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How to view the total solar eclipse safely

In a 70-mile wide band from central Oregon through South Carolina, a total eclipse of the sun will be visible across the entire continental United States for the first time in almost 40 years. Here's how you can safely enjoy this sight of the century!

A total solar eclipse—when the moon completely covers the sun—will be visible from coast to coast on August 21, 2017. This amazing event lasts only about 2 minutes and is safe to watch, but the partial eclipse that happens before and after can permanently damage your vision. Use proper eye protection for safe viewing!

In a 70-mile wide band from central Oregon through South Carolina, a total eclipse of the sun will be visible across the entire continental United States for the first time in almost 40 years. The rest of the nation and parts of North and Central America will experience a partial solar eclipse.

Without special eye protection, viewing a partial eclipse can cause vision loss, even permanent blindness. But, with proper eyewear or a solar viewer, you can safely enjoy this sight of the century.

Looking directly at the sun without the correct eye protection, even for a short time, can cause permanent damage to your retinas, a light-sensitive part of the eye that transmits what you see to your brain. Damage can occur without pain, and it can take a few hours or even a few days after viewing the eclipse to have symptoms of damage, which include not being able to see colors as well and loss of central vision, with only side vision remaining. If you notice any symptoms after viewing the solar eclipse, seek immediate help from your eye care professional.

The only way to look directly at the sun when it’s not eclipsed or is only partly eclipsed is with a special solar filter, such as eclipse glasses or a handheld solar viewer. Goggles, homemade filters, or sunglasses, even very dark ones, will not protect your eyes.

Also, always avoid looking at the sun through an unfiltered camera, smartphone, telescope, or any other optical device. You’ll need to add a certified solar filter to these devices to safely look at the sun.

Eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers are inexpensive and can be purchased from many retailers. However, not all meet the required ISO 12312-2 international safety standards; make sure yours do.

Even if your eclipse glasses meet the safety standards, don’t use them if:
• The lenses are scratched.
• The lenses are wrinkled.
• They are older than 3 years.

You can also make your own simple and inexpensive pinhole projector to safely view the eclipse. Be sure to follow instructions carefully, and never look at the sun through the pinhole.

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L&I is looking into Acupuncture

Acupuncture Pilot Project FAQ

1. What is the L&I Acupuncture Pilot Project?

The Acupuncture Pilot Project will collect information to inform the provision of acupuncture treatment for low back pain, including acupuncture provided by East Asian Medicine Practitioners (EAMPs), to injured or ill workers covered by Washington’s workers’ compensation system. This project provides a structured environment for care delivery and capture of data that will inform future L&I coverage and payment methodology for acupuncture. While the project is underway, the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) will pay qualified providers participating in the pilot project to deliver acupuncture treatment to injured workers with low back pain related to an accepted condition on an open workers’ compensation claim.


2. How long will the pilot run?

The pilot will run for up to two years, from 2017 to 2019.


3. Who is qualified to participate in the pilot?

a. East Asian Medicine Practitioners (EAMPs) licensed through the Washington State Department of Health who also complete and submit a non-network Provider Account Application.

b. Participating Medical Provider Network (MPN) providers (MD/DO) that have an individual L&I provider number.


4. Can all injured workers receive acupuncture treatment?

No, the following conditions must be met in order for an injured worker to receive acupuncture treatment.

a. The treatment must be for low back pain related to an accepted condition on an open workers’ compensation claim.

b. The acupuncture treatment will be reimbursed only when referred by the worker's attending provider.


5. What kinds of services are covered in the pilot program?

a. Acupuncture treatment, for low back pain related to an accepted condition on a workers’ compensation claim only, is covered up to a maximum of 10 visits per injured worker’s claim. Providers are expected to continue treatment only if clinically meaningful improvement is documented midway through treatment. Only the medically necessary number of acupuncture treatments should be provided.

b. Other treatment modalities within EAMPs’ scope of practice are not covered under this pilot, and will not be separately reimbursed. Please note that to provide acupuncture, you must accept L&I’s payment as sole and complete remuneration for services provided to the worker as required by Washington State law (no balance-billing is allowed).


Learn more at

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Proposed 2017 Amendments to Logging Chapter 296-54

Proposed Amendments to Chapter 296-54 WAC Safety Standards - Logging Operations

Chapter 296-54 WAC Safety Standards - Logging Operations

CR-102 Filing Date: March 21, 2017
Proposed Adoption Date: August 1, 2017

In response to multiple petitions received, the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I), Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), initiated rulemaking by filing a pre-proposal statement of inquiry (CR-101) regarding the logging requirements currently located in Chapter 296-54 WAC, Logging Operations. We intend to work with stakeholders to develop proposed rule language.

