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49.17.270  <<  49.17.280 >>   49.17.285

RCW 49.17.280

Agricultural workers and handlers of agricultural pesticides — Coordination of regulation and enforcement with department of agriculture.

(1) As used in this section, "federal worker protection standard" or "federal standard" means the worker protection standard for agricultural workers and handlers of agricultural pesticides adopted by the United States environmental protection agency in 40 C.F.R., part 170 as it exists on June 6, 1996.

     (2)(a) No rule adopted under this chapter may impose requirements that make compliance with the federal worker protection standard impossible.

     (b) The department shall adopt by rule safety and health standards that are at least as effective as the federal standard. Standards adopted by the department under this section shall be adopted in coordination with the department of agriculture.

     (3) If a violation of the federal worker protection standard, or of state rules regulating activities governed by the federal standard, is investigated by the department and by the department of agriculture, the agencies shall conduct a joint investigation if feasible, and shall share relevant information. However, an investigation conducted by the department under Title 51 RCW solely with regard to industrial insurance shall not be considered to be an investigation by the department for this purpose. The agencies shall not issue duplicate citations to an individual or business for the same violation of the federal standard or state rules regulating activities governed by the federal standard. By December 1, 1996, the department and the department of agriculture shall jointly establish a formal agreement that: Identifies the roles of each of the two agencies in conducting investigations of activities governed by the federal standard; and provides for protection of workers and enforcement of standards that is at least as effective as provided to all workers under this chapter. The department's role under the agreement shall not extend beyond protection of safety and health in the workplace as provided under this chapter.

[1996 c 260 § 2.]

Notes:

     Finding -- Intent -- 1996 c 260: "The legislature finds that the state's highly productive and efficient agriculture sector is composed predominately of family owned and managed farms and an industrious and efficient workforce. It is the intent of the legislature that the department of agriculture and the department of labor and industries coordinate adoption, implementation, and enforcement of a common set of worker protection standards related to pesticides in order to avoid inconsistency and conflict in the application of those rules. It is also the intent of the legislature that the department of agriculture and the department of labor and industries coordinate investigations with the department of health as well. Further, coordination of enforcement procedures under chapter 260, Laws of 1996 shall not reduce the effectiveness of the enforcement provisions of the Washington industrial safety and health act of 1973 or the Washington pesticide application act. Finally, when the department of agriculture or the department of labor and industries anticipates regulatory changes to standards regarding pesticide application and handling, they shall involve the affected parties in the rule-making process and solicit relevant information. The department of agriculture and the department of labor and industries shall identify differences in their respective jurisdictions and penalty structures and publish those differences." [1996 c 260 § 1.]

     Severability -- 1996 c 260: "If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected." [1996 c 260 § 6.]

Department of agriculture authority: RCW 17.21.440.