Final Rule Clarifies Employee Representation During OSHA Inspections

The Department of Labor today published a final rule clarifying the rights of employees to authorize a representative to accompany an OSHA compliance officer during an inspection of their workplace.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act gives both the employer and employees the right to authorize a representative to accompany OSHA officials during a workplace inspection. The final rule clarifies that, consistent with the OSH Act, workers may authorize another employee to serve as their representative or select a non-employee. For a non-employee representative to accompany the inspector into a workplace, they must be reasonably necessary to the conduct of an effective and thorough inspection.

Consistent with OSHA’s historic practice, the rule clarifies that a non-employee representative may be reasonably necessary to the conduct of an effective and thorough inspection based upon skills, knowledge, or experience such as knowledge or experience with hazards or conditions in the workplace or similar workplaces, or language or communication skills. These revisions better align OSHA’s regulation with the OSH Act and will enable the agency to conduct more thorough inspections. OSHA regulations require no specific qualifications for employer representatives or for employee representatives who are employees of the employer.

"Worker involvement in the inspection process is essential for thorough and effective inspections and making workplaces safer. The OSH Act gives employers and employees equal opportunity for choosing representation during the OSHA inspection process, and this rule returns us to the fair, balanced approach Congress intended." – Assistant Secretary for OSHA Doug Parker

About the Rule