WSR 97-03-084

PROPOSED RULES

DEPARTMENT OF

LABOR AND INDUSTRIES

[Filed January 15, 1997, 11:19 a.m.]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 96-21-069.

Title of Rule: Journeyman plumber certification and medical gas.

Purpose: Chapter 296-400 WAC, Certification of competency for journeyman plumbers, state-initiated proposed revisions to chapter 296-400 WAC, Certification of competency for journeyman plumbers, are made to comply with RCW 34.05.220(5). Consequently, clear rule-writing techniques have been used to rewrite the entire chapter. Following the recommendation of the Office of the Code Reviser, chapter 296-400 WAC has been repealed in its entirety and replaced with chapter 296-400A WAC. The following sections of chapter 296-400 WAC have been repealed: WAC 296-400-005 Definitions, 296-400-020 Plumbers with license or practicing the plumbing trade at effective date of the act, 296-400-030 Issuing of temporary certificate, 296-400-035 Inactive status, 296-400-045 Plumber examination, certification, reinstatement, and temporary permit fees, 296-400-050 Meetings of governor's advisory board, 296-400-070 Reciprocity, 296-400-100 Computation of years of employment, 296-400-110 Previous experience credit, 296-400-120 Plumber trainee certificates, 296-400-130 Penalties for false statements or material misrepresentation, 296-400-140 Enforcement, and 296-400-300 Procedures for notices of infraction.

Chapter 296-400A WAC, Certification of competency for journeyman plumbers, state-initiated proposed clear rule-writing amendments to chapter 296-400A WAC, Certification of competency for journeyman plumbers are made to:

Move existing chapter 296-400 WAC requirements into new sections in chapter 296-400A WAC.

Rewrite the rules in a clear rule-writing style.

Remove outdated and redundant language to make the rules easier to read.

Use questions for section titles to better describe the information contained in each rule section and to better engage the reader.

Use a less formal voice in the rules and eliminated the passive voice when possible.

Reorganize some rule sections to make them easier to use.

The following sections of chapter 296-400A WAC, Certification of competency for journeyman plumbers, have been rewritten in a clear rule-writing style without any substantive change to their content: WAC 296-400A-030 Do I need a temporary permit? WAC 296-400A-031 How do I qualify for a temporary permit? WAC 296-400A-033 What is the duration of a temporary permit? WAC 296-400A-050 When does the advisory board of plumbers meet? WAC 296-400A-110 Does previous work experience count toward my trainee certificate? and WAC 296-400A-140 How does the department enforce plumber certification requirements?

The following sections of chapter 296-400A WAC, Certification of competency for journeyman plumbers, have been rewritten in a clear rule-writing style with state-initiated substantive changes to their content. Basically, the state-initiated substantive changes clarify current department policies and practices, increase plumber fees by 4.45% and increase trainee hours to more closely approach national norms.

WAC 296-400A-005 What definitions do I need to know to understand these rules? Proposed changes are made:

To clarify the definition of "journeyman plumber" by adding language describing the worksites on which a journeyman plumber may work.

To include a definition of "trainee plumber."

WAC 296-400A-020 How do I obtain a certificate of competency? Proposed changes are made to delete the "grandfather clause" relating to the 1973 Plumbers Licensing Act (chapter 175, Laws of 1973 1st ex. sess.) because it is outdated and no longer affects the trade.

WAC 296-400A-032 How do I obtain a temporary permit? Proposed changes are made to clarify the fees that a trainee must pay to obtain a temporary permit.

WAC 296-400A-035 How can I be placed on inactive status? Proposed changes are made to describe what is meant by "inactive status."

WAC 296-400A-045 What fees will I have to pay? Proposed changes are made:

To clarify the reciprocity fee charged by the department.

To increase plumber fees by 4.45% to help off-set increased program costs.

WAC 296-400A-070 Can I work as a certified plumber in Washington without taking the Washington state plumbers competency examination? Proposed changes are made:

To clarify the process of reciprocity.

To clarify the reciprocity fee charged by the department.

To identify the department's contact person regarding reciprocity questions.

WAC 296-400A-100 For certification purposes, how are "years of employment" computed and documented? Proposed changes are made to increase trainee hours to levels more in line with national apprenticeship standards.

