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49.17.075  <<  49.17.080 >>   49.17.090

RCW 49.17.080

Variance from safety and health standards — Application — Contents — Procedure.

(1) Any employer may apply to the director for a temporary order granting a variance from any safety and health standard promulgated by rule or regulation under the authority of this chapter. Such temporary order shall be granted only if the employer files an application which meets the requirements of subsection (2) of this section and establishes that the employer is unable to comply with a safety or health standard because of the unavailability of professional or technical personnel or of materials and equipment needed to come into compliance with the safety and health standard or because necessary construction or alteration of facilities cannot be completed by the effective date of such safety and health standard, that he or she is taking all available steps to safeguard his or her employees against the hazards covered by the safety and health standard, and he or she has an effective program for coming into compliance with such safety and health standard as quickly as practicable. Any temporary order issued under the authority of this subsection shall prescribe the practices, means, methods, operations, and processes which the employer must adopt and use while the order is in effect and state in detail his or her program for coming into compliance with the safety and health standard. Such a temporary order may be granted only after notice to employees and an opportunity for a hearing upon request of the employer or any affected employee. The name of any affected employee requesting a hearing under the provisions of this subsection shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed without the consent of such employee. The director may issue one interim order to be effective until a determination is made or a decision rendered if a hearing is demanded. No temporary order may be in effect for longer than the period needed by the employer to achieve compliance with the standard, or one year, whichever is shorter, except that such an order may be renewed not more than twice, so long as the requirements of this subsection are met and if an application for renewal is filed at least ninety days prior to the expiration date of the order. No renewal of a temporary order may remain in effect for longer than one hundred eighty days.

     (2) An application for a temporary order under this section shall contain:

     (a) A specification of the safety and health standard or portion thereof from which the employer seeks a variance;

     (b) A representation by the employer, supported by representations from qualified persons having firsthand knowledge of the facts represented, that he or she is unable to comply with the safety and health standard or portion thereof and a detailed statement of the reasons therefor;

     (c) A statement of the steps the employer has taken and will take, with specific dates, to protect employees against the hazard covered by the standard;

     (d) A statement as to when the employer expects to be able to comply with the standard or portion thereof and what steps he or she has taken and will take, with dates specified, to come into compliance with the standard; and

     (e) A certification that the employer, by the date of mailing or delivery of the application to the director, has informed his or her employees of the application by providing a copy thereof to his or her employees or their authorized representative by posting a copy of such application in a place or places reasonably accessible to all employees or by other appropriate means of notification and by mailing a copy to the authorized representative of such employees; the application shall set forth the manner in which the employees have been so informed. The application shall also advise employees and their employee representatives of their right to apply to the director to conduct a hearing upon the application for a variance.

[2010 c 8 § 12008; 1973 c 80 § 8.]