OSHA Rescinds "Union Walk Around Rule”

On April 25, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a memorandum withdrawing a letter of interpretation that stated nonunion employees can authorize an individual “affiliated with a union or a community organization” to act as their representative during agency-sanctioned inspections and other enforcement situations.

The 2013 letter of interpretation was written by OSHA Deputy Assistant Secretary Richard Fairfax in response to a union clarification request. The letter stated that employees at worksites without collective bargaining agreements can designate an individual affiliated with a union or community organization to be their “personal representative” in enforcement-related matters during a workplace inspection, on OSHA inspection walkarounds.

Since the 2013 letter of interpretation has been withdrawn, the policy reverts to the statutory language expressed in the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act.