WAC 296-400A-120 What do I need to know about plumber trainee certificates? Proposed changes are made to increase trainee hours to levels more in line with national apprenticeship standards.

WAC 296-400A-121 What do I need to know about trainee experience and plumber examination requirements? Proposed changes are made:

To increase trainee hours to levels more in line with national apprenticeship standards.

To clarify, by referencing RCW 18.106.070(3), when a trainee, working without direct supervision, can take the journeyman plumber examination.

To add subsection (4) which provides a more realistic study timeline for applicants who have failed the competency examination and puts in-state apprentices on an equal footing with out-of-state plumbers moving to Washington by eliminating the mandatory six-month waiting period for reexamination.

WAC 296-400A-130 What if I make a false statement or a material misrepresentation on an application, an employment report or a trainee certificate? Proposed changes are made to increase the employment hours that a trainee may be penalized from 1,800 to 2,000.

Legislative-initiated proposed changes to chapter 296-400A WAC, Certification of competency of journeyman plumbers, are made to comply with recent amendments to chapter 18.106 RCW. These legislative-initiated proposed changes do establish additional compliance requirements.

WAC 296-400A-005 What definitions do I need to know to understand these rules? Proposed changes are made to add a definition for medical gas piping systems and to include medical gas piping system in the definition of "plumbing." Both changes are required by HB 1445 (1995).

WAC 296-400A-300 What procedures does the department follow when issuing a notice of infraction? Proposed changes are made to implement ESHB 2626 (1994) which clarifies who the department may cite for an infraction of either chapter 18.106 RCW or chapter 296-400 WAC and the appeal procedures available to the individual who has been cited.

WAC 296-400A-400 What are the monetary penalties for violating certification requirements? This proposed new rule will implement ESHB 2626 (1994) which authorizes the department to establish a schedule of penalties for plumbing infractions.

WAC 296-400A-425 What if I owe outstanding penalties related to a department issued plumber infraction? This proposed new rule will implement SHB 2498 (1996) which allows the department to deny renewing plumbing certificates if the holder owes the department infraction penalties.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 18.106.050, 18.106.070, 18.106.110, 18.106.125, 18.106.140, and 18.106.270.

Statute Being Implemented: RCW 18.106.010, 18.106.020, 18.106.100, and 18.106.270.

Summary: See Purpose above.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: See Purpose above.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting: Kevin Morris, 7273 Linderson Way, Tumwater, WA, (360) 902-5578; Implementation and Enforcement: Frank Leuck, 7273 Linderson Way, Tumwater, WA, (360) 902-5495.

Name of Proponent: Department of Labor and Industries, governmental.

Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision. State laws ESHB 2626, HB 1445, and SHB 2498.

Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: See Purpose above.

Proposal Changes the Following Existing Rules: See Purpose above.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. The department has considered whether these proposed rules are subject to the Regulatory Fairness Act and has determined that they do not require a small business economic impact statement because the proposed rules will not place a more than minor impact on business.

Section 201, chapter 403, Laws of 1995, applies to this rule adoption. The proposed rule amendments are considered to be "significant legislative rules" for the following reasons:

(1) The rules have been completely rewritten in a "clear rule writing" format.

(2) The rules adopt new policies. See Purpose above.

(3) The rules change the requirements for issuing trainee certificates by increasing trainee hours.

(4) The rules subject a violator to infraction penalties.

Hearing Location: On February 25, 1997, at 1:00 p.m., at the Department of Labor and Industries Building, Auditorium, 7273 Linderson Way, Tumwater, WA; and on February 27, 1997, at 1:00 p.m., at the Spokane County Public Works Building, County Commissioners Assembly Room (lower level), 1026 West Broadway, Spokane, WA.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact George Huffman by February 10, 1997, (360) 902-6411.

Submit Written Comments to: Department of Labor and Industries, Attention: Pete Schmidt, Program Manager for Specialty Compliance, P.O. Box 44655, Olympia, WA 98504-4655, by no later than 5:00 p.m., March 6, 1997.

In addition to written comments, the department will accept comments submitted to FAX (360) 902-5292. Comments submitted by FAX must be ten pages or less.

Date of Intended Adoption: May 20, 1997.

