L&I Fines Minnesota Contractor, Subs for Illegal Repair Work

Bailiwick Services LLC of Chaska, Minn., subcontracted with five other companies to move electrical lines, adjust menu boards at fast food restaurants, and install telecommunication equipment, according to the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, which cited the companies for using unlicensed electrical workers and not getting permits for the jobs.

The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) announced it has fined a Minnesota company and several of its subcontractors $273,000 for nearly 600 instances of making illegal repairs at large retailers across the state of Washington. Bailiwick Services LLC of Chaska, Minn., subcontracted with five other companies to move electrical lines, adjust menu boards at fast food restaurants, and install telecommunication equipment, according to L&I, which cited the companies for using unlicensed electrical workers and not getting permits for the jobs.

"This is about people's safety," said Steve Thornton, chief electrical inspector for L&I, which inspects much of the electrical work done in the state. "Employees and customers can get shocked from improper wiring, and ill-fitting electrical components can cause fires."

The list of retailers for which Bailiwick provided electrical contractors included The Home Depot, US Bank, Dollar Tree, and restaurants such as Wendy's, McDonald's, and Panera. In all, L&I issued 584 citations.

Bailiwick has appealed the citations, while the subcontractors have agreed to pay the penalties. The subcontractors and the amount of their fines are: I T Communications Inc., of Yakima, $28,500; SpringWise Facility MNGMT Inc., South Bend, Ind., $13,000; Darwin TC Group, Hillsboro, Ore., $5,000; Jones Sign Co., Inc., of DePere, Wis., $2,500; and Rick Slape Inc., Weatherford, Texas, $500.

Thornton said there has been an increase in the demand for electrical work, resulting in some cases of large retailers hiring unlicensed contractors, who often do unpermitted work at a variety of sites and then leave the state. The retail stores and restaurants where the violations occurred include locations in Bellingham, Chehalis, Everett, Kennewick, Kent, Longview, Puyallup, Richland, Seattle, Sequim, Spokane, Vancouver, Wenatchee, and Yakima.

L&I uses a special group of 11 inspectors called the Electrical Compliance, Outreach, Regulation and Education (ECORE) team for its investigations. ECORE issued a total of 2,976 citations against unlicensed contractors and uncertified electricians in 2018 and collected more than $2.5 million in penalties. To find out whether a contractor is licensed, has an up-to-date workers' compensation account, or has any safety violations pending, state residents can visit Lni.wa.gov/Verify.

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