LABOR AND INDUSTRIES
[Filed August 7, 2020, 9:07 a.m., effective August 7, 2020, 9:07 a.m.]
Effective Date of Rule: Immediately upon filing.
Purpose: This emergency rule is necessary to align the general journeyman electrician and specialty electrician licensing qualifications for reciprocity with the state of Oregon to facilitate a reciprocal agreement, as authorized by RCW 19.28.231
. The emergency rule incorporates the qualifying conditions for issuance of reciprocal licenses for electricians from WAC 296-46B-940, with additional changes to some provisions. The proposed rule language removes the requirements for a one year waiting period and allows applicants who qualify to immediately apply for a reciprocal certificate with Washington. It also removes provisions that exclude certain individuals from qualifying for a reciprocal certificate if they previously failed the Washington examination. This rule making does not change requirements that reciprocal agreements can only be made with states that have equivalent qualifications as Washington.
Citation of Rules Affected by this Order: Amending WAC 296-46B-941 Electrician certificate reciprocity.
Statutory Authority for Adoption: Chapter 19.28
RCW, Electricians and electrical installations, including RCW 19.28.031
Other Authority: None.
Under RCW 34.05.350
the agency for good cause finds that immediate adoption, amendment, or repeal of a rule is necessary for the preservation of the public health, safety, or general welfare, and that observing the time requirements of notice and opportunity to comment upon adoption of a permanent rule would be contrary to the public interest.
Reasons for this Finding: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for electricians in the state will grow eighteen percent from 2018 to 2028, almost twice as fast as the national average. As homes and businesses require more wiring, more electricians are needed to install the necessary components. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the labor shortage is expected to continue as the construction economy continues to recover.
Social distancing requirements brought on by COVID-19 have reduced availability of electrician examinations. Positive COVID-19 test results are causing workforce instability. Property owners and employers reassess staffing needs on a continuous basis as a result. To remain employed, electricians may need to pass another state's examination to work there. To remain in business, employers must have access to electricians who have proper credentials. Because there are no reciprocal agreements, Oregon employers shifting their workforce to projects in Washington face delays while their electricians schedule and pass examinations. The same is true for Washington employers and their electricians pursuing work in Oregon.
The impacts of the shortage of qualified electricians include:
|•||Small projects delayed because electricians seek work on large projects that offer inflated wages;|
|•||Companies stop bidding, causing delays in starting new projects;|
|•||Projects take longer to complete resulting in cost overruns; and|
|•||Public safety risks associated with hazards created when unqualified individuals step in to perform electrical work when qualified electricians are not available.|
To help address these issues, the emergency rule allows electricians in Washington and Oregon to qualify for certification with the other state. This is necessary for the preservation of public safety by helping to alleviate the severe shortage of electricians, and provide more access to qualified electricians working near the border between Washington and Oregon.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted at the Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's own Initiative: New 1, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 1, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 1, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Date Adopted: August 7, 2020.
WAC 296-46B-941Electrician certificate reciprocity.
Notwithstanding WAC 246-46B-940:
(1) An individual will be issued a reciprocal electrician certificate of competency if all the following conditions are met:
(a) The department has a valid reciprocal agreement with the other state in the journey level or specialty category requested;
(b) The individual makes a complete application for a reciprocal certificate on the form provided by the department. A complete application includes:
(i) Application for reciprocal certificate of competency;
(ii) Evidence that the individual meets the eligibility requirements listed in RCW 19.28.191
, by presenting a current, valid journey person or specialty electrician certificate or certified letter from the issuing state attesting to possession of such certificate by the applicant:
(A) Evidence from an apprenticeship training director that any journey level category applicant has successfully completed an apprenticeship program that is equivalent to an apprenticeship program approved under chapter 49.04
RCW approved by the department for the electrical construction trade in which the applicant worked in the electrical construction trade for a minimum of eight thousand hours; or
(B) Evidence that any journey level category applicant has worked in the electrical construction trade for a minimum of sixteen thousand hours.
(iii) All appropriate fees as listed in WAC 296-46B-909.
(c) The individual obtained the reciprocal state's certificate of competency as a journey level or specialty electrician by examination.
(2) An individual is not eligible for a reciprocal electrician certificate of competency if the individual:
(a) Has failed to renew a similar Washington electrician certificate of competency as required in RCW 19.28.211
(b) Has a similar Washington electrician certificate of competency in suspended, revoked, or inactive status under this chapter; or
(c) Owes money as a result of an outstanding final judgment(s) to the department; or
(d) Has taken and failed a Washington exam for the certificate being applied for within the past two years.