Create a free Feed & Grain account to continue reading

DOL finalizes rule on representation during OSHA inspections

The final rule establishes clear guidelines for employee and non-employee representatives during OSHA workplace inspections.

2560px Us Osha Logo svg

The U.S. Department of Labor announced a final rule to be published in the Federal Register on April 1, clarifying employees' rights to authorize a representative during Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspections. Effective May 31, 2024, this rule provides clear guidelines on who can accompany OSHA compliance officers during workplace inspections.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, both employers and employees have the right to select a representative for OSHA inspections. The new rule specifies that employees can choose either another employee or a non-employee as their representative. For a non-employee to be eligible, they must be deemed reasonably necessary for conducting an effective and thorough inspection.

The necessity of a non-employee representative is determined by their skills, knowledge, or experience related to workplace hazards, conditions, or communication barriers that could influence the inspection's effectiveness. This decision aligns with OSHA’s long-standing practices and does not impose specific qualifications for employer representatives or employee representatives who are employees of the employer.

This final rule is a response to a 2017 court decision, which limited the authorization of employee representatives to only employees of the employer. However, the court recognized that OSHA's historic practice of including non-employees was a valid interpretation of the OSH Act. The new rule reinstates this interpretation and follows a comprehensive notice and comment rulemaking process.

Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker emphasized the importance of worker involvement in inspections for ensuring workplace safety. He stated that the rule reinstates the fair and balanced approach intended by Congress, offering equal representation opportunities for both employers and employees during OSHA inspections.

Page 1 of 13
Next Page