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Washington Issues Emergency Rule Due to Journey-Level Electrician Shortage

The emergency rule results from the sharp increase in construction projects in Washington, and shortage of journey level electricians to do the work.

The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries has filed emergency rule revisions that allow temporary permits, in lieu of certificates of competency, for qualified electricians coming from another state. The emergency rule results from the sharp increase in construction projects in Washington, and shortage of journey level electricians to do the work.

According to its own Electrical Currents newsletter, the Department acted on the advice of the Electrical Board. The law does not allow temporary certificates to be issued for specialty electricians or to those from another country. Under the rule, electricians from other states who have completed an equivalent state-regulated four-year journey-level electrical apprenticeship program or possess an equivalent journey-level electrician certificate obtained by examination in another state and can meet the requirements under RCW 19.28.181 are eligible for a 90-day non-renewable temporary permit allowing them to work in Washington before passing the open-book electrician certification examination.

Details of Rule

General Electrical contractors wishing to employ temporary electricians must receive permission from the Chief Electrical Inspector using the Contractor Application to Employ Temporary Electricians form.

All applicants for a temporary electrician permit must complete the Combined Application for a Temporary Electrician Permit and Journey Level Electrician Examination form and submit documentation of qualifications. The application fee is $124.00, of which $62.00 is nonrefundable after the application is submitted. A long with the completed form, applicants must provide proof of either:

• Completion of an equivalent state regulated four- year journey level electrical apprenticeship program. Submit a notarized letter from the apprenticeship training director or state apprenticeship authority stating that they have completed such a program

• Proof of issuance of an equivalent journey level electrician certificate obtained by examination in another state .

Submit a notarized letter from a state licensing authority verifying certification and indicating the number of hours of supervised work experience in the electrical construction trade under direct supervision of a licensed electrician. In addition, provide evidence o f completion of at least 96 hours of in -class training on the National Electrical Code, basic electrical theory, or the use of Washington’s electrical laws and rules.

The emergency rule also allows Canadian Red Seal endorsed journeyperson construction electricians to qualify for the Washington journey level (01) electrician competency examination if they have possessed a Red Seal endorsement for one year. Canadian Red Seal electricians do not qualify for a temporary electrician permit. The emergency rules will be in effect for 120 days. In the meantime, the department will begin the process to adopt permanent rules for these issues with input from stakeholders and the Electrical Board. See the Rule Development page for information about this and other proposed rule revisions.

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