Q&A: L&I Safety & Health eRules Project

Overview

In June 2013, L&I began a rule improvement project to make the safety and health rules:

  • Easier to read, understand, and refer to – both online and in print – and easily readable using smartphones, tablets, etc.
  • Consistent in look and feel with new quick-navigation features such as bookmarks and word search.
  • Print the way they look online.

No rule requirements will be changed. This project affects only how the rules look.

Why was this necessary?

Over the years, regulations were printed in different formats, and Web pages were published by different sources, ultimately creating differences that caused confusion and frustration. In some cases customers must view rules at the Code Reviser website in a version that is difficult to read and interpret, and incompatible with new devices like smartphones and tablets.

As customers come to rely more and more on electronic availability, it is imperative that safety and health rules be accessible in this medium and on new devices. Lack of accessibility to regulations could compromise worker safety and health.

Improving the rules will make it easier for everyone who needs to read and comply with, or enforce, the safety and health rules.

When will the eRules project begin?

The formatting has already started with the rules most commonly used by most employers, the Core Rules – 800 series. The first rules customers will see with this new formatting will be:

  • Chapter 296-832 WAC Late Night Retail
  • Chapter 296-829 WAC Helicopters
  • Chapter 296-878 WAC Window Cleaning
  • Chapter 296-876 WAC Ladders, Portable and Fixed.

During the next several years, every rule will be updated to the new format in subsequent rule adoption procedures. Expedited rulemaking is expected to be possible since no technical changes will be made to the rules.

What are the changes that will make the eRules better?

  • Shorter sentences and paragraphs will improve readability.
  • You will be able to visually scan the rules and easily read them on smaller devices like tablets and smartphones.
  • It will be easier to find the right information and to know exactly what the rule requires you to do or not do.
  • Virtually every item with be numbered and lettered (not bulleted), to allow reference to specific items.
  • Rules will be searchable by any word you choose.
  • There will be links to a Table of Contents, bookmarks and sections to make it easy to navigate the rules quickly.

Problems that will be corrected include:

  • Inconsistent bullets, tiny fonts, incorrect spacing;
  • Broken HTML pages;
  • Inconsistent .pdf files;
  • Redirecting users to the Code Reviser website for some rules.

What about the cost of changing all those rules?

Since no technical changes are being made, we expect to be able to use expedited rulemaking, so the cost should be minimal. Converting to the eRules will save the agency time and money and represents an efficient use of state resources because:

  • It significantly reduces the number of printed copies/CDs created, and saves printing, postage and warehouse costs. Printed copies will still be available but many users will prefer to use Web/mobile eRules.
  • The eRules will be easier to update with minimum staff and time needed.

How can I stay informed of the eRule progress?

Sign up for the DOSH Safety Listserv to be notified of all rule changes and other important safety announcements.

Who can I contact for more information?

Contact Jeff Killip, at Jeff.Killip@Lni.wa.gov  or 360-902-5530.

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