Wednesday, September 6, 2023

OSHA wants to let union reps into your non-union facility

If OSHA gets its way, you might have to start opening the doors of your business to union reps during the agency's safety inspections.

Pursuant to a new rule proposed by OSHA, in the event of an OSHA inspection an employee can designate another employee or a non-employee third-party to accompany the OSHA agent during the physical workplace inspection.

The only caveat is that the OSHA agent must determine that the third party is "reasonably necessary to conduct an effective and thorough inspection."

According to an OSHA news release announcing the proposed rule, "This proposal aims to make inspections more effective and ultimately make workplaces safer by increasing opportunities for employees to be represented in the inspection process." 

I'm not convinced, however, that "safety" is what's really motivating this suggested change. Instead, it's to whom the "non-employee third-party" language would grant access to your workplace. That language would, for example, permit union organizers and other union-affiliated personnel to enter your facility when they otherwise would be prohibited from doing so.

The proposed rule is open for comment for 60 days, and would not become final and effective until after the closure of that comment period.

This issue is certainly one that merits watching. The rule would give yet another advantage to labor unions in a federal regulatory environment that is already the most pro-union in history. Unions don't need any more help, but OSHA is bent on giving it to them anyway.