ABC frowns on proposal to open OSHA inspections to third-party reps

Sources: Associated Builders and Contractors, Washington, D.C.; CP staff

The Associated Builders and Contractors has outlined opposition to a Department of Labor-proposed rule, Worker Walkaround Representative Designation Process, that would allow an employee to choose a third-party individual, such as an outside union representative, to accompany an Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspector in nonunion facility visits.

“ABC is deeply disappointed that the administration is trying to revive a failed Obama-era initiative, which was bad policy then and is bad policy now,” says Vice President of Regulatory, Labor and State Affairs Ben Brubeck. “This proposal does nothing to promote workplace safety and it will have a substantial negative impact on the rights of employers and their employees.

“By allowing outside union representatives access to nonunion employers’ private property, OSHA is injecting itself into labor-management disputes and casting doubt on its status as a neutral enforcer of the law. Unfortunately, many outside union organizer representatives have a biased agenda that is not focused on safety or health, which could distract OSHA inspectors from their primary purpose.”

ABC continues to review the proposed rule and assess options for a legal challenge, he adds. The group adamantly opposed a 2013 OSHA letter of interpretation endorsing union representatives and other nonemployee third parties accompanying OSHA inspectors on walkaround inspections at nonunion workplaces—a matter settled four years later when the agency rescinded the document.