What are the Changes the DOL is Proposing During OSHA Workplace Inspections?
A Department of Labor (DOL) notice of proposed rulemaking is seeking input on its proposed rule regarding who accompanies Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) compliance officers during physical workplace inspections. So, what are the changes the DOL is proposing during OSHA workplace inspections?
The current OSHA rule clarifies that employers may authorize an employee or non-employee third party to accompany OSHA compliance officers during a physical inspection if the employee meets certain requirements, including:
- The employee or third party must have the skills, knowledge, or experience to help the compliance officer during his or her inspection;
- The employee or third party should be familiar with hazards, and workplace conditions, or possess language skills that can improve communