Category Archives: Rulemaking

Changes to Vocational Rules Adopted

Changes to vocational rules have been adopted, implementing enhanced AWA (ability to work assessment) services and providing enforcement mechanisms for actions against VRCs and vocational firms.

We wrote about the changes under consideration when they were proposed over the summer. See Vocational Recovery Services. Our firm has represented claimants in many cases where vocational services or outcomes have been at issue. Often, the issues can best be addressed early in the claim, while the worker is participating in vocational services. In other cases, litigation is pursued.

You may read the full notice about the changes to vocational services rules issued by DLI, excerpted below, here.

The WA Department of Labor and Industries (DLI) adopted the proposed changes to WAC 296-19A on Oct. 22, 2019. The new rules were first proposed in August, and go into effect Jan. 1, 2020.

The adopted rules outline vocational recovery services to align with RCW 51.32.095 which places a high priority on returning a worker to employment.

The rule changes also:

  • Establish certain expectations for vocational firms.
  • Clarify when VRCs and vocational firms may be subject to corrective actions or sanctions.
  • Spell out what those sanctions include.

You can review the adopted rule language on DLI’s website for rule development.

DLI is developing training for vocational providers that will assist them in meeting these expectations, and applying worker centric vocational recovery best practices.

Upcoming Stakeholder Meetings: Chapter 296-880 WAC, Unified Fall Protection

Upcoming Stakeholder Meetings
Chapter 296-880 WAC, Unified Fall Protection (NEW CHAPTER)

The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I), Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), would like to invite interested stakeholders to upcoming stakeholder meetings to review our latest, revised draft of the proposed Unified Fall Protection rule.

On February 19, 2019 a CR-101 (preproposal) was filed, letting the public know we were conducting rulemaking specifically related to fall protection requirements included in Chapter 296-155 WAC, Safety Standards for Construction Work as well as several other chapters referencing fall protection requirements. This proposed rulemaking will consider changes to the rules to make them at least as effective as the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), as required by the Washington State Plan.

This rulemaking proposes to incorporate fall protection requirements from multiple DOSH standards into one chapter applicable to all industries. During public meetings held in the fall of 2016 and 2018, stakeholders supported the creation of a unified fall protection rule and believe it will be easier to implement and help protect workers from fall hazards.

Upcoming Stakeholder Meetings:

Date: Thursday, May 2, 2019

Time: 1:00 – 2:30; 12:30 pm sign-in

Location: Labor and Industries, Tukwila

12806 Gateway Drive S

Tukwila, WA 98168

Date: Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Time: 9:00 – 10:30; 8:30 am sign-in

Location: Labor and Industries, Vancouver

312 SE Stonemill Drive, Suite 120

Vancouver, WA 98684

Date: Thursday, May 23, 2019

Time: 1:00 – 2:30; 12:30 pm sign-in

Location: Labor and Industries, Kennewick

4310 W 24th Avenue

Kennewick, WA 99338

Date: Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Time: 1:00 – 2:30; 12:30 pm sign-in

Location: Enduris Training Center

1610 S Technology Blvd #100

Spokane, WA 99224


On June 2013 and October 2015 DOSH received notification from OSHA relating to the Department’s fall protection standards, Chapter 296-155 WAC, Part C-1. The focus of OSHA’s position is residential construction which has both high fatality and hospitalization rates due to falls from elevation. OSHA is concerned that our fall protection residential construction standards differ significantly from their policies and standards. Their policy issues focus in the following areas: Ambiguous language with regards to skylights and wall openings, the use and strength of warning lines, alternatives to conventional fall protection – catch platforms and safety watch systems and trigger height.

A series of stakeholder meetings were held around the state in Tukwila, Bellingham, Wenatchee, Vancouver, Yakima and Spokane in the fall of 2016 extending through the summer of 2017. Through these public forums we found widespread support from stakeholders who said a single, unified fall protection standard that applied to all industries statewide would be easier to implement and help protect workers from fall hazards.

Public comments from these previous stakeholder meetings were reviewed and a revised discussion draft of the proposed rule was created. Beginning in August 2018, the department held another set of stakeholder meetings across the state in Wenatchee, Kennewick, Yakima, Bellingham, Seattle, Spokane and Vancouver. We have found through discussions in our stakeholder meetings for the Unified Fall Protection that there remains to be support for a unified fall protection standard.

NOTE: While rulemaking on Unified Fall Protection and Walking Working Surfaces are separate filings, they primarily effect the same industries. We will continue to combine the stakeholder meetings in order to accommodate the public and encourage input.

Please contact Carmyn Shute with any rulemaking or meeting questions: or 360-902-6081

Please contact Erich Smith with any technical questions about the Unified Fall Protection rule: or 206-515-2786

Updates regarding the rulemaking process will be posted on the Labor and Industries external website. To sign up to receive updates on this project; or, other areas, update your subscriptions, modify your password or email address, or to stop subscriptions at any time on your Subscriber Preferences Page. You will need to use your email address to log in. If you have questions or problems with the subscription service, please visit our Subscriber Help Center.

This service is provided to you at no charge by the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries.

Image credit: Safety and Health Practitioner