January 13, 1996 [1997]

Mark O. Brown

Director

REPEALER

The following chapter of the Washington Administrative Code is repealed:

WAC 296-400-005 Definitions.

WAC 296-400-020 Plumbers with license or practicing the plumbing trade at effective date of the act.

WAC 296-400-030 Issuing of temporary certificate.

WAC 296-400-035 Inactive status.

WAC 296-400-045 Plumber examination, certification, reinstatement, and temporary permit fees.

WAC 296-400-050 Meetings of governor's advisory board.

WAC 296-400-070 Reciprocity.

WAC 296-400-100 Computation of years of employment.

WAC 296-400-110 Previous experience credit.

WAC 296-400-120 Plumber trainee certificates.

WAC 296-400-130 Penalties for false statements or material misrepresentation.

WAC 296-400-140 Enforcement.

WAC 296-400-300 Procedures for notices of infraction.

Chapter 296-400A WAC


CERTIFICATION OF COMPETENCY FOR JOURNEYMAN PLUMBERS

NEW SECTION

WAC 296-400A-005 What definitions do I need to know to understand these rules? Unless a different meaning is clearly required by the context, the following terms and definitions are important:

"Advisory board" is the state advisory board of plumbers.

"Department" is the department of labor and industries.

"Director" is the director of the department of labor and industries.

"Journeyman plumber" is anyone who has learned the commercial plumbing trade and has been issued a journeyman certificate of competency by the department. A journeyman plumber may work on plumbing projects including residential, commercial and industrial worksite locations.

"Medical gas piping systems" are piping systems that convey or involve oxygen, nitrous oxide, high pressure nitrogen, medical compressed air and medical vacuum systems.

"Plumbing" is that craft involved in installing, altering, repairing and renovating potable water systems, liquid waste systems and medical gas piping systems within a building. The installation of water softening or water treatment equipment into a water system is not considered plumbing.

"Specialty plumber" is anyone who has been issued a specialty plumbers certificate of competency by the department. Specialty plumber certificates are limited to the installation, maintenance and repair of plumbing for single-family dwellings, duplexes and apartment buildings which do not exceed three stories.

"Trainee plumber" is anyone who has been issued a trainee certificate and is learning or being trained in the plumbing trade with direct supervision of either a journeyman plumber or specialty plumber working in their specialty.

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NEW SECTION

WAC 296-400A-020 How do I obtain a certificate of competency? You can obtain a certificate of competency by completing the following requirements:

(1) Submitting a competency examination application to the department; and

(2) Paying the examination fee shown in WAC 296-400A-045; and

(3) Submitting the required evidence of competency and experience to the department; and

(4) Passing the competency examination.

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NEW SECTION

WAC 296-400A-030 Do I need a temporary permit? If you are an out-of-state journeyman residing in a state that does not have a reciprocal agreement with Washington and you would like to work as a plumber in Washington, you need a temporary permit.

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NEW SECTION

WAC 296-400A-031 How do I qualify for a temporary permit? To qualify for a temporary permit, you must:

(1) Have a state-issued journeyman plumbers certificate; and

(2) Give the department sufficient qualifying evidence for a journeyman plumber certificate of competency; and

(3) Never have taken the journeyman competency examination in Washington state; and

(4) Not be an apprentice plumber.

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NEW SECTION

WAC 296-400A-032 How do I obtain a temporary permit? If you qualify, you can obtain a temporary permit by applying to the department and paying both the examination application fee and the temporary permit fee shown in WAC 296-400A-045.

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NEW SECTION

WAC 296-400A-033 What is the duration of a temporary permit? A temporary permit is valid for ninety days and is nonrenewable.

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NEW SECTION

WAC 296-400A-035 How can I be placed on inactive status? To be placed on inactive status, you must meet these three requirements:

(1) Be a currently registered plumber; and

(2) Be at least sixty-two years of age; and

(3) Not be working in the plumbing trade.

Inactive status means that you are not currently working in the plumbing trade and you are not required to pay the annual certificate renewal fee. You may return to active status, without reexamination, by paying the reinstatement of a journeyman certificate fee shown in WAC 296-400A-045.

