Rule Development

2018 Electrical Rule Changes

Ground-fault protection requirements for marinas

The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries filed proposed rule changes in response to a petition from the Northwest Marine Trade Association. The proposal involves ground-fault protection requirements for marinas, specified by the 2017 National Electrical Code (NEC) 555.3. The proposed rule extends the 100 mA ground-fault level allowance for feeders, until September 1, 2019, at which time the requirements published in the 2020 NEC would apply. The rule change would affect Washington Administrative Code 296-46B-555, "Special occupancies - Marinas, boatyards, and commercial and noncommercial docking facilities."

Here’s what happens next:

  • Feb. 6, 2018: Preproposal filed with the state Code Reviser’s Office.
  • April 3, 2018: Proposed rules filed with the state Code Reviser’s Office.
  • April 26, 2018: Electrical Board discussion of proposed rule language (L&I Tacoma).
  • May 9, 2018: A public hearing on the proposed rule is scheduled for 9 a.m.. The meeting will take place at the L&I Tumwater building, 7273 Linderson Way S.W., Tumwater, WA.
  • May 10, 2018 - Written comment period on proposed rule ends.
  • May 22, 2018: Expected filing of final rules with the Code Reviser's Office.
  • July 1, 2018: Expected effective date of rule.

For more information
Get an overview of the L&I rulemaking process. A glossary of terms can help in understanding the rulemaking/code adoption process.

Residential and Sign electrician specialties (Scope of Work)

The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries has adopted changes to the scopes of work for Residential (02) and Signs (04) specialty electricians. The new rule changes allow:

Residential (02) specialty electricians to work in taller buildings within multi-family dwellings of construction types III, IV, and V with non-metallic sheathed cable.

Signs (04) specialty electricians to retrofit existing exterior luminaires mounted on a pole or other structure with energy-efficient technology, such as LEDs. Currently, only those certified as journey level electricians (01), non-residential maintenance (07), or non-residential lighting maintenance and lighting retrofit specialty electricians (07A) may do that work.

The new rules take effect February 23, 2018.


2017 Electrical Rule Development (2017 NEC Adoption)

L&I has adopted amendments to the electrical rules based upon new safety code requirements from the 2017 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC). The 2017 NEC was published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in August 2016. From October 1 - 31, 2016, the department accepted proposals for amendments to all sections of Chapter 296-46B WAC, excluding the Fee Schedules of WAC 296-46B-906, 909, and 911. During the month of October, the department also accepted applications for the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). For complete details, see the August 2016 Special Edition Electrical Currents Newsletter (195 KB PDF).

The TAC meeting was held on December 14, 2016, and the department received input from the TAC regarding all of the proposals. After the TAC meeting, the department compiled all of the proposals to be moved forward into a “First Draft” document. The department presented the draft, as well as other proposals, to the Electrical Board at it's January 26, 2017 meeting in Tacoma. At the meeting the board voted unanimously to advise L&I to move forward with the proposed changes. A Second Draft was compiled which includes the Board’s recommendations, a slight revision in the WAC 296-46B-900 plan review proposal and a few additional measurement and typographical revisions. The proposals were also shared at 18 stakeholder meetings in various locations throughout the state. A public hearing was held on April 6, 2017 at 9 a.m. at the Tumwater L&I building.

Based on further research and stakeholder comments, the department decided to make 3 amendments to the proposed rules, which the agency adopted on May 30, 2017. The NEC 210.8(B) GFCI protection requirements for 3-phase receptacles will not be adopted due to lack of availability of equipment to provide this protection. Also, NEC 553.4 and 555.3 will be amended to allow a one-year period for further research and consideration of ground-fault protection requirements for floating buildings and marinas. Effective July 1, 2017, ground-fault protection of 100 mA will be allowed on feeder conductors, and 30 mA will be required for all branch circuit conductors and outlets in floating buildings, marinas, boatyards, and commercial and noncommercial docking facilities. You can view or download a copy of the final rule at the link below.

Following are the rulemaking documents:


View current electrical rules (

More information about electrical laws and rules:

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