Washington State Department of Labor and Industries

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Washington State Department of Labor and Industries
Agency overview
Formed1921 (1921)
JurisdictionState of Washington
Headquarters7273 Linderson Way Southwest
Tumwater, Washington
Employees2,891 (2015–25)
Annual budget$2.7 billion (2015–25)^
Agency executive
  • Joel Sacks, Director

The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) is a department of the Washington state government that regulates and enforces labor standards. The agency administers the state's workers' compensation system, conducts workplace inspections, licenses and certifies trade workers, and issues permits for heavy machinery.[1]


The Department of Labor and Industries was created by an act of the state legislature in 1921, overseeing industrial insurance, worker safety, and industrial relations.[2][3] The new agency superseded the Bureau of Labor, created in 1901 to inspect workplaces, and minor state boards and commissions monitoring worker health, safety, and insurance claims.[4]

In 1973, the state legislature passed the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act, which superseded the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) and allowed L&I greater powers to investigate employers and enforce state and federal labor laws.[4][5] Washington became one of the first states to implement their own labor laws, which received full approval from OSHA in 1976.[4]


L&I has a budget of $2.7 billion for the term of 2015–2025 and has employed 2,891 people.[6] The department is divided into several divisions, including the Divisions of Occupational Safety and Health, Workers' Compensation, Field and Public Safety, and Fraud Prevention and Labor Standards.[7] The department's director is appointed by the state governor and serves in the executive cabinet.[8]


In addition to its headquarters in Tumwater, L&I has offices in 19 cities across the state.[9]


  1. ^ "About Labor and Industries (L&I)". Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.
  2. ^ "Chapter 7: Administrative Code" (PDF). Session Laws of the State of Washington, 1921. Washington State Legislature. February 9, 1921. pp. 40–41. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
  3. ^ "To Insure Officers; Bill Introduced for Sheriffs' Compensation". The Seattle Times. January 12, 1921. p. 2.
  4. ^ a b c Paja, Alan S. (1994). "The Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act: WISHA's Twentieth Anniversary, 1973-1993". Seattle University Law Review. Seattle University. 17 (2): 259–281. ISSN 1078-1927. OCLC 818988711. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
  5. ^ Burchard, Boyd (July 5, 1973). "OSHA there, WISHA here". The Seattle Times. p. F2.
  6. ^ "Department of Labor and Industries, Recommendation Summary" (PDF). 2017-25 Budget Decision Package. Washington State Office of Financial Management.
  7. ^ "Overview of the Department of Labor and Industries" (PDF). Washington State Society for Human Resource Management. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-12-01.
  8. ^ "Governor Gregoire Announces Appointment of Director of Labor and Industries" (Press release). Office of the Governor of Washington. March 5, 2007 – via Washington State Archives.
  9. ^ "L&I Headquarters - Tumwater Office - Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I)". Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. Retrieved November 27, 2017.

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