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NEW SECTION

WAC 296-400A-045 What fees will I have to pay? The following are the department's plumbers fees:



[Open Style:Columns Off]

Type of Fee Period Covered by Fee Dollar Amount of Fee

Examination application Per examination $104.25

Reciprocity application Per application $104.25

Trainee certificate* One year $31.25

Trainee certificate Less than one year $3.00 per month with a minimum fee of $20.75

Temporary permit 90 days $52.00

Journeyman or specialty certificate** Two years $83.50

Journeyman or specialty certificate Less than two years $3.50 per month with a minimum fee of $31.25

Reinstatement of a journeyman certificate $167.00

Replacement of all certificates $31.25

* The trainee certificate shall expire one year from the date of issuance and be renewed on or before the date of expiration.

** This fee applies to either the original issuance or a renewal of a certificate. If you have passed the plumbers certificate of competency examination and paid the certificate fee, you will be issued a certificate of competency that will expire on your birthdate.



[Open Style:Columns On]

If your birth year is:

(1) In an even-numbered year, your certificate will expire on your birthdate in the next even-numbered year.

(2) In an odd-numbered year, your certificate will expire on your birthdate in the next odd-numbered year.

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NEW SECTION

WAC 296-400A-050 When does the advisory board of plumbers meet? The advisory board of plumbers meets every quarter on the third Tuesday of January, April, July and October.

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NEW SECTION

WAC 296-400A-070 Can I work as a certified plumber in Washington without taking the Washington state plumbers competency examination? You may be eligible to work in Washington state without taking an examination if:

(1) You have a current plumbers certificate or license from another state; and

(2) That state has a current reciprocal agreement with the department of labor and industries; and

(3) You pay the reciprocity application fee and journeyman or specialty certificate fee shown in WAC 296-400A-045.

The director of labor and industries negotiates reciprocal agreements with states that have equivalent requirements for certification and licensing of journeyman and specialty plumbers. The agreement allows plumbers from those states to work in Washington and Washington-registered plumbers to work in the other state without taking competency examinations. To find out if your state has an agreement with the department, contact the plumber's certification clerk at the department's Tumwater, WA headquarters.

Reciprocity agreements cannot be used to take the Washington state competency examination instead of the examination in your home state.

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NEW SECTION

WAC 296-400A-100 For certification purposes, how are "years of employment" computed and documented? (1) For certification purposes, 2,000 hours of employment is considered one year. See RCW 18.106.070(2).

(2) When you renew your certificate, you must document your previous years' plumbing work by accurately completing the department's approved form and submitting it to the department.

(3) If you have completed a one, two, three, four or more years plumbing construction trainee program, you must have the necessary training hours for the year in which you are registered. See RCW 18.106.040.

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NEW SECTION

WAC 296-400A-110 Does previous work experience count toward my trainee certificate? If your work experience was in plumbing construction, you will be given credit for all verifiable hours that are properly submitted on the department's approved form. (Refer to the definition of "plumbing" in WAC 296-400A-005.)

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NEW SECTION

WAC 296-400A-120 What do I need to know about plumber trainee certificates? (1) The department issues separate trainee certificates according to the following schedule:



Certificate Year Hours Employed As Plumber Trainee

First Less than 2,000 hours

Second More than 1,999 hours

but less than 4,000 hours

Third More than 3,999 hours but less than

6,000 hours

Fourth More than 5,999 hours

(2) You may apply for the next year's trainee certificate whenever you have the required documented work hours.

(3) You cannot be issued a training certificate for more than eight years unless the department determines that there are extenuating circumstances.

(4) If you are a trainee applying for a journeyman certificate, you must complete a minimum of two of the required four years commercial plumbing experience.

(5) A certified specialty plumber working on a commercial job site may work as a journeyman trainee only if they have a current trainee certificate on their person while performing commercial plumbing work.

(6) On a job site, the ratio of certified plumbers to noncertified plumbers must be:

(a) One specialty plumber or journeyman working on a specialty plumbing job may supervise no more than two trainees.

(b) One journeyman plumber working on a commercial job may supervise no more than one trainee.

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NEW SECTION

WAC 296-400A-121 What do I need to know about trainee experience and plumber examination requirements? (1) If you possess a trainee certificate:

(a) You may take the specialty plumber examination after completing 6,000 hours of documented training.

(b) You may take the journeyman examination after completing 8,000 hours of documented training which must include 4,000 hours of commercial plumbing experience.

