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December 17, 2002

L&I pledges to protect its workers in the field

TUMWATER - The Department of Labor & Industries said it will take whatever steps are necessary to provide protection to its inspectors and other employees in the field who occasionally encounter threatening people.

A recent example occurred in Winthrop, Okanogan County, in which L&I asked the county prosecutor to file charges against a man who assaulted an L&I electrical inspector. The man ultimately was convicted by a jury of fourth-degree assault and received a one-year deferred jail sentence. Also, he was ordered to have business-only contact with the L&I employee and to pay court costs.

"The vast majority of our encounters in the field are cordial and friendly," said Joel Sacks, L&I's deputy director for Field Services. "But when someone threatens one of our staff people who are carrying out their duties, we take that seriously and will take appropriate steps."

L&I provides for medical and financial benefits to injured workers and crime victims, promotes workplace safety and health, protects consumers from unsound building practices, ensures legal employment practices and assists in the development of a skilled and diverse workforce.

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