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The inside story

Everything you want to know about your L&I account

June 5, 2014
By Chris Alcatraz

Intrigued? Glad to hear it!

This is the title of just one of the many classes offered at FREE Contractor Training Days scheduled monthly at locations across the state.

Informative? You bet!

Over 25 topics: from starting a business to managing contracts; plumbing code to fall protection.

Useful? Absolutely!

Lots of reference material and in-person Q&A with staff from L&I and the Department of Revenue, volunteers from the legal community and more.

When & where? Next event in Lakewood on June 27.

If you can’t join us in June, we’d love to see you at future events in Yakima, Edmonds, Spokane and Renton. See the complete schedule.

Can’t wait? There’s more!

Check out our website for all the resources we offer business owners:



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Catch L&I’s TV ad during Mariners games

June 9, 2014
By Debby Abe

Hey, Mariners fans. Be on the lookout for home improvement contractor Mike Holmes and Labor & Industries the next time you’re cheering the Mariners on TV.

Holmes is featured on an L&I TV commercial urging homeowners to “Hire Smart” when choosing contractors to work on their home.During the ad, he tells viewers to check out L&I’s for tips on hiring a contractor.

The ad will appear during Mariner games throughout the month of June.

Holmes is a familiar face to viewers of home improvement channels HGTV and DIY Network. He’s hosted several cable TV shows, including Holmes on Homes, in which he repairs home improvement disasters caused by bad contractors.

Holmes donated his time to appear in the 30-second commercial for us. The ad is part of our public awareness campaign to teach consumers how to hire a contractor. As we, and Mike Holmes, like to say, take the time to “Hire Smart” to get the job done right the first time.



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Gitty-up on over to the Eastern Washington forklift rodeo

June 10, 2014
By Elaine Fischer


If you’re a professional forklift driver who would like to demonstrate your skills and compete for cash prizes, you’re invited to take part in one of the upcoming forklift rodeos:

  • An Eastern Washington regional qualifying competition will be held June 21 at the Spokane Fire Department Regional Readiness Center at 1618 N. Rebecca St.
  • A Western Washington forklift competition will be held August 23 at the Boeing Kent Space Center, 20403 68th Ave. S.

The top 5 individual qualifiers from each of these regional competitions will then proceed to the 17th Annual Forklift Rodeo at the Governor’s Industrial Safety and Health Conference held this year in Spokane on September 24.

We also encourage employers to sponsor in-house competitions.

The forklift rodeos have typically drawn the best forklift drivers from around the state.

Competitors must first successfully pass a written exam and be current on training requirements.

In the driving competition, the forklift drivers are timed as they negotiate a fun and challenging course that includes various tasks and hazards. For example, some courses have a basketball shot or an egg in a cone.

There’s prize money to be had! The top 8 drivers in these regional competitions earn cash prizes ranging from $50 to $300. In the finals, prizes range from $100 to $500 for the top 5 drivers.

Team awards are given for the top 2 teams at each region. A team is comprised of the top 3 scores of all entered at the region.

Sign up today! Participation is limited to the first 30 drivers who register. Visit for registration forms or call 206-281-3842 or 1-888‑451-2004. The entry fee is $40 for competitors.

Spectators are welcome and there is no admission charge.



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How do you survive an elevator accident?

August 6, 2014
By Matthew Erlich

The math indicates you’re unlikely to survive a fall in an elevator. This serious video from Slate magazine talks about how a person might survive, however “Mythbusters” busted the idea in its “Elevator of Death” episode from 2004.

At L&I, we inspect more than 16,000 elevators and escalators across the state. A handy search tool can show you the inspection history for the conveyance in your building – except for Seattle and Spokane who have their own jurisdictions.

Best advice: Lie flat on the floor if you can, but in a hydraulic elevator fall, even in a 20-story building, you may only have barely 3 seconds to react.



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Behind the story of electricians and their rabbits

August 27, 2014
By Matthew Erlich

Did you hear Tacoma resident Haley Masbruch on National Public Radio talking about how rabbits disappear?

She’s not a magician — she’s in the Southwest Washington Electrical apprenticeship program. She was explaining that “rabbits” refer to leftover copper wire and how quickly that copper can disappear if not secured.The interview was part of the “trade lingo” segment where NPR features different professions with their insider terminology.

You can read or listen to the story here, but what’s behind the story is even better.

Haley has some high school education and is in her second year as an Inside Wireman apprenticeship, making about $30 an hour (70% of a Journey-level wage). That’s the same pay scale as someone with a 4-year engineering degree in a starter job!

There is a lot of opportunity in apprenticeships. You can learn more about becoming an apprentice at our website.

As for Haley, she told NPR she enjoys being an electrician because she likes to do physical work that engages her mind. Being an electrician does both, she said.



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