L&I received several petitions for rulemaking from the Washington Contract Loggers Association (WCLA) in 2010. The department started rulemaking in response to the petitions. In 2012, the department put their rulemaking effort on hold to launch the Logger Safety Initiative (LSI). The WCLA petitioned the department in 2014 to reopen rulemaking following the successful launch of the LSI program.

Public Hearing:

Date: May 15, 2017

Time: 9:00 a.m.

Department of Labor and Industries
Room S117
7273 Linderson Way SW
Tumwater, WA 98501

View the Rulemaking Proposal (CR-102)
View the Proposed Language
Please contact Tari Enos with any rulemaking questions.
Please contact Larry Markee with any technical questions.

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Preferred Worker Program - New and Improved!

The Preferred Worker Program has been recently transformed from a rarely used benefit to an incredibly valuable program employers should take advantage of. Unlike the prior program, employers can now bring back their own injured workers.

The program offers employers benefits, such as:

• 50% Wage Refund up to $10,000 in first 66 days
• Equipment & Tool Refund up to $2,500 in first 66 days
• Clothing Refund up to $400 in first 66 days
• New Claim Protection for up to 3 years
• Workers’ Comp Discount for up to 3 years

Plus, after employing a Preferred Worker for 12 continuous months, the employer becomes eligible for a “Continuous Employment” incentive of 10% of wages or $10,000 (whichever is less)!

Who gets certified as a Preferred Worker?
An injured worker may be certified as a Preferred Worker if he or she has an open claim which results in permanent restriction.

What does the Employer need to do to hire a Preferred Worker?
In order to qualify, an employer must offer a job which is approved by the worker’s medical provider and be accepted by the injured worker in writing. Learning more about the documentation requirements is advised in order to access the many benefits to workers and employers alike.

It’s a Win-Win!
The Preferred Worker Program answers the needs of so many in Washington State by providing major incentives for ongoing employment for injured workers whom otherwise were facing uncertain economic futures and assuring employers for 3 years that any new claim filed by that Preferred Worker will not be charged to their experience rating or retro group.

Approach Management Services has the expertise and specialists on staff to aid employers with the Preferred Worker Program. We complete the necessary forms and can assist in creating a new job description and the job offer letter. Contact your Approach Management Services Retro Coordinator today to guide you through this process.

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Company fined more than $100,000 for unsafe forklifts

Forklifts are among the most hazardous vehicles in the workplace, with a great risk of injury and death if they’re not maintained and operated safely. Employers who knowingly and repeatedly expose workers to unsafe forklifts may face stiff penalties.

That’s what happened with a company. The Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) has cited, a total of $117,740 for willful and repeated serious workplace safety violations at its plant. Many of the violations were related to forklift safety.

The fines include a willful violation with the maximum allowed penalty of $70,000 for not performing regular safety inspections and not fixing defective items on the vehicles, like nonworking horns and broken seatbelts.

An L&I inspection found that the company rarely performed forklift inspections, and defects that were reported weren’t fixed. There were several instances where forklift seatbelts weren’t in working order, including one that was pulled completely out and wouldn’t retract. Other defects included machines without working horns. This prevented operators from notifying employees in limited visibility areas that a forklift was coming through the door and put pedestrians at risk of being struck and killed.

The employer was cited for a repeat-serious violation with a penalty of $15,400 after the inspector saw two workers operating forklifts without wearing their seatbelts. The company was cited for the same issue in August 2015.

Being crushed by a forklift tipping over is the leading cause of forklift-related deaths in the U.S. If there’s an accident or tip-over, operators are much safer strapped into the seat because they are at lower risk of falling out.

The company was cited for nine additional violations for exposing workers to fall hazards; failure to ensure emergency brakes were set on unattended forklifts; defective stair tread; exposed electrical wires; equipment and clutter stored in front of control panels; and unsafe use of extension cords. The violations carried penalties totaling $32,340.

A serious violation exists in a workplace if there is a substantial probability that worker death or serious physical harm could result from a hazardous condition. A willful violation can be issued when L&I has evidence of plain indifference, a substitution of judgment or an intentional disregard to a hazard or rule. General violations are the lowest level and are cited when the violation itself wouldn’t cause serious injury or death.

The employer has 15 days to appeal. Penalty money paid as a result of a citation is placed in the workers' compensation supplemental pension fund, helping injured workers and families of those who have died on the job.

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L&I proposes small increase in workers’ comp rates for 2017

The rate paid for workers’ compensation coverage in Washington would rise by an average of 0.7 percent next year under a proposal released today by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I).

