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AGO 1953 No. 59 - June 01, 1953
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Don Eastvold | 1953-1956 | Attorney General of Washington

BOILERS AND UNFIRED PRESSURE VESSELS UNDER THE PUBLIC SAFETY ACT

Under the provisions of Chapter 32, Laws of 1951, RCW 70.79, certain powers have been delegated to the Director of the Department of Labor and Industries and he is given authority to direct the chief inspector to enforce the provisions contained in sec. 11, RCW 70.79.110.

The cost of inspections of boilers and unfired pressure vessels heretofore made under the provisions of RCW 43.22.050 (1) (cf. Rem. Rev. Stat., sec.10838 (2)), would be properly chargeable against the accident and medical aid funds, but the cost of such inspections under chapter 32, Laws of 1951, RCW 70.79, on operations not deemed to be extrahazardous must be paid for by an appropriation from the general fund.

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                                                                    June 1, 1953

Honorable A. M. Johnson
Director
Department of Labor & Industries
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                                Cite as:  AGO 53-55 No. 59

Dear Mr. Johnson:

            We acknowledge receipt of your letter of May 22, 1953, wherein you request the opinion of this office on the following questions:

            1. Is it the responsibility of the Director of Labor & Industries to administer chapter 32, Laws of 1951?

            2. May the entire cost and expense of administering chapter 32, Laws of 1951, be charged against the accident fund and medical aid fund?

            Our conclusions may be summarized as follows:

            Under the provisions of chapter 32, Laws of 1951, chapter 70.79 RCW, certain powers have been delegated to the Director of the Department of Labor & Industries and  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] he is given authority to direct the chief inspector to enforce the provisions contained in section 11, RCW 70.79.110.

            This act has been entitled An Act relating to public safety and is not confined to the inspection of boilers and unfired pressure vessels used in extra-hazardous industry.  The entire cost, therefore, of administering the act may not be charged against the accident fund and medical aid fund, but such cost may be prorated in proportion to the inspections required for extra-hazardous industry.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            Chapter 32, Laws of 1951, chapter 70.79 RCW provides for the inspection of boilers and unfired pressure vessels as a public safety measure.  This act does not confine or limit the inspection of boilers and unfired pressure vessels used in extrahazardous industry.  This enactment creates a board of five members appointed by the Governor and vests in that body certain prescribed duties in the administration thereof in accordance with the generally accepted nationwide engineering standards.  In the title of the act it is provided:

            "An Act relating to public safety, creating a board of boiler rules to serve without salary with power to formulate rules and regulations for the safe and proper construction, installation, repair, use and operation of boilers and for the safe and proper construction, installation and repair of unfired pressure vessels; providing for the enforcement of the rules and regulations so promulgated; providing for the examination and appointment of boiler inspectors; providing for the inspection of boilers and unfired pressure vessels, the fees to be charged, and the reports to be made thereof; providing for inspection certificates; providing for appeals, and providing a penalty for the violation of the provisions of this act."

            Section 10, RCW 70.79.100 provides that the Director of the Department of Labor & Industries shall appoint a chief inspector and may direct him to enforce the provisions contained in section 11, RCW 70.79.110.  By virtue of this authority the chief inspector would be responsible to the Director or to the Supervisor of Safety, as the Director shall determine, for the enforcement of the act.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            We recognize that this act is closely allied to the inspection, operation and maintenance of boilers and unfired pressure vessels used in extra-hazardous industry, the inspection, operation and maintenance of which have been delegated to the Supervisor of Safety of the Department of Labor & Industries.  However, we cannot interpret or construe this act to mean, or that the legislature intended, that all industry engaged in extra-hazardous employment should bear the entire cost of the administration of the act.  On the contrary it must have been presumed by the legislature that the act would be self-supporting in view of the fee schedule provided for in section 32, RCW 70.79.330 and section 34, RCW 70.79.350, which provides that all sums so collected shall be transferred to the State Treasurer.  This presumption is borne out by the fact that no appropriation was made by the legislature to defray the cost of its administration.  If the cost of the administration of the act exceeds the sum collected for inspection fees, the deficiency would have to be by appropriation from the general fund.

            In view of the vague and uncertain language in the act it is suggested that the legislature be put on notice of the many apparent inconsistencies in the act and to designate with some degree of certainty where the responsibility lies for its administration.

            We therefore conclude that while the Director of the Department of Labor & Industries is not specifically charged with the duty of administering chapter 32, Laws of 1951, chapter 70.79 RCW, he is authorized to direct the chief inspector to enforce the provisions of section 11, RCW 70.79.110, and the cost of inspections of boilers and unfired pressure vessels heretofore made under the provisions of RCW 43.22.050 (1) [cf. Rem. Rev. Stat., § 10838 (2)], would be properly chargeable against the accident and medical aid funds.  However, the cost of such inspections under chapter 32, Laws of 1951, chapter 70.79 RCW, on operations not deemed to be extra-hazardous may not be charged against the accident and medical aid funds, but must be paid for by an appropriation from the general fund.

Very truly yours,

DON EASTVOLD
Attorney General

BERNARD A. JOHNSON
Assistant Attorney General

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