ENGROSSED HOUSE BILL 1352







                        52nd Legislature

                      1991 Regular Session



Passed by the House April 28, 1991

  Yeas 98   Nays 0




Speaker of the

       House of Representatives


Passed by the Senate April 28, 1991

  Yeas 48   Nays 0




President of the Senate












Governor of the State of Washington



I, Alan Thompson, Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives of the State of Washington, do hereby certify that the attached is ENGROSSED HOUSE BILL 1352 as passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on the dates hereon set forth.




                                      Chief Clerk











                        Secretary of State   

                       State of Washington  




                             ENGROSSED HOUSE BILL 1352





                     Passed Legislature - 1991 Regular Session



State of Washington              52nd Legislature             1991 Regular Session


By Representatives Jones, Vance, Cole, Wynne, Moyer, Miller, Paris, Ballard, May, Basich, Forner and Silver; by request of Department of Labor & Industries.


Read first time January 28, 1991.  Referred to Committee on Commerce & Labor.Making confidential certain information acquired by the department of labor and industries.

     AN ACT Relating to confidential information acquired by the department of labor and industries through research, experiments, demonstrations, and employer-requested services; and amending RCW 49.17.210, 49.17.250, and 51.36.060.




     Sec. 1.  RCW 49.17.210 and 1973 c 80 s 21 are each amended to read as follows:

     The director is authorized to conduct, either directly or by grant or contract, research, experiments, and demonstrations as may be of aid and assistance in the furtherance of the objects and purposes of this chapter.  Employer identity, employee identity, and personal identifiers of voluntary participants in research, experiments, and demonstrations shall be deemed confidential and shall not be open to public inspection.  Information obtained from such voluntary activities shall not be deemed to be medical information for the purpose of RCW 51.36.060 and shall be deemed confidential and shall not be open to public inspection.  The director, in his or her discretion, is authorized to grant a variance from any rule or regulation or portion thereof, whenever he or she determines that such variance is necessary to permit an employer to participate in an experiment approved by the director, ((which)) and the experiment is designed to demonstrate or validate new and improved techniques to safeguard the health or safety of employees.  Any such variance shall require that all due regard be given to the health and safety of all employees participating in any experiment.


     Sec. 2.  RCW 49.17.250 and 1973 c 80 s 25 are each amended to read as follows:

     (1) In carrying out ((his)) the responsibilities for the development of a voluntary compliance program under the authority of RCW 49.17.050(8) and the rendering of advisory and consultative services to employers, the director may grant an employer's application for advice and consultation, and for the purpose of affording such consultation and advice visit the employer's work place.  Such consultation and advice shall be limited to the matters specified in the request affecting the interpretation and applicability of safety and health standards to the conditions, structures, machines, equipment, apparatus, devices, materials, methods, means, and practices in the employer's work place.  The director in granting any requests for consultative or advisory service may provide for an alternative means of affording consultation and advice other than on-site consultation.

     (2) The director, or ((his)) an authorized representative, ((may)) will make recommendations regarding the elimination of any hazards disclosed within the scope of the on-site consultation.  No visit to an employer's work place shall be regarded as an inspection or investigation under the authority of this chapter, and no notices or citations shall be issued, nor, shall any civil penalties be assessed upon such visit, nor shall any authorized representative of the director designated to render advice and consult with employers under the voluntary compliance program have any enforcement authority:  PROVIDED, That in the event an on-site visit discloses a serious violation of a health and safety standard as defined in RCW 49.17.180(6), and the hazard of such violation is either not abated by the cooperative action of the employer, or, is not subject to being satisfactorily abated by the cooperative action of the employer, the director shall either invoke the administrative restraining authority provided in RCW 49.17.130 or seek the issuance of injunctive process under the authority of RCW 49.17.170 or invoke both such remedies.

     (3) Nothing in this section shall be construed as providing immunity to any employer who has made application for consultative services during the pendency of the granting of such application from inspections or investigations conducted under RCW 49.17.070 or any inspection conducted as a result of a complaint, nor immunity from inspections under RCW 49.17.070 or inspections resulting from a complaint subsequent to the conclusion of the consultative period.  This section shall not be construed as requiring an inspection under RCW 49.17.070 of any work place which has been visited for consultative purposes.  However, in the event of a subsequent inspection, the director, or ((his)) an authorized representative, may in his or her discretion take into consideration any information obtained during the consultation visit of that work place in determining the nature of an alleged violation and the amount of penalties to be assessed, if any.  Such rules and regulations to be promulgated pursuant to this section shall provide that in all instances of serious violations as defined in RCW 49.17.180(6) which are disclosed in any consultative period, shall be corrected within a specified period of time at the expiration of which an inspection will be conducted under the authority of RCW 49.17.070.  All employers requesting consultative services shall be advised of the provisions of this section and the rules adopted by the director relating to the voluntary compliance program.  Information obtained by the department as a result of employer-requested consultation and training services shall be deemed confidential and shall not be open to public inspection.  Within thirty days of receipt, the employer shall make voluntary services reports available to employees or their collective bargaining representatives for review.  Employers may satisfy the availability requirement by requesting a copy of the reports from the department.  The director may provide by rule for the frequency, manner, and method of the rendering of consultative services to employers, and for the scheduling and priorities in granting applications consistent with the availability of personnel, and in such a manner as not to jeopardize the enforcement requirements of this chapter.


     Sec. 3.  RCW 51.36.060 and 1989 c 12 s 17 are each amended to read as follows:

     Physicians examining or attending injured workers under this title shall comply with rules and regulations adopted by the director, and shall make such reports as may be requested by the department or self-insurer upon the condition or treatment of any such worker, or upon any other matters concerning such workers in their care.  Except under RCW 49.17.210 and 49.17.250, all medical information in the possession or control of any person and relevant to the particular injury in the opinion of the department pertaining to any worker whose injury or occupational disease is the basis of a claim under this title shall be made available at any stage of the proceedings to the employer, the claimant's representative, and the department upon request, and no person shall incur any legal liability by reason of releasing such information.