Employers and workers around Washington pay into the workers’ comp system so they’re covered if someone suffers a work-related injury or illness. Last year, L&I covered nearly 93,000 work-related injury and illness claims in our state. 

L&I sets workers’ compensation rates every fall for the following year. To determine the proposed rate, the agency takes a close look at expected workers’ compensation payouts, the size of the reserve fund, wage inflation and other financial indicators. 

“We’re doing our best to make sure we have a workers’ compensation system in our state that’s healthy and available for workers and employers today and in the future,” said L&I Director Joel Sacks. “By helping injured workers heal and get back to work sooner, we’ve been able to keep rates steady and predictable.” 

The proposed 2017 increase would cost employers an average of about $10 more a year per employee. Workers on average will not see an increase in what they pay. If the new proposal is adopted, the average annual workers’ compensation rate increase over the past six years will be just over 1 percent.

Workers’ compensation premiums help cover the cost of providing wage and disability benefits, as well as medical treatment of injuries and illnesses. They also provide a safety net to make sure the system is prepared for the unexpected.
Helping injured workers and lowering workers’ compensation costs
L&I has several initiatives underway that are lowering workers’ compensation costs by focusing on better outcomes for injured workers. Reducing costs helps control rate increases. Some examples include:
• Promoting injury prevention.
• Ensuring injured workers receive quality health care.
• Providing vocational services to workers earlier in their claim.
• Supporting employers who want to keep injured workers on a job.
• Reducing delays and improving the customer’s experience.
Over the last three years, these and other improvements have resulted in a more than $700 million reduction in projected long-term costs for the workers’ compensation system.
Keeping the system healthy and rates steady
As wages and medical costs climb, the cost of providing workers’ compensation coverage rises. System improvements by L&I have allowed the agency to pass along just a portion of those increased costs to employers and workers. In other states, workers’ compensation cost increases as a result of wage inflation are automatically passed along to employers without any changes in their rates.
“Keeping rates steady and avoiding major swings makes it easier for employers to budget for their workers’ compensation costs. At the same time, these small rate increases help build the workers’ compensation fund so we’re ready in case there are bad times,” said Sacks.
The agency will hold a series of public hearings where people can learn about and comment on the proposed rates. The hearings are scheduled for: 
• Vancouver, WA, Oct. 26, 9 a.m., Marshal Community Center
• Tukwila, Oct. 27, 9 a.m., Dept. of Labor & Industries
• Everett, Nov. 1, 9 a.m., Everett Community College
• Spokane Valley, Nov. 2, 9 a.m., Spokane CenterPlace
• Richland, Nov. 3, 9 a.m., Richland Community Center
• Tumwater, Nov. 4, 9 a.m., Dept. of Labor & Industries Headquarters
People can also comment in writing to Jo Anne Attwood, administrative regulations analyst, P. O. Box 41448, Olympia, WA 98504-4148; or email All comments must be received by 5 p.m. Nov. 8, 2016.

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Lifesaving heroes to be honored at Governor’s Safety and Health Conference

Whether saving workers from electrical fires, rescuing a family from a sinking boat in Lake Chelan or administering the Heimlich maneuver, Washington workers show again and again that they’re ready to step up and provide critical aid to people in desperate need.

This week, 16 workers will be honored for their lifesaving efforts. The men and women will receive the Governor’s Lifesaving Award and will be featured guests at the 65th Annual Governor’s Industrial Safety and Health Conference on Sept. 28 and 29 at the Spokane Convention Center.
The inspiring stories involve workers from around the state who stepped in during otherwise normal workdays, to save someone’s life. In some instances these heroes saved nearby coworkers, and in others they helped complete strangers in dire situations.
The awards are presented to workers in Washington who saved a life while on the job. Award winners must have performed “hands-on” aid in saving a life. For law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and other similar professions, the lifesaving action cannot be part of their normal job responsibilities; it must be above and beyond the call of duty.
The Lifesaving Awards will be presented by KREM 2 news anchor Laura Papetti during a luncheon on Sept. 29. Recipients are selected by a committee of business and labor representatives. A complete list of award recipients is available online.
The conference, sponsored by the Governor’s Industrial Safety and Health Advisory Board and the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I), includes safety demonstrations, workshops, and special events like the Annual Forklift Rodeo and the Annual Poletop Rescue Competition.
People can attend the luncheon separately or as part of the conference. The luncheon costs $25. There will also be audience seating available at no charge.
Space is still available at the conference. Visit the conference website for more information or to register.

