We wanted to reach out to notify you about OSHA’s latest gift to organized labor. Consistent with the Biden Administration’s promise to be “the most labor-friendly administration in history,” last week, OSHA revealed its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking about the “Worker Walkaround Representative Designation Process.” Specifically, OSHA proposes to amend 29 CFR 1903.8(c), which is the regulation governing the rights of third parties to participate as employee representatives in OSHA inspections. The NPRM for OSHA’s Inspection Walkaround Rule would greatly expand when non-employees can accompany OSHA inspectors during physical inspections at your workplaces. Specifically, the proposed rule would open the door to third parties, including specifically union representatives even at non-union workplaces, if the OSHA compliance officer determines the third party would positively impact the inspection.
History of Union Access to Workplaces During OSHA Inspections
As a reminder, The Obama/Biden Administration tried to contort the meaning of the Inspection Walkaround regulation by granting union representatives the ability to participate in OSHA inspections at non-union workplaces by way of a formal letter of interpretation in February 2013. The interpretation letter responded to this inquiry by a labor union: “May workers at a worksite without a collective bargaining agreement designate a person affiliated with a union or a community organization to act on their behalf as a walkaround representative?”
OSHA has an existing regulation at 29 C.F.R. § 1903.8(c) that speaks to this issue, and it sets a strong bias against third party participation in OSHA inspections, unless the third party has some special skill (such as industrial hygienist or a language translator) that OSHA is lacking. Here is the existing regulatory text: Continue reading