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November 22, 1996

Modified regulations for logging industry to take effect Jan. 1, 1997

New rules that bring state workplace safety and health regulations for the logging industry into conformance with federal standards will take effect Jan. 1, 1997, according to the state Department of Labor & Industries.

The rules, made public in hearings last June here and in Spokane, modify existing Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act (WISHA) standards to bring the state regulations into conformance with federal requirements currently not addressed by the state standard. By law, WISHA regulations must be "at least as effective as" federal rules.

The new rules, covering many sections of L&I's current standard, delete some sections, harmonize language with federal regulations, reduce and replace duplicate and redundant language and make the standard easier to read and understand wherever possible in accordance with the regulatory reform mandate of the Legislature.

Briefly, the new rules will require employers:

  • To provide all personal protective equipment at no cost to workers. This would include hard-hats, eye protection, chaps and other protective equipment.
  • To have written accident prevention plans and training records signed by all employees.
  • To conduct daily pre-work inspections of all powered tools and equipment.
  • To have operation and maintenance manuals on site for all powered equipment.
  • To equip chain saws with either a chain brake, low kickback bar and chain combination or tip-guard device.
  • To train their workers on their jobs and requirements of the safety regulations, and signed documentation.
  • To ensure that each employee, including supervisors, receives or has received first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training and that the training is current.

These required modifications are the first of a two-phase effort to update the logging industry standard. As the next step, the agency currently is in the midst of convening an industry-based work group to review the entire standard. This comprehensive review may include the elimination of obsolete sections, reorganization and rewriting the standard using the clear rule-writing model. The agency hopes to call the group's first meeting after the first of the year. A time frame for this review process has not been established.

Meanwhile, copies of the modified standard will be available in late December and may be obtained by contacting one of L&I's 20 statewide service centers or by contacting the standards unit in the L&I central office at 360-902-4622.

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