OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, has proposed a rule change which has ruffled feathers among contractor groups. The proposed amendment to the “Representatives of Employers and Employees” regulation suggests that an authorized representative can accompany an OSHA compliance officer during an inspection of a worksite, regardless of their involvement in the project. This representative could be authorized by employees or a third party, such as an employee or union representative, even on non-union jobs.
OSHA believes that this rule change will enhance inspections by allowing workers to be represented during safety inspections and facilitating the acquisition of necessary workplace safety information by compliance officers. Contractor group, Associated Builders and Contractors, has voiced opposition to the proposed change, arguing that it undermines OSHA’s neutrality and interferes in labor-management disputes.
Unions, on the other hand, have shown support for the proposed rule. The North America’s Building Trades Union President, Sean McGarvey, stated that they support any efforts by the Department of Labor and OSHA to ensure safe workplaces.
This proposed rule change echoes how OSHA has interpreted a similar rule in the past. However, critics argue that the rule may lead to disruption and potential bias during safety inspections. OSHA is accepting public comments on the proposed rule change until October 30.
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