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May 5, 1998

L&I offers workshop/training on new first-aid regulations

TUMWATER The state Department of Labor & Industries will offer a series of no-fee workshops across the state in the coming weeks to help employers and workers learn about and comply with new regulations for workplace first-aid that take effect June 1, 1998.

Employers must ensure that appropriate first-aid care is readily available where employees are working. The updated rules were adopted earlier this year after the agency was asked to review first-aid training curriculum and requirements.

The new rules do not represent any additional compliance requirements for employers. The new rules provide employers with greater flexibility in meeting first-aid care requirements. The previous standard specifies what employers must do to comply with requirements. The updated standard offers employers the option of developing a written plan that addresses hazards at the worksite, assesses need and provides appropriate availability of emergency medical treatment.

The standard includes two new non-mandatory appendices to assist employers and their workers. The first is an evaluation worksheet that provides guidance in developing a written plan. The second appendix is a reference for determining the contents of first-aid kits.

Workshops will be offered according to the following schedule:

Tacoma - May 11
Tumwater - May 22
Mount Vernon - May 28
Spokane - May 15
Yakima - May 27
Vancouver - May 29
Tukwila - May 27

If you wish to obtain details or register for one of the workshops or obtain a catalog listing of other training in your area, call 1-800-574-2829.

In addition to these agency-sponsored workshops, L&I will work with several business, labor and industry-based organizations to present training and workshops in conjunction with annual conferences. For instance, the Governor's Industrial Safety and Health Conference in Spokane next fall will include a workshop.

The updated rules represent the second of a two-phase effort aimed at upgrading worker first-aid protection. The first phase, completed in 1996, involved the development of a voluntary guideline for first-aid training curriculum. These guidelines not only establish uniform training guidelines for all providers of training, but they also provide employers with criteria for evaluating the effectiveness of that training, regardless of who offers it.

The department was assisted by a task force committee representing public and private providers, as well as several large employers and safety and health professionals.

Following publication of the voluntary guidelines, the task force asked L&I to consider a comprehensive review of the first-aid standard. The agency agreed, and the task force was expanded to include a wider representation of employers and workers.

The new standard is available electronically via L&I's website on the Internet at www.lni.wa.gov. Printed copies can be obtained through any of L&I's 22 service centers across the state. They are listed in the government pages of the telephone directory under Washington, State of. You may also request a copy by telephoning

360/902-4622 or by calling 1-800-4BE-SAFE and leaving a message.

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