About Consultation

Could your company use a DOSH Safety and Health Consultation?

You work hard to manage your business and control costs. You care about your employees. A safety and health consultation may be just what you need.

The Washington Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) offers a service that may be very helpful to you. It is specifically designed to help you increase safety awareness, prevent accidents, and manage workers' compensation costs.

Here's how it works: At your request, a safety and health consultant will come to your business and analyze your employee safety and accident prevention programs. You will be offered suggestions that could help save money on your industrial insurance costs. 

You'll like this approach for several reasons:

  • A safety and health consultation is an investment in your company and in your workers. If it helps prevent accidents, it will lower your workers' compensation costs and increase your profits. There's no charge for the consultation.
  • You cannot be fined by a consultant as a result of the consultation.  You will be required to correct serious hazards, but you face no financial penalties.
  • The consultations are not shared with enforcement staff. No L&I inspector will see a copy of the consultant's report unless you volunteer it. However, you may choose to use this report as evidence of your good faith effort to provide a safe workplace.
  • There's no obligation. If you change your mind about the consultation or don't like what you're hearing, you may end the consultation at any time. However, you must correct any serious hazards noted by the consultant.
  • You can involve your company's safety committee and employees who work in potential accident areas. The consultant will meet with your safety group, explain their findings, and provide backup educational materials.

A consultation involves:

  • An opening conference with management to explain the employer's rights and obligations.
  • A walk-through survey to evaluate the mechanical, physical and environmental hazards of the workplace and work practices, and an evaluation of your company's accident prevention program.
  • A closing conference with management to discuss any conditions noted during the survey and to make recommendations.
  • A written report describing any conditions found and any recommendations or agreements made.
  • A follow-up visit, if appropriate, to assure that any necessary corrections have been made.

Employer obligations

You must agree to the following conditions before a consultant can begin the actual on-site consultation:

  • Correct, in a timely manner, any serious job safety and health hazards or deficiencies found during the course of the consultation visit.
  • In unionized work areas, an employee representative must be provided an opportunity to participate in the opening and closing conferences and the walk-through survey.
  • The consultant may increase the number of employee participants in the evaluation, if additional representatives will improve the quality of the visit.
  • At all work sites, the consultant must be able to confer with the individual employees during the course of the visit. This helps the consultant identify and judge the extent of particular hazards within the scope of your request and evaluate your company's safety and health program.

Employer request for consultation

You may request assistance from L&I by telephone, letter, or in person. The request may be for a complete review of your company's safety and health conditions, for assistance or information concerning a specific problem, or both. The consultant will contact you, usually by telephone, to hear your request and to schedule a time and date for an on-site consultation. Find an L&I consultant near you.

Benefits to employers and employees

The more you learn about potential workplace hazards and ways to eliminate them, the better you will be able to meet your legal obligations of ensuring employee on-the-job safety and health. The resulting benefit to employees is a safer and healthier place to work.

The DOSH Consultation Program offers you free professional advice and assistance in establishing or strengthening your workplace safety and health program. As a result, you will be making safety and health a routine consideration.

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