On September 26, the Coalition for Workplace Safety (CWS) and 40 other employer organizations sent a letter to the House Education and the Workforce Committee’s Subcommittee on Workforce Protections calling out OSHA for its worker walkaround proposed rulemaking and the politicization of the agency that the rulemaking exemplifies. The rule would empower OSHA inspectors to allow union organizers, community activists, or other third parties to accompany OSHA on an inspection of a workplace if an employee requests the inspector do so, regardless of whether the workplace is actually unionized.
As the letter explains, This new policy contradicts the OSHA’s governing regulations, longstanding agency guidance, and past interpretations of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act and could very likely result in unmanageable OSHA inspections with multiple third-party representatives. The proposed rule conflicts with federal labor law, is contrary to the principles of workplace democracy, and potentially violates the wishes of the workers. It also interferes with, dilutes, and undermines OSHA’s credibility and the inspections’ intended sole focus of ensuring workplace health and safety. Allowing these individuals into the workplace exposes both OSHA and employers to significant liability for the actions of individuals they do not know or control and whose intentions are unclear.
CWS urges the Committee to continue its oversight efforts to rein in this misguided policy and use of resources and end the politicization of the agency.