(1) An employee designated by the department as a technical assistance officer or as a member of a technical assistance unit may not, during the period of the designation, have authority to issue orders or assess penalties on behalf of the department. Such an employee who provides on-site consultation at an industrial or commercial facility and who observes violations of the law shall inform the owner or operator of the facility of the violations. On-site consultation visits by such an employee may not be regarded as inspections or investigations and no notices or citations may be issued or civil penalties assessed during such a visit. However, violations of the law must be reported to the appropriate officers within the department. If the owner or operator of the facility does not correct the observed violations within a reasonable time, the department may reinspect the facility and take appropriate enforcement action. If a technical assistance officer or member of a technical assistance unit observes a violation of the law that places a person in danger of death or substantial bodily harm, or has caused or is likely to cause physical damage to the property of others in an amount exceeding one thousand dollars, the department may initiate enforcement action immediately upon observing the violation.
(2) The state, the department, and officers or employees of the state shall not be liable for damages to a person to the extent that liability is asserted to arise from the performance by technical assistance officers of their duties, or if liability is asserted to arise from the failure of the department to supply technical assistance.