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OSHA to Publish Final Worker Walkaround Representative Rule in Monday’s Federal Register

Monday’s Federal Register will include the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s final rule regarding the “Worker Walkaround Representative Designation Process,” which clarifies the rights of employees to authorize a representative to accompany an OSHA compliance officer during an inspection of their workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Act gives the employer and employees the right to authorize a representative to accompany OSHA officials during a workplace inspection. The final rule clarifies that, consistent with the law, workers may authorize another employee to serve as their representative or select a non-employee. For a non-employee representative to accompany the compliance officer in a workplace, they must be “reasonably necessary” to conduct an effective and thorough inspection. Consistent with OSHA's historic practice, the rule clarifies that a non-employee representative may be reasonably necessary based upon skills, knowledge, or experience. This experience may include knowledge or experience with hazards or conditions in the workplace or similar workplaces, or language or communication skills. The pre-publication version of the rule can be accessed here.

In response to the announcement of the final rule, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Ranking Member Bill Cassidy (R-LA) released a statement saying that “the Final Rule allows outside union officials to inject themselves into non-unionized workplaces by participating in Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) workplace inspections.” Additionally, House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) issued a statement asserting that “ the Department of Labor’s (DOL) final Walkaround Rule…would give unions and left-wing activists who are not employees of the employer access to worksites during Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspections: This rule has absolutely nothing to do with keeping workers safe. Rather it weaponizes OSHA inspections—harming workers’ safety while also increasing employers’ costs. This isn’t surprising given this administration’s zeal for regulatory overreach.”

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