OSHA Issues Proposed Rulemaking Allowing Nonemployees into Workplaces

On August 29, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued its new notice of proposed rulemaking on its process for employees to designate a worker walkaround representative. The proposal allows employees to authorize third parties, including labor unions or community organizers, to accompany an OSHA Compliance Safety and Health Officer during a facility inspection when they are “reasonably necessary” to aid in the inspection.
The proposal inserts OSHA into union organizing campaigns and collective bargaining negotiations between unions and employers. It risks moving inspections away from their appropriate focus on workplace safety and converting them into opportunities for parties to campaign against employers. Third parties looking to harm the employer will have access to the employer’s premises to develop more information for their campaigns or obtain proprietary information.
CWS will file comments on this dangerous proposal.