July 1, 2013
From: Northwest Legislative & Political Affairs Committee
Subject: PRESUBMITTED NEW BUSINESS: Support of Respectful Workplace Regulation
The declared Legislative purpose of the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act of 1973 (WISHA) is “…to create, maintain, continue, and enhance the industrial safety and health program of the state.”
Under WISHA the term “workplace” means any plant, yard, premises, room, or other place where an employee or employees are employed for the performance of labor or service over which the employer has the right of access or control, and includes, but is not limited to, all workplaces covered by industrial insurance under Title 51 RCW, as now or hereafter amended.
Under the authority of the director of the department of labor and industries provided in RCW 49.17.040, “The director shall make, adopt, modify, and repeal rules and regulations governing safety and health standards for conditions of employment as authorized by this chapter.”
RCW 49.17.050(1) requires the director of the department of labor and industries to “Provide for the preparation, adoption, amendment, or repeal of rules and regulations of safety and health standards governing the conditions of employment of general and special application in all workplaces.”
RCW 49.17.050(3) requires the director of the department of labor and industries to “Provide a method of encouraging employers and employees in their efforts to reduce the number of safety and health hazards at their workplaces and to stimulate employers and employees to institute new and to perfect existing programs for providing safe and healthful working conditions.”
The Director of the Department of Labor and Industries is required under RCW 49.17.050(7) to “Provide for the publication and dissemination to employers, employees, and labor organizations and the posting where appropriate by employers of informational, education, or training materials calculated to aid and assist in achieving the objectives of this chapter.”
A disrespectful workplace is one which includes, but is not limited to, intimidation, teasing, threats, domination or harassment.
Disrespectful workplaces in the State of Washington create adverse health consequences for employees and employers including such impacts as loss of focus when performing hazardous work which may lead to on-the-job accidents and injuries, elevated stress disorder leading to such work-related problems as distracted driving and operation of equipment, exacerbated anxiety including heightened nervousness and fear which impact job-related concentration and increases risk of mistakes and errors.
Workplace studies and research has been conducted by the department of labor and industries’ SHARP program which describe significant levels of workplace “bullying” which is often used as a factor in determining the existence of disrespectful workplaces.
It is moved that: THE SPEEA NORTHWEST REGIONAL COUNCIL SUPPORTS WASHINGTON ADMINISTRATIVE CODE RULE MAKING BY THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRIES TO ESTABLISH APPROPRIATE WORKPLACE CRITERIA AND SET RESPONSIBILITY FOR CREATING AND MAINTAINING A RESPECTFUL WORKPLACE.