(2) All journeyman trainees must work under the direct supervision of a journeyman plumber until they have completed 7,500 hours of training. After completing the 7,500 supervised hours, a trainee may work without direct supervision until they complete 8,000 hours. (See RCW 18.106.070(3).)

When 8,000 training hours have been completed, the trainee must take the journeyman examination. Any trainee who has failed the journeyman plumber examination cannot retake the examination for at least one month and must work under the direct supervision of a journeyman plumber until the examination is passed.

(3) To be eligible for the specialty plumber's examination, a specialty trainee must complete 6,000 hours of training under the direct supervision of either a certified specialty plumber or a journeyman plumber. Any specialty trainee who has failed the specialty examination, cannot retake the examination for at least one month and must work under the direct supervision of a certified plumber until the examination is passed.

(4) Any applicant (trainee, specialty plumber or journeyman) who fails an examination, will be required to wait at least one month before retaking the examination. If an applicant fails the second attempt, the waiting period for reexamination will be extended to at least two months. An applicant who fails the examination a third time will have a mandatory waiting period of at least four months.

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NEW SECTION

WAC 296-400A-130 What if I make a false statement or a material misrepresentation on an application, an employment report or a trainee certificate? (1) All required applications and annual statements of employment hours are made under oath. Making false statements and/or material misrepresentations carry serious consequences. Any person who knowingly makes a false statement or material misrepresentation on an application, an affidavit of experience or a trainee certificate may be referred to the county prosecutor for criminal prosecution. In addition, the department may subtract a maximum of 2,000 employment hours from a trainee's acceptable total hours.

(2) The department's decisions, under this section, can be appealed to the advisory board. The appeal hearing will be conducted according to the appropriate provisions of chapter 34.05 RCW.

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NEW SECTION

WAC 296-400A-140 How does the department enforce plumbers certification requirements? The department enforces plumber certification requirements by means of job-site inspections conducted by department compliance inspectors. The inspector must determine whether:

(1) Each person doing plumbing work has a proper certificate on their person; and

(2) The ratio of certified specialty and/or journeyman plumbers to certified trainees is correct; and

(3) That each certified trainee is directly supervised by either a certified specialty plumber or a certified journeyman.

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NEW SECTION

WAC 296-400A-300 What procedures does the department follow when issuing a notice of infraction? (1) If a compliance inspector determines that an individual has violated plumber certification requirements, the department must issue a notice of infraction describing the reasons for the citation.

(2) The department may issue a notice of infraction to either:

(a) An individual who is plumbing without a current plumber certificate; or

(b) The employer of the individual who is plumbing without a current plumber certificate; or

(c) The employer's authorizing agent or foreman that made the work assignment to the individual who is plumbing without a current plumber certificate.

(3) An individual may appeal a notice of infraction by complying with the appropriate provisions of RCW 18.106.220.

(4) If good cause is shown, an administrative law judge may waive, reduce or suspend any monetary penalties resulting from the citation.

(5) Any monetary penalties collected under this chapter, must be deposited in the plumbing certificate fund.

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NEW SECTION

WAC 296-400A-400 What are the monetary penalties for violating certification requirements? (1) A person cited for an infraction under RCW 18.106.020 (3)(a), (b) or (c) must be assessed a monetary penalty based upon the following schedule:

First Infraction $250.00

Second Infraction $500.00

Third Infraction $750.00

Fourth Infraction Not more than $1,000.00

(2) Each day a person is in violation must be considered a separate infraction.

(3) Each job site at which a person is in violation must be considered a separate infraction.

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NEW SECTION

WAC 296-400A-425 What if I owe outstanding penalties related to a department issued plumber infraction? The department may deny renewal of your certificate of competency if you owe outstanding penalties. The department must notify you of their denial by registered mail, return receipt requested. This notice of denial will be mailed to the address on your application.

Upon receipt of the notice, you have twenty days to file a notice of appeal with the department. Your notice of appeal must be accompanied by a certified check for two hundred dollars. This amount will be returned to you if the department's decision is not upheld by the hearings officer. If the hearings officer upholds the department's decision, the two hundred dollars must be applied to the cost of the hearing.

The office of administrative hearings shall conduct the hearing under chapter 34.05 RCW.

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