Proposed OSHA Rule Change: Employee Representatives

On August 29, the U.S. Department of Labor announced proposed changes to clarify regulations regarding who can be authorized by employees to act as their representative to accompany the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) compliance officers during physical workplace inspections.

In particular, the proposed rule would allow an employee or a non-employee third party to accompany OSHA compliance officers, if the compliance officer “determines the third party is reasonably necessary to conduct an effective and thorough inspection.”

Under this proposed change, third-party representatives would not be limited to industrial hygienists or safety engineers…examples cited in the existing regulation. Instead, third-party representatives may be reasonably necessary because they have skills (e.g., language capabilities), knowledge (e.g., workplace conditions) or experience (e.g., hazards) that can improve the compliance officer’s inspection.

According to Doug Parker, the Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health, “this proposal aims to make inspections more effective and ultimately make workplaces safer by increasing opportunities for employees to be represented in the inspection process.”

OSHA is currently accepting public comments on the proposed rule change through October 30, 2023. To read the complete revision or to submit comments, click here.


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