In B&R Sales v. Labor & Industries, a Washington appellate court affirmed the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals' decision that the at-issue independent contractors were "workers" for purposes of industrial insurance. Washington law requires companies to provide industrial insurance to their "workers." Whether or not an independent contractor is a "worker" depends on the "essence" or "primary object" of the contract. Where "the contracting party's primary object is to obtain the personal labor of a skilled contractor, the contractor is a worker . . . even if the contractor must use specialized equipment" in providing the labor. In B&R Sales, although the independent contractors provided their own specialized equipment valued at $7,000-$20,000 and customized vans to perform the services, the court found the primary object of the contract to be their "learned skills and experience" in installing floor coverings. The court observed that the "tools were merely ancillary to the contractors' performance of their skilled, personal labor."
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