Electrical Laws & Rules

Current electrical laws (RCW)

Electrical Chapter 19.28 RCW (F500-143-000) Effective June 2018.
This printed document is also available for a fee in L&I field offices or by mail.

Replacement/insert pages due to changes in legislation. Please replace/insert pages below in your print version of 2018 RCW 19.28.

Chapter 19.28 RCW — Electricians and Electrical Installation official copy formatted in the protocol of the Office of the Code Reviser.

Current electrical rules (WAC)

Electrical WAC Rule 296-46B (F500-142-000) Effective October 29, 2020.
This printed document is also available for a fee in L&I field offices or by mail.

Replacement pages due to rule changes. Please replace pages below in your October 29, 2020 print version of WAC 296-46B.

Chapter 296-46B WAC — Electrical Safety Standards, Administration, and Installation official copy formatted in the protocol of the Office of the Code Reviser.

NFPA codes and standards

Visit the website of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) for read-only access to the NFPA codes and standards adopted by L&I in Chapter 296-46B-010 WAC.

Rule Development

2023 rulemaking

The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) has adopted changes to the qualifications for journey level (01) electrician examinations. This is taking place now to comply with a new state law.

The adopted rule affects Washington Administrative Code 296-46B-945. It takes effect July 3.

What the rule does

  • Provides greater opportunities for electrical trainees to continue to work and qualify for the (01) exam without going through an apprenticeship.
  • Trainees with more 3,000 hours of electrical experience before July 1, or those that completed a two-year electrical construction training program before July 1, may continue gaining experience until July 1, 2026, without registering as apprentices.
  • Trainees with fewer than 3,000 hours of electrical experience worked before July 1, 2023, must register as apprentices with an (01) apprenticeship program if performing work limited to (01) journey level electricians.

The adopted rule also incorporates some items from the agency’s earlier rulemaking. It establishes permanent pathways to qualify for the journey level electrician's certificate of competency examination for military, state licensed, and out-of-state electricians.

The rule change is required to implement, Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5320 (Chapter 95, Laws of 2023) that passed this legislature this year. The law also takes effect July 1.

Rulemaking documents
Expedited Step 1: Proposed Rulemaking

Expedited Step 2: Final Adoption

2023 rulemaking

L&I is considering adoption of the 2023 National Electrical Code (NEC) and other rule changes. L&I filed a formal Preproposal Statement of Inquiry (CR-101) on April 4.

The changes under consideration would affect WAC 296-46B, Electrical Safety Standards, Administration, and Installation, excluding WAC 296-46B-945, Qualifying for master, journey level, specialty electrician examinations.

Why this is happening now

L&I reviews the state electrical rules every three years, to ensure consistency with national electrical safety standards and industry practice. The NEC is recognized and adopted in nearly all 50 states.

How you can participate

L&I’s Electrical Program, like many jurisdictions, doesn’t adopt the NEC in its entirety. We’re seeking input from interested parties in making code amendments and other changes to the rules. Interested parties may submit rule proposals through May 20.

L&I is also seeking experts and interested group representatives to participate on a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) during the same period.

See the April 2023 Special Edition Electrical Currents Newsletter for more details and a link to the rule proposal form.

Rulemaking documents
Notice of Intent 4/04/2023
CR-101 Preproposal
Here’s what happens next

• November 21: The proposed rules (CR-102) are expected to be filed with the state Office of the Code Reviser.
• January 3, 2024: A public hearing on the proposed rules is tentatively scheduled.
• February 27, 2024: The final rules (CR-103) are expected to be filed with the state Office of the Code Reviser.
• April 1, 2024: The new rules are expected to take effect.

2023 rulemaking

L&I has adopted rule changes that provide more opportunities to qualify for the journey level (01) examination.

A new law, implemented under 2018’s Substitute Senate Bill (SSB) 6126, provided L&I the opportunity to engage in rulemaking. L&I’s used its discretion provided by the law to continue to help the electrical industry while implementing the bill. Below is an overview of the adopted changes, and where to go to see a complete text of the adopted rule.

L&I filed a CR-103 Rulemaking Order to adopt the changes on Feb. 14. The new rules take effect on July 1.

An important note:

These changes do not apply to specialty electrical contractors or the trainees they employ. Also unchanged is the process for trainees to submit hours of experience to the Electrical Program’s licensing division

Overview of proposed changes

The adopted changes allow journey-level candidates to take the 01 exam based on a “good cause” exemption available under law. The exemption would be in effect through July 1, 2025. The adopted rule, in part, recognizes:

  • State-licensed electricians from other jurisdictions that require 8,000 hours of experience (4,000 hours must be new commercial or industrial installations) as journey level electricians;
  • Individuals with military experience from a construction battalion while in the U.S. military, or those from other jurisdictions with 16,000 hours working in the electrical trade (4,000 hours must be commercial or industrial installations), to qualify for the 01 journey level electrician examination.
  • Individuals with 4,000 hours performing industrial or commercial installations accrued prior to July 1, 2023. The individual can continue accruing remaining specialty experience and qualify for the journey level electrician examination without joining an apprenticeship program.

This rulemaking also adopts other changes to the rule for updates and housekeeping.

Rulemaking documents
Notice of Intent 8/02/2022
Proposed Rule Language 11/22/2022
Final Adoption 2/14/2023
Here's what happens next

July 1, 2023: The adopted rule takes effect.

Related resources
Electrical Inspection Policies

As new policies are approved, they will be posted here. Please check back on a regular basis.

Policy Number Effective Date
none current or pending None as of 10/1/2013