About Labor and Industries (L&I)

Joel Sacks photograph

Joel Sacks, Director

Keep Washington safe and working

L&I is a diverse state agency dedicated to the safety, health and security of Washington's 2.5 million workers. We help employers meet safety and health standards and we inspect workplaces when alerted to hazards. As administrators of the state's workers' compensation system, we are similar to a large insurance company, providing medical and limited wage-replacement coverage to workers who suffer job-related injuries and illness. Our rules and enforcement programs also help ensure workers are paid what they are owed, that children's and teens' work hours are limited, and that consumers are protected from unsound building practices.

We serve customers in 19 offices throughout Washington, and have approximately 2,800 skilled employees, including safety inspectors, claims specialists, nurses, researchers, accountants, labor experts and support staff.

Protecting the health and safety of workers

L&I's Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) administers the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act (WISHA) law by developing and enforcing rules that protect workers from hazardous job conditions. Our inspectors visit about 7,000 workplaces each year and cite businesses that violate health and safety rules. Each year, we also conduct about 2,500 free, on-site safety and health consultations for employers who request our help complying with these rules in their unique workplaces. We also conduct research into workplace health and safety, which focuses on promoting healthy work environments and preventing workplace injuries and illnesses.

Ensuring medical care and financial help for injured workers

Our claim managers oversee benefits to workers who are injured or become ill on the job. They also work closely with doctors, employers and counselors to help severely injured employees return to paid employment. Washington's workers' compensation system is funded by premiums from employers and workers and income from investments. In addition, we regulate about 400 large, self-insured employers who have qualified to provide their own workers' compensation insurance.

Protecting workers' wages, hours, breaks and more

We enforce child labor laws, as well as laws that protect workers' wages and working conditions. Our agency also oversees apprenticeship programs and administers rules covering prevailing wage on public-works construction projects.

Protecting the public from unsafe work and economic hardship

Our technical experts protect the public by inspecting electrical work, boilers, elevators and manufactured homes. We also test and license electricians, certify plumbers, and issue operating permits for amusement rides. In addition, our agency registers construction contractors, requiring them to be insured and bonded. We also provide an easy-to-use website that allows customers to see whether a contractor is bonded and insured and alerts them to problems associated with hiring unregistered contractors.


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