OSHA Finalizes Controversial Walkaround Inspections Rule

A new regulation could enable community activists, worker advocacy groups, personal injury attorneys, or union representatives to serve as third party employee representatives who join OSHA officials on walkaround inspections.

On April 1, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) published its “Worker Walkaround Representative Designation Process” final rule that made significant changes to its existing regulation regarding individuals who can serve as the authorized employee representative during the physical inspection of workplaces.

According to OSHA, the new rule clarifies that employee representatives may either be an employee of the employer or a third party. These third-party individuals could potentially include union representatives at non-union worksites, community activists, worker advocacy groups, and personal injury attorneys, among others.

While OSHA believes that there will be no change to the current inspection process, AGC believes that there are significant concerns that could arise from the agency’s new policy. Such concerns include:

  • the lack of a formal process for the identification of the representative among employees
  • the lack of notification to employers as to whom this individual may be as well as an established process for employers to dispute the selection; and
  • the limited ability for a compliance safety and health officer to verify the qualifications of the individual or individuals.
  • Further, the new rule could expose employers to increased liability of injury in the event an inexperienced person gains access to a construction site.

AGC is currently exploring options to challenge the new rule, including filing a court challenge.

The final rule goes into effect on May 31. You can find more information and resources related to the rule HERE.

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