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OSHA issues final walkaround rule allowing employee representatives


The U.S. Department of Labor on Friday announced a final rule clarifying the rights of employees to authorize a representative to accompany an Occupational Safety and Health Administration compliance officer during an inspection of their workplace will be published in the Federal Register on Monday.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act gives the employer and employees the right to authorize a representative to accompany OSHA officials during a workplace inspection. The final rule is “consistent with the law” and clarifies that workers may authorize another employee to serve as their representative or select a nonemployee, according to a statement. 

For a nonemployee representative to accompany the compliance officer in a workplace, they must be reasonably necessary to conduct an effective and thorough inspection, according to a statement.

“Consistent with OSHA’s historic practice, the rule clarifies that a nonemployee representative may be reasonably necessary based upon skills, knowledge or experience,” the department said.

Such experience may include knowledge or experience with hazards or conditions in the workplace or similar workplaces, or language or communication skills to ensure an effective and thorough inspection.

The rule goes into effect on May 31.