*Red font in the legislation and regulation indicates changes from previous reporting

Washington 2019 Emergency Rule- Temporary Electrician Permits and Reciprocal Agreements

The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) has filed an emergency rule to issue temporary electrician permits in lieu of certificates of competency for electricians coming to work in Washington State from another state and establish rules for reciprocal agreements. 

The emergency rule — WAC 296-46B-939 — is in effect for 120 days. 

Until October 31, 2019, certain electricians coming from other states may be eligible for a 90 day nonrenewable temporary electrician permit. Contractors employing 50 or more journey level electricians on a jobsite are eligible to apply for permission to employ temporary electricians at that jobsite. A temporary electrician permit is valid only while employed by the contractor named on the permit on jobsites where that contractor is approved to employ temporary electricians. 

Background: There is an increase in construction in the state and a shortage of journey level electricians to meet the demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for electricians in the state will grow 18 percent from 2016 to 2026, twice as fast as the national average, surpassed only by Colorado, Arizona, Nevada Utah and Florida. Job openings greatly outpace supply. The impacts of the shortage of qualified electricians include: small projects are delayed because electricians seek work on large projects that offer inflated wages; companies stop bidding, causing delays in starting new projects; projects take longer to complete resulting in cost overruns; public safety risks associated with hazards created when unqualified individuals step in to perform electrical work when qualified electricians are not available.

To help address these issues, the emergency rule provides for the issuance of temporary permits in lieu of certificates of competency for electricians as authorized by RCW 19.28.231. To be eligible for a temporary permit under the emergency rule, electricians must have completed a four-year journey level electrical apprenticeship program that is equivalent to one approved in Washington or possess an equivalent journey level electrician certificate obtained by examination in another state, and meet the requirements under 19.28.181. Successful applicants receive a temporary electrician permit and approval to sit for a certification examination. The temporary electrician permit is only valid for 90 days and is not renewable. A permit is valid only on jobsites where a general electrical contractor licensed in Washington State has requested and received permission to employ temporary electricians from the department’s Chief Electrical Inspector. To remain eligible, contractors must employ at least 50 certified electricians on a jobsite where they employ temporary electricians and regularly report the status of temporary electricians.

For more information: Contact L&I's Electrical Program at 360-902-5249 or ElectricalProgram@Lni.wa.gov or PHTA Government Affairs Director Jennifer Hatfield. 

Emergency Order Adoption: http://www.lni.wa.gov/rules/AO19/14/1914CR103E.pdf

Adopted Rule WAC 296-46B-939 Language: http://www.lni.wa.gov/rules/AO19/14/1914CR103EAdoption.pdf