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Spreading the word about increased DOSH fines

We’ve been spreading the word to our clients about increased DOSH fines that went into effect on September 1. The bottom line is that citations for willful or repeat safety violations can easily cause employers to face fines of $70,000 or more.
L&I has just announced a fine for a WA business that illustrates the severity of these fines and the impacts they can have on employers when repeat violations are found.
Schedule your visit with the Approach Safety Team today so we can review your Accident Prevention Plan and take steps to identify and correct potential hazards.

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Changes to Stay at Work Coming

Two refinements to the Stay at Work reimbursement process are coming in mid-October 2015.

1. Online Filing

Employers using the Stay at Work Program will be able to apply for wage and other reimbursement online starting mid-October. Applying for reimbursements online will help get your application to staff sooner, reducing delays and helping speed the review process.

If you need help with the new tool the first time, Web Customer Support will be available between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 360-902-5999.

Paper application forms will still be available on the Stay at Work website.

2. Two Envelopes

Also beginning mid-October, your reimbursement check and letter of explanation will arrive in two separate envelopes. As part of a state-wide effort to consolidate systems and improve efficiency, payment checks will now be mailed from the Washington State Department of Enterprise Services, while letters and orders will still be sent by L&I.

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New Employer Recordkeeping Requirements

Effective July 1, 2015, employers must report to L&I’s Division of Occupational Safety & Health any workplace incident resulting in the following:

•Death or in-patient hospitalization of any employee. Must be reported within 8 hours of the incident.

•Amputation or loss of any eye of any employee. Must be reported within 24 hours of the incident.

◦If the amputation or loss of an eye results in an in-patient hospitalization, then follow the 8 hour reporting requirement above.

•Employers or their agent can contact DOSH’s toll-free number at 1-800-423-7233 or visit their local L&I office to report.

This applies to all employers no matter what industry they work in.  Visit web page for further details and requirements.

Effective July 1, 2015, there are some additional industries/businesses who must now record workplace injuries and illnesses on an OSHA 300 log.

Employers are exempt from the OSHA recordkeeping requirements only if:

•They have 10 or less employees at all times during the calendar year, unless they are informed in writing from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), OSHA or DOSH that they need to comply.

◦Employee count includes all employees at all of their business locations combined.

•Their business establishment, by four-digit NAICS, is included on the industry exemption list in Table 1 under WAC 296-27-00105.

Visit recordkeeping and reporting web page for further details, requirements, and resources.  The web page will also provide businesses with information on how to determine their NAICS code.

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"I Survived"

Fall protection saves construction worker from 30-foot plunge!

Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry, with hundreds of workers dying each year and thousands more facing debilitating injuries.

In Washington State in 2014, 15 workers died, 5 were from falls.

So typically we discuss the consequences of the not wearing fall protection or the misuse of fall protection in the construction industry resulting in either a serious injury or fatality.

On Wednesday May 5th, a construction worker was stripping forms when suddenly he was catapulted over a 30-foot retaining wall. His partner says, “It was crazy; one minute he was there, and in a blink of an eye he was gone. Thankfully, the construction worker was utilizing a fall protection system.  His fall protection consisted of personal fall arrest and was tied-off to the horizontal life line installed for this activity. He survived the potential 30-foot fall with no significant injuries as the fall protection system worked perfectly. His co-workers activated the rescue plan, and he was able to self-rescue with help from co-worker. “I went home safe that day and made it to my son’s 5pm baseball game”.

One week prior to the incident, the construction workers employer, in preparation for OSHA’s National Fall Protection Week, the companies’ project team held a site visit with an L&I consultation consultant, a DOT Project Management Team and the company Safety Managers.  They discussed the challenges of fall protection on the job.  After the meeting, they conducted a site inspection, and identified areas for improvement. The inspection process concluded with a site BBQ and fall protection information was shared with the project crew.

This near miss is a success story.  The commitment to safety by management and labor, the training, the usage of the safety equipment provided, all played an important part in this worker’s eventual safe work day.

Some things to take away from this incident;
a. Identification of the task to be performed is the starting point.   What kind of tools will be used, equipment and work area dynamics 
b. What are the hazards associated with the task, i.e., falls, electrical, movement of machinery
c. Abatement of hazards –outside assistance (LNI consultation), a proactive project team assessing and inspection of work place hazards, before and during the task.  Training workers of the hazards, equipment they will be using, supplying of the tools, equipment and PPE that is required.  Having a rescue plan in place in case an event an unforeseen incident.  Documenting and, verifying that this has been done, that is a check and balance

Please note, this employer has one of the best safety records in Washington State.  Incidents and near misses will happen, to even the best as it did with this company.  But what makes them the best, is the commitment of management, commitment of employee’s, using resources available, planning, looking out for each other, which goes a long ways in providing a safe work environment.

