L&I is Raising Violation Rates: Make Sure Your Required Documentation is Ready!


There has been a significant uptick in L&I inspections, and we are currently assisting many of our clients with these inspections.

In addition, OSHA is pressing Washington State to increase their violation rates to get in line with national penalty rates.

A start date for the increased fines has not been formally announced, but it is expected that enforcement will begin before February 1, 2019.

Here is a sample of what we have been told the fines will look like:

  • The maximum amount for a serious violation will go from $7,000 to $12,934.
  • The maximum amount for a willful general and serious will go from $70,000 to $129,336 and the minimum will go from $5,000 to $9,239.
  • The maximum amount for a repeated serious will go from $70,000 to $129,336.
  • The maximum amount for a failure to abate will go from $7,000 a day to $12,934 a day.

All these fines are dependent on the size of company, severity of the violation, and previous history of similar violations. Basically, there are multipliers for each of these categories to determine the final fine which you can find here: https://app.leg.wa.gov/WAC/default.aspx?cite=296-900&full=true#296-900-140

Now more than ever, you should be focusing on preventing fines and citations.


Low Hanging Fruit for Citation Officers

Many clients will be issued citations for not documenting their safety programs and training. If you are inspected by Labor and Industries, these are most common documents they will request.

  1. A copy of your accident prevention program.
  2. Documentation that you have trained new employees on your safety plan (new hire orientation).
  3. Documentation showing you have completed a PPE assessment and trained your employees.
  4. Accident Investigation of incidents along with witness statements.
  5. Ladder training and documentation (if you use ladders).
  6. Copies of CPR first aid cards.
  7. Documentation of forklift training.
  8. Documentation of training for any other equipment you use: scissor lifts, snorkel lifts, etc.
  9. Documentation of safety meetings.
  10. Documentation of weekly walk-arounds.
  11. Fall Protection Work Plans
  12. Fall Protection Training
  13. OSHA 300 logs (if you have 10 or more employees).
  14. Documentation of any disciplinary action to employees not following safety rules.


Interviewing Employees

If you do have the required programs in place, can your employees answer the following questions asked by the inspector during the interview process?

  • Do you have a safety program?
  • How is the program enforced?
  • Describe safety meetings/safety committee.
  • Describe the PPE you have for your job, and the kind of training have you had.
  • Describe procedures if you would be injured.
  • Has anyone been injured on this job?
  • What do you consider the most hazardous part of your job?
  • Is there anything you think I should look at while I am here?
  • What chemicals do you work with?
  • How do you tell if you are overexposed?
  • Where do you find an SDS (Safety Data Sheet) and how do you use it?

Inspectors interview employees and ask these questions to support and to solidify violations and penalties.


We at Approach Management Services are committed to helping clients understand Washington State safety and health laws by offering free site visits, technical advice, and resources to our clients.

Let us know how we can help you proactively now, and not re-actively after Labor and Industries comes to your jobsite.

Request a FREE safety visit from the Approach safety team


An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!