On November 13, CWS and 74 organizations representing employers submitted comments on OSHA’s proposed changes to the regulations governing the Worker Walkaround Representative Designation Process. Under the current regulations, safety experts, such as hygienists and safety engineers may accompany OSHA on an inspection of an employer’s worksite. OSHA’s proposal would greatly expand the regulation and allow a “multitude of third parties” to join OSHA on an inspection if an employee requests the agency do so. OSHA envisions worker advocacy organizations, labor organization representatives that do not represent the employees, consultants, or attorneys may join the inspection, even though none of these organizations would actually legally represent the employees or owe the employees any fiduciary duty.
In the comments, CWS outlines its objections and urges OSHA to withdraw the proposal. Specifically, the comments state, “[t]he proposed rule is anything but practical – it contains no defined guardrails to prevent unions, attorneys or other third-parties from using the OSHA inspection process for their personal benefit.” CWS also notes that NPRM “includes no guidance on how CHSOs should determine who qualifies as the “authorized representative” of the employees, or what to do when competing third parties claim interests in an inspection.” Additionally, we explain that, “rather than support[ing] employee free choice in choosing their workplace representatives, it imposes third-party representation even in workplaces where employees may have rejected union representation.”