Washington Law Review


Ben Moore


In 1973, the Washington State Legislature enacted the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act. The stated purpose of the Act was to ensure safe working conditions for the working men and women of Washington. Seventeen years later, the Washington State Supreme Court held that general contractors are per se liable for the WISHA violations of their subcontractors. However, the Washington Department of Labor and Industries has adopted a policy of citing general contractors for subcontractor violations only in limited circumstances. This Comment first outlines the development of worker safety laws in Washington, then examines the effects of the Department’s policy at both the administrative and appellate level. Finally, this Comment argues that the Department’s policy is contrary to the governing law and should be altered to be in line with the law, avoid potential confusion on appeal, and fulfill the purpose of WISHA: to protect Washington’s workers.

First Page