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NCA Alert: DOL Releases Final “Walkaround” OSHA Inspection Rule

The Department of Labor (DOL) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released a final rule amending its “Representatives of Employers and Employees” regulation to clarify that employees can authorize a third-party employee representative to accompany an OSHA Compliance Safety and Health Officer (CSHO) during a workplace inspection, commonly referred to as a “walkaround.” The third-party representative must be deemed “reasonably necessary” by the CSHO to assist during the inspection. In the final rule, OSHA also clarified that a third party may be reasonably necessary because of their relevant knowledge, skills, or experience with hazards or conditions in the workplace or similar workplaces, or language or communication skills.

Prior regulations permitted “a third party who is not an employee of the employer” to accompany the CSHO during a physical workplace inspection but limited those individuals to those with skills and knowledge similar to two examples provided in the regulatory text: industrial hygienist or safety engineer. The final revision will clarify that options for third party representatives are not limited to those two examples. 

The final rule restores an Obama-era guidance from 2013, referred to as the “walk-around letter,” which clarified that employees at a worksite without a collective bargaining agreement could designate individuals affiliated with a union or community organization to act as a third-party walkaround representative. The Trump administration revoked the policy in 2017.

The rule will go into effect on May 31, 2024.

Reactions to the rule:

Contact NCA President & CEO Joe Trauger at [email protected]g if you have any questions or comments.

Contact NCA President & CEO Joe Trauger at [email protected] if you have any questions or comments.