

Barbara Davis
360-902-4216
Barbara.Davis@Lni.wa.gov

Workplace safety and health Elaine Fischer
360-902-5413
Elaine.Fischer@Lni.wa.gov
Injured Young Workers Speakers Program Xenofon Moniodis
360-902-6458
Xenofon.Moniodis@Lni.wa.gov
Fraud prevention and investigations, underground economy Debby Abe
360-902-6043
Debby.Abe@lni.wa.gov
Contractor registration, Plumber certification Debby Abe
360-902-6043
Debby.Abe@Lni.wa.gov
Factory-assembled structures Matthew Erlich
360-902-6508
matthew.erlich@Lni.wa.gov
Wage-and-hour topics: minimum wage, overtime, minor workers, and wage claims Matthew Erlich
360-902-6508
matthew.erlich@Lni.wa.gov
Elevators, Electrical inspections and licensing,
Boiler inspections
Matthew Erlich
360-902-6508
matthew.erlich@Lni.wa.gov
Apprenticeship and prevailing wage
Matthew Erlich
360-902-6508
matthew.erlich@Lni.wa.gov
Crime Victims Compensation Program Rena Shawver
360-902-5189
Rena.Shawver@Lni.wa.gov
Small business outreach
Celia Nightingale
360-902-4865
1-800-987-0145
SmallBusiness@Lni.wa.gov
Hispanic outreach Lisa Heaton
360-902-5411
Lisa.Heaton@Lni.wa.gov


Or write to:

Washington State
Department of Labor & Industries

Public Affairs Office
P.O. Box 44050
Olympia, Washington 98504-4050

Alphabetical Topics

  • Business rates/risk classes.
  • Crime victims compensation.
  • Data and statistics about worker injuries and fatalities.
  • Small Business Liaison.
  • Spanish-language outreach.
  • Workers' compensation system.

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Writing About Labor & Industries

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Facts & figures about L&I

L&I is a diverse state agency dedicated to the safety, health and security of Washington workers and protecting the public from unsafe work and economic hardship.

2013 statistics:

  • Workers' compensation insurance provided for 168,000 employers and 2.49 million workers
  • Workplace safety and health hazards fixed: 25,042
  • Unpaid wages collected: $3.3 million
  • Electrical wiring jobs inspected: 189,027
  • Boilers/pressure vessels inspected: 16,799
  • Elevators/conveyances inspected: 10,605
  • Apprentices working: 11,017

For information about workers' compensation statistics, read L&I's Your Premium Dollars at Work:

  • An accounting of how State Fund premium dollars are spent
  • Workers' Compensation Statistics at a Glance

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Story ideas

Workers' compensation

  • New legislation passed in 2011 represents some of the most dramatic workers' compensation reforms in Washington's system since it was created in 1911.
    (Contact: Renee Guillierie, 360-902-5673)
  • Find out how the new Stay at Work Program is helping injured workers get back to work quickly and safety after an workplace injury by offering financial incentives to employers.
    (Contact: Rena Shawver, 360-902-5189)
  • L&I's new Medical Provider Network will improve medical care for injured workers, and expanding occupational health "best practices" to medical providers across the state will help injured workers recover quicker while reducing costs.
    (Contact: Barbara Davis, 360-902-4216)
  • L&I offers employers many resources, financial incentives and even refunds, to help them control insurance costs. Find out how these programs are saving employers money.
    (Contact: Rena Shawver, 360-902-5189)

Workplace safety

(Contact: Elaine Fischer, 360-902-5413)

  • Planning a special section related to work, such as construction, health care or restaurants? Call us to learn the most frequent hazards and violations in the industry or special training or safety rules required by state law.
  • Have you noticed similar workplace injuries or fatalities in your coverage area, such as a series of trucking accidents? Check with us to see if it's part of a trend that we are addressing or what we've learned from similar incidents.
  • Expand your story on a late night convenience store robbery by contacting us to learn more about safety rules for Late Night Retail Establishments and how convenience stores can keep their workers safe.
  • Washington State's rules on construction cranes are stronger than in much of the country. Localize a national story on a construction crane accident by including information on our laws here at home.
  • Our program to provide grants for projects that improve workplace safety has been improved. Contact us to learn what projects were funded in the most recent round of Safety and Health Investment Project (SHIP) Grants.

Consumer help

(Contact: Debby Abe, 360-902-6043)

  • It's "buyer beware" for home building and remodeling projects in Washington State. For our top tips for consumers, visit www.ProtectMyHome.net.
  • L&I's contractor outreach program reaches thousands of consumers each year at various fairs, home shows and workshops across the state. Visit our contractor education page to see when we'll be in your area.

