OSHA proposed Walk Around Rule clears White House review

Posted By: Jerrod Weaver Government Affairs,

On August 24, the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) completed its review of OSHA’s Worker Walk Around Representative Designation NPRM.

The regulation, scheduled to be published on August 30, 2023, is expected to allow workers and/or their representatives to identify an individual to accompany OSHA inspectors on facility walk arounds, regardless if the individual is an employee of the employer and regardless of whether the workplace is unionized. This would fundamentally change the nature of the workplace safety inspections and put OSHA in the middle of organizing campaigns and/or labor negotiations between the employer and union. These individuals, who could be union organizers, environmental activists, or engaged in some other campaign against the employer, could use the inspection as an opportunity to collect information about the workplace, target workers for an organizing drive, or simply obtain proprietary information. 

This policy was originally attempted during the Obama administration via a 2013 Letter of Interpretation, but that Letter was struck down by a court as part of a suit by NFIB and later withdrawn by the Trump administration.

For more information on the rulemaking and its likely effects, please see the related blog posts from the US Chamber of Commerce published in June and July of 2023.