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OSHA’S ‘Union Walkaround Rule’ Heads Toward Finalization Following Comment Period

13 Dec

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Update Applicable to:  Effective date
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What happened?

The proposed rule has serious implications for employers and creates new burdens. Upon review of all submitted comments, OSHA will finalize and publish the rule, subject to any modifications. Once a final rule is published, a legal challenge to the rule by the employer community is expected.

What are the details?

The proposed rule would modify 29 C.F.R. § 1903.8(c) to expand the definition of what types of “third parties,” such as community activists and union representatives, may accompany a Compliance Safety and Health Officer (CSHO) during an OSHA inspection. 

The comment period ended on October 30, 2023, and the final rule is expected to be released as soon as the reviews are over.

Per Morgan Lewis Law firm opinion: “…given the exceptionally expansive language in the preamble to the rule and the Biden administration’s explicit pro-union promises, it could be difficult for any inspector to conclude that a union request in a nonunion workplace is anything other than reasonably necessary.”

Best practices

  • Consider carefully if you will allow or deny access to a third-party, which could trigger OSHA seeking a search warrant. However, “…you still have your Forth Amendment and state property rights…” Fisher Phillips Law Firm.
  • Update or create (if you do not have) your policies and procedures on how to adequately manage an OSHA inspection.
  • Consider a communication and training plan for your key employees, regarding the new standard.

Here are some additional resources:

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This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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