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Aug. 21, 1998

Hearings scheduled for agriculture worker safety rules

TUMWATER - The Department of Labor & Industries will conduct four public hearings in early September for public comment on changes to agriculture worker-safety rules as directed by the Legislature and federal government.

The proposed rules expand the definition of agriculture to include all product-related operations on the farm. Additionally, the proposal includes more specific and comprehensive requirements in employer-provided temporary housing for electricity and food handling, storage and preparation. These changes implement Senate Bill 5530 and Second Substitute Senate Bill 6168.

In addition, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has directed L&I to upgrade requirements for field sanitation rules. Washington's worker-safety regulations adopted under authority of the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act (WISHA) must be "at least as effective as" federal requirements. Specifically, the proposal expands employer requirements for educating employees about field sanitation hazards during employee orientations.

Also at the direction of OSHA, the proposal contains new language clarifying that hand-laborers in seed-production operations are covered by the field sanitation rules.

Finally, the proposal includes a variety of minor corrections, clarifications and changes to correct typographical errors and other oversights.

The hearings will be held:

Sept. 8, 1998

  • Mount Vernon, 9 a.m.at the Best Western Cottontree Inn, 2300 Market Place
  • Yakima, 9 a.m. at Cavanaugh's, 607 E. Yakima Ave.

Sept. 9, 1998

Tumwater, 1 p.m., L&I Auditorium, 7273 Linderson Way SW*

Wenatchee, 9 a.m., Double Tree Hotel, 1225 N. Wenatchee Ave.

Oral and written comments will be accepted at the public hearing, and by mail or fax until 5 p.m. Sept. 18, 1998. Faxed comments must be limited to 10 pages or fewer. The agency's fax number is 360/902-5529.

The agency's mailing address is:

Department of Labor & Industries
WISHA Services Division, Standards Section
P.O. Box 44620
Olympia, WA 98504-4620

The proposed rule amendments are available from L&I by calling 1-800-423-7233 and specifying either a computer diskette or paper copy.

If the proposal is adopted according to the proposed schedule, the rules will be adopted Dec. 1, 1998, and take effect March 1, 1999.

For special accommodation or communication arrangements, contact:
Linda Dausener
360/902-5516

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