I Survived

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Free Toolbox Talks APP

Now Available FREE in all App Stores:

Download this free app to access new and improved Toolbox Safety Talks!!

• Improved design
• Search via smartphone, tablet or computer
• Signatures gathered online
• Images and construction sequencing photos
• Improved talks in database

The App has the ability to document the date and Presenter of the talk, who attended and electronically Capture signatures of attendees.

Check it out in the APP STORE

The English and Spanish versions of the Safety talks can also be found on the website of the Construction Center of Excellence at:



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Updates to the L&I Report of Accident

In February 2015, L&I distributed a new Report of Accident (ROA) form to providers.

The ROA now includes a cover sheet in the 16 most frequently requested languages which tells an injured worker how and why to complete the ROA. It also advises them of their right to free interpretation services.

Interpreter services information has been added as a result of the US Department of Justice and Department of Labor investigation of the agency.  The law requires that workers are informed of their right to access an interpreter, which must be communicated to them in their language of preference.  The new ROA complies with these requirements.

They added additional information to the ROA instructions for health care providers, so that they can help injured workers access translation services when requested.  Detailed instructions to help providers and workers complete the ROA will soon be available in all 16 languages on the L&I website.

Clear access to translation services helps eliminate delays caused by communication barriers.  The sooner L&I receives a complete ROA, the sooner they can process the claim.

A new signature block has been added.  When signed, it authorizes L&I claim staff to obtain employment records from the Employment Security Department.

The new signature block was added as a result of L&I's partnership with the Employment Security Department.  Having access to employment history earlier in the claim benefits injured workers because timely access to employment information will help with return-to-work (RTW) efforts.

The current process to obtain work histories — usually performed by private vocational rehabilitation counselors (VRCs) — is cumbersome and time consuming.  Additionally, the release forms used by VRCs are not standardized.  Authorizing the release of work history on the ROA form streamlines and standardizes the process for obtaining this information and should help reduce claim duration by providing access to the information earlier in the claim.

Having earlier access to work histories should also help expedite validity determinations for occupational disease claims.  Access to work histories also allows claim managers to more easily identify the need for services such as early RTW and ability-to-work assessments (AWA).

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WFDC awarded START Status Certificate

Approach client, Work Force Development Center (WFDC) in Mukilteo has received a safety and health award from the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) for its exemplary safety and health prevention efforts in its aerospace assembly training program.

The center is a nonprofit vocational training organization specializing in preparing at-risk and disadvantaged high school juniors and seniors for entering into the future work force.

WFDC is the seventh company in the state to achieve recognition through the START program, which stands for Safety through Achieving Recognition Together. It is the first nonprofit to receive the award.

START recognizes workplaces with exemplary safety records that have shown a commitment to health and safety. It’s modeled on a federal program.

“We want to showcase businesses with excellent safety and health programs as a way of encouraging other companies to improve their safety efforts,” said Lynda Stoneberg, Consultation Program manager for L&I’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health. “We hope the companies who earn START certification will share their experiences with other employers who might have safety challenges.”

To participate in the program, employers must have an injury rate below their industry’s average for at least a year. They must also allow safety and health experts to visit the worksite and review workplace hazards, examine safety and health programs, and interview workers and managers.

“The improvement in our Safety and Health Program was motivated by our Director of Student Services and Safety Coordinator, Carmela Morelli,” said David Trader, WFDC executive director. “Carmela shares my strong interest in ensuring a safe and healthy work environment for our student trainees and employees. These improvements were accomplished through the hard work of our employees and student trainees with the support of Approach Management Services and L&I’s consultants and risk managers.”

The Work Force Development Center has 46 employees and 42 high school-age student trainees at its aerospace assembly training center, where employees work one-on-one to train disabled, at-risk high school-age juniors and seniors in the aerospace industry. The trainees earn high school credit toward graduation and are paid minimum wage.

For more information on START, visit .

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OSHA 300 Log Requirements

On February 1 of each year, employers who are required to keep OSHA 300 Injury and Illness Recordkeeping Logs must compile the information on the OSHA Form 300A or an equivalent and post it in a conspicuous place or places where notices to employees are customarily posted. This form must be posted from February 1 through April 30 of each year.

Do I Have To Maintain An OSHA 300 Log?

The OSHA 300 -- "Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses" -- is a record of every work-related injury or illness that involves a

- loss of consciousness
- restricted work activity or job transfer
- days away from work
- medical treatment beyond first aid
- significant work-related injuries or illnesses that are diagnosed by a licensed health care professional.
- Other work-related injuries or illnesses listed in the OSHA regulation

Usually, most businesses with ten or fewer employees do not have to keep an OSHA 300 log.

