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State law requires businesses to fix hazards during appeal

April 20, 2011

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Tumwater, WA – Businesses in the state of Washington must correct serious safety violations and hazards even while fighting a citation, under a law signed April 14 by Gov. Chris Gregoire (D).

Senate Bill 5068 changes existing rules, under which businesses had no obligation to correct cited hazards until after an appeal was resolved. The appeals process can take months or even years, according to a press release from the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.

L&I cited a recent federal OSHA analysis that found from 1999 to 2009, employers involved in at least 30 appealed cases had a fatality occur at the same site before the appeal was resolved. In Washington, about 10 percent of all citations are appealed each year.

The new law allows businesses to seek a stay to the requirement. Such requests will receive an expedited review.

L&I said it plans to form a stakeholder group to work on the rule.

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