Fraud

(Contact: Debby Abe, 360-902-6043)

  • L&I's Fraud Prevention and Compliance Program brought in $157 million in 2013, including payments from employers for delinquent premiums and recovered monies from injured workers or health-care providers for fraudulent claims.
  • Ask about our new initiatives in 2014 to keep the fight against fraud front and center.

Other

  • L&I goes bilingual: Reaching out to Washington's many Spanish-speaking workers.
    (Contact: Lisa Heaton, 360-902-5411)
  • How L&I's own customers are shaping its agency website - from wording to organization.
    (Contact: Brian Criss, 360-902-5417)
  • Did you know that the average age of trade apprentices in Washington is 31? Find out why these popular training-while-earning programs are not just for entry-level workers anymore.
    (Contact: Matthew Erlich, 360-902-6508)
  • Teen-safety speakers: a powerful experience for high school students and young workers - L&I's Injured Young Workers Speakers Program takes severely injured young workers to high schools, skills centers, and worksites around the state.
    (Contact: Xenofon Moniodis, 360-902-6458)
  • L&I collected more than $3.3 million in unpaid wages in 2013. Find out what L&I is doing to combat wage theft in Washington.
    (Contact: Matthew Erlich, 360-902-6508)
  • Fast help for small business owners - L&I's small business liaisons helps solve their problems.
    (Contact: Celia Nightingale, 360-902-4865)
  • Significant changes are underway at L&I using Lean problem-solving strategies to improve service, reduce delays and lower costs.
    (Contact: Danielle Mack, 360-902-5703)

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Writing about workplace accidents

Are you covering a workplace accident or safety citation? Here's the background information on DOSH:

DOSH: "Washington's OSHA"

Employers are required to provide safe and healthy worksites and protect their workers from hazards. They must meet certain requirements, including having an accident prevention plan tailored to the hazards of a particular worksite. In addition, certain high-hazard industries, such as construction, agriculture and logging, have industry-specific standards that must be met.

These requirements are in the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act, or WISHA.

The Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) is the state equivalent of the federal OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). By law, the DOSH state program must meet or exceed all OSHA requirements. All workplace consultations and inspections are done by L&I staff.

L&I conducts about 5,000 workplace safety and health inspections annually.

When an accident happens, we investigate

By law, DOSH must investigate all work-related deaths and all catastrophic incidents (any time a worker is hospitalized) in workplaces where employees are present. Employers must notify L&I within eight hours of this type of accident.

An investigation also may be triggered by an employee complaint, a referral from another agency, or when otherwise brought to our attention, such as a breaking news story involving a workplace accident.

The primary focus of a DOSH investigation is to determine whether the employer was protecting its workers properly at the time the accident happened. The investigator will look at what happened - and why - in making this determination.

If a citation is issued

An employer may be found to have one or more of the following levels of violations:

  • General citations: For violations not likely to result in serious injury or death. Penalties typically are not assessed for general violations, but the employer must correct the violation.
  • Serious violations: For violations likely to result in serious injury or death. Penalties are based on the probability that an injury could happen and how severe the related injuries are likely to be. The penalty is then adjusted on the basis of the employer's good-faith efforts to comply with regulations, past compliance history, and the number of workers who were exposed. By law, L&I cannot fine an employer more than $7,000. The average DOSH fine is $1,200.
  • Willful violations: If the employer intentionally violated safety or health rules, or knew that a violation was occurring and was clearly indifferent to correcting it. Willful violations are first calculated as serious and then multiplied by ten. Thus, a maximum $7,000 penalty for a serious violation becomes a maximum $70,000 penalty for a willful violation.

The employer has 15 business days to appeal a DOSH citation.

Funds collected from penalties go into the supplemental pension fund to benefit injured workers and the surviving family members of workers who are killed on the job.

 

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Public disclosure requests from L&I

Consult this information before filing:


Executive Leadership Team bios

  • Joel Sacks, Director (eff. Jan. 16, 2013).
  • Ernie LaPalm, Deputy Director.
  • Randi Warick, Deputy Director for Financial Management.
  • Tammy Fellin, Assistant Director for Legislative and Governmental Affairs.
  • Amy Leneker, Assistant Director for the Governmental Affairs and Policy Division.
  • Vickie Kennedy, Assistant Director for Insurance Services.
  • Kim Contris, Assistant Director for Communications.
  • Roy Plaeger-Brockway, Assistant Director for Lean Transformation Office.
  • Steve McLain, Assistant Director for Human Resources.
  • Chris Freed, Assistant Director for Administrative Services.
  • Elizabeth Smith, Assistant Director for Fraud Prevention and Labor Standards.
  • Bob Lanouette, Assistant Director for Information Services.
  • Anne Soiza, Assistant Director for the Division of Occupational Safety and Health.
  • José Rodriguez, Assistant Director for Field Services and Public Safety.
  • Dan Johnston, Director of the Office of Internal Audit.

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