- (Exception: if WISHA, OSHA or the BLS has notified you in writing that you have to.)

Some businesses with more than ten employees are also exempt -- those specifically listed in WAC 296-27-00105 (1)(a) (260 KB PDF) as being in low hazard retail, service, finance, insurance or real estate industries.

If your company is not exempt, then you should obtain a copy of the OSHA 300 Recordkeeping Forms .

For more information vist .

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Important Incident Reporting Updates

Important Fatality/Hospitalization/Amputation/Loss of Eye Reporting Information for Employers.

In Washington State, nearly all employers in Washington  must report to DOSH any potential, or actual worker deaths and every emergent worker in-patient hospitalization incident within 8 hours.  They can call 1-800-4BESAFE (1-800-423-7233) or contact any L&I DOSH office staff to meet this requirement.
Effective January 1, 2015, employers with additional worksites under Federal OSHA jurisdiction have additional rules for reporting of worker hospitalizations, loss of eye, and non-admitted amputations that are now in effect, and those employers have 24 hours to report to Federal OSHA.  This is in addition to the requirement of reporting a potential or actual worker death within 8 hours.
Since Washington’s current requirements must meet or exceed OSHA’s, we will be adopting changes this spring to add on reporting of the additional non-hospitalized losses of eye and non-hospitalized amputations.  They will also be reportable within 24 hours to meet OSHA’s minimum requirements.

Call 1-800-423-7233 or visit an L&I office to report any:

• Workplace death (that happens within 30 days of an incident)
• Workplace injury that is possibly fatal
• In-patient hospitalization related to the workplace (that happens within 30 days of an incident)

Employers are responsible to make sure reports are made within 8 hours of an incident, or within 8 hours of learning about it.

For more information and resources, see our Fatalities & Injuries web site.

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Retail Holiday Safety

Is your workplace ready for holidays and the hazards that go along with big storewide sales events? Do you hang holiday decorations at your workplace this time of year?

Include worker safety in your preparations for holiday crowds and storewide events, such as "Black Friday" sales. Planning and training about crowd management safety is especially important, but the holiday shopping season is also an opportune time to focus on some common hazard prevention topics.

Learn more on L&I's new Retail Holiday Safety topic page.

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Important Information about Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Common types of PPE include safety goggles, gloves, respirators, fall protection systems (full-body harnesses, lanyard, etc.), and hard hats. For more examples, see Table X in WAC 296-800-16020.
Employers are required to provide most PPE at no cost to their employees when such protection is needed to keep them safe from chemicals, falls, and other hazards. Replacement costs of lost or intentionally-damaged PPE may become the responsibility of the employee. General requirements for PPE can be found in WAC 296-800-160. Specific requirements and resources for various industries, activities, and hazards can be found on L&I’s PPE Topic page.

In addition to providing the right PPE, employers must ensure PPE fits their employees and is consistently used and maintained properly. Training is also required so employees know when and how to use and maintain PPE so it can provide the protection it was designed to deliver.
If you have questions about PPE, get free advice from your Safety or Risk Management Consultant at L&I.
To find training, online videos and other resources to help you strengthen your workplace safety programs, visit L&I's Workplace Safety web page.

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Changes to L&I Stay at Work application process coming Sep. 15th

Helping your workers keep a workplace connection after an injury is a proven best practice that not only supports a workers’ recovery but helps your business control worker’s comp costs. 

L&I will be changing the application process to make it easier for you. This change also helps comply with the order of events for return-to-work practices as outlined in RCW 51.32.090.

What's changing and when?

Effective September 15, 2014:

1. You don’t need to send the following documents with the Stay at Work application if you know they already are in the claim file. Go to to check the file for the:  
- Activity Prescription Form(s).
- Health care provider’s written approval of your light-duty job description.

2. For dates worked on or after September 15, 2014, the first date the employer sent the job description to the provider is the first date that will be considered for reimbursement. 
- Employers can send us a copy of the fax cover sheet with date/time stamp to ensure dates worked after the fax date can be considered for reimbursement.
 - L&I is also updating the wage and expense reimbursement forms to make it easier for employers to report the first date the job description was sent to the provider for review and approval.
- Go to to download the new forms with the version date of 09-2014. The updated forms will be available on September 15, 2014.
- Please ask your employers to recycle all old forms.

A reminder:
The provider must approve the light-duty job before Stay at Work can reimburse the employer. If the provider reviews and disapproves the light-duty job description, the reimbursement will not be approved.

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Sequoyah Electric - 100 Best Companies to work for

Our client, Sequoyah Electric has been recognized by Seattle Business magazine as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2014, in the large business category.

On Tuesday, June 17th more than 900 employees from various companies large and small attended the 100 Best Companies to Work For gala at the Seattle Westin.  Each category was evaluated on the following criteria: communication; performance standards; training and education; workplace environment; responsibility and decision making; hiring and retention; leadership of executives; rewards and recognition; benefits and corporate culture. After receiving the reward, Sequoyah’s Executive Chairman Dave Nichols said, “This is a great honor and a wonderful way to culminate our first 25 years of business.”


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Hazard Identification Training Tool

OSHA's Hazard Identification Training Tool is an interactive, online, game-based training tool for small business owners, workers and others interested in learning the core concepts of hazard identification. After using this tool, users will better understand the process to identify hazards in their own workplace.

This tool is intended to:

(1) Teach small business owners and their workers the process for finding hazards in their workplace,
(2) Raise awareness on the types of information and resources about workplace hazards available on OSHA's website.

Important: This is a learning tool. The items presented in this tool are for training purposes only and the visual representations are conceptual and do not always show specific control for hazards. OSHA inspections and possible citations and penalties for violation of OSHA regulations are NOT part of this tool. Employers and workers must consult the applicable OSHA standards for the specific requirements applicable to their workplaces when developing and implementing their own hazard identification program.

Click the link to learn more about the learning tool:



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EL CHARPP app now available

The EL CHARPP app is now available for free download at apple app store. The Construction Safety Trilingual Communication App is a construction safety phrase application that provides text and voice translations in Spanish and Russian. This easy-to-navigate, tri-lingual application for the English speaking user is designed to halt unsafe work practices and communicate safe work practices.

Navigate through a table of contents that lists various construction topics. Choose relevant phrases. View a text translation of each phrase in Spanish and Russian, and touch to hear the phrase spoken by a native speaker. Phrases can also be found via keyword search and can be saved as favorites for quick reference. 

Click the link to download:

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New Return to Work Tool

Through funding and support provided by the State of Washington, Department of Labor and Industries, Safety and Health Investments Project, the SMART Association and the MBA are pleased to announce an automated Return to Work tool for your use. 

The Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties, MBA Pierce Master Builders and the SMART Association have developed an online resource that generates light duty (transitional) job descriptions and job offer letters for your injured workers. 

There are three easy steps:

1. Create your injured worker’s job description with the online template.
2. Send the job description you created to the doctor for approval.
3. Once approved, easily create your job offer letter in English, Spanish, or Russian as needed and provide it to your injured employee so he or she may return to work.



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Stay At Work Program

The Washington Legislature approved the program in June 2011 that pays employers to help injured workers stay on the job.

Stay at Work is a financial incentive that encourages employers to bring their injured workers quickly and safely back to light-duty or transitional work by reimbursing them for some of their costs.
Eligible employers can be reimbursed for:
50% of the base wages they pay to the injured worker.
Some of the cost of training, tools or clothing the worker needs to do the light-duty or transitional work.
To date, Approach Management Services has submitted 472 wage and expense applications on behalf of our clients with a total amount of reimbursements to date of: $ 1,553, 040 with another $ 135,000+ in pending reimbursements. The total amount of reimbursement for L&I to date is $19,204,965.58.
For more information visit:

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Potelco Inc – 2013 Lifesaving Award

Our current client, Potelco Inc is being honored at the 62nd Governor’s Safety and Health Conference. The conference honors men and women who took heroic action to provide critical aid when it was needed the most.

Sal Escamilla, Jr., Bob Carlsen, Travis Barrett, and Joe Lewis of Potelco will be honored with the 2013 Lifesaving Award. Last November, they were finishing their fiber optic cable wire pulls from the previous night. Sal and Joe were driving out of the substation when Travis called to say that the AED unit in their vehicle was needed a short distance away. When they arrived, a man was yelling for someone to help his coworker, who was slumped over the steering wheel of his vehicle, unresponsive. The crew got the man out of the vehicle and onto the ground and hooked him up to the AED. The AED unit determined that the victim needed a shock and administered a single shock. The man’s heart started beating again. Shortly after, paramedics arrived at the scene and took over. According to Bellevue Fire Department, Sal, Bob, Travis and Joe’s quick response and training made all the difference for this heart attack victim. Potelco Inc will also receive an award for making it possible for their employees to be lifesaving heroes when the need arose. Potelco employees work in a hazardous industry and many times their trucks are in remote areas where emergencies can arise. In those cases, immediate action is necessary, sometimes going beyond first aid and CPR. That’s why Potelco requires every truck to be equipped with an AED unit and the drivers trained to use it. The company’s vision and commitment to safety helped save the life of one of its own employees this year. Congratulations Potelco!

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Protest to the Retro Adjustment

What is a protest to the retro adjustment and how does it benefit your company?

Approach Management Services carefully reviews the retro refund adjustments once they are published. There are always claims that for many different reasons are valued incorrectly in our eyes when the snapshot valuation occurs. On every plan year currently in play (2009-2010-2011) Approach submits a protest to the retro adjustment. The aim is to present evidence that certain claims were valued incorrectly and that if correctly charged would have resulted in lower claims costs and thus additional refund to the group. We have just received the response for the SMART A-Team protests and were granted relief on 14 claims for an additional $435,276 in refund, which will be added to the distributions scheduled for June 2014. In addition 21 claims were noted “pending further action” which could result in additional refunds later. Many retro groups do not utilize this powerful tool to increase refunds for their clients, but Approach has always filed protests, and has always been successful in increasing your return as a result. It takes many hours of research and formulating the arguments for these protests, but we believe the $435,276 additional refund is worth the effort!

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SMART & Master Builders win grant

The Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) has awarded the SMART Association and the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties an $85,000 grant to partner in creating a program to get injured construction workers back on the job sooner.

The Return-to-Work grant, which is part of the Safety & Health Investment Projects (SHIP) Program, will fund the creation of an Internet-based Return-to-Work Toolbox—a database of job tasks and documentation that can be shared with employers across the state. This grant project will solve a problem faced by many companies that find they have to create or recreate documentation for return-to-work job tasks for injured workers because there is no simple method for companies to share this information. The SMART Association is a non-profit business association providing companies with resources necessary to manage and control risk in Washington State. The Master Builders Association serves Seattle, King County and Snohomish County as the nation’s largest local homebuilders association. Return-to-Work grants help Washington state industries bring to life innovative ideas that will get injured workers back on the job sooner and reduce long-term disability.

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L&I urges workplace safety for teens

Teens are gearing up to search for summer jobs and the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) is urging employers, parents and others to support safety during "Safe Jobs for Youth Month" in May.

A total of 477 youth ages 12-17 were injured in the workplace in 2013, making this year's observance more important than ever, said Mary E. Miller, occupational nurse consultant with L&I and a youth employment expert. Of the total, 156 were in the food and hospitality industries. The next largest total, 66, occurred in the retail trades. There were no fatalities.

"Teens are eager to work and may not question a workplace situation that doesn't seem right," Miller said. "We're trying to ensure youth perform safe and appropriate work and employers, parents and teachers can all help."

Gov. Jay Inslee signed a proclamation making May "Safe Jobs for Youth Month" across the state. More information is available at The agency also offers presentations from injured young workers for students. Miller can provide a separate talk for employers and teachers.

In recent years, the number of injuries has increased despite an overall decrease the past decade. Injuries in 2003 totaled 1,135. In 2011, injuries reached a low of 425 before increasing the next two years. Injuries range from lacerations, strains and sprains to more serious fractures and concussions, Miller said.

"Employers are eager to give young workers a start in the world of work" Miller noted. "The result is we need to continue to help employers provide teens with tasks appropriate to their age."

In general, 14- and 15-year-olds may perform lighter tasks, such as office work, cashiering and stocking shelves. Work assignments for 16- and 17-year-olds can be less restrictive and can include cooking, landscaping, and some use of powered equipment and machinery. The limits on the hours of work for all minors vary by age.

Generally, if safety equipment other than a hard hat, eye protection or gloves is required, then it's not an appropriate job for minors. All minors are prohibited from working with powered equipment such as meat slicers and forklifts, Miller noted.

In agriculture jobs, restricted job duties differ for youth. The agency has specific information on its website at its Agricultural Jobs for Teens page.

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Free posters that cost $295?

Scores of businesses are contacting the Department of Labor & Industries to report they have received an official-looking letter that implies they must buy required workplace posters or face fines.

December 10, 2013 - Tumwater
L&I did not send the letters, but wants to remind companies that the workplace posters are available for free.
The mass mailing has confused many business owners, who assume it's from L&I. The letters say "final notice," are addressed to individual businesses, and include a payment stub to purchase the posters for $295.
It's true that the state and federal governments require certain posters be placed at job sites. While private vendors may sell the posters, the government provides the posters at no cost.
"Our staff has received lots of calls regarding what appears to be a bill for government posters," said Anne Foote-Soiza, Assistant Director of L&I's Division of Occupational Health and Safety. "L&I wants everyone to understand these posters are free for the asking. Please let other business owners know about it, too."
The free state-required posters are available from any L&I office or by calling 1-866-219-7321 or downloading from the L&I website at
For media information: Debby Abe,, (360) 902-6043
Connect with L&I: Facebook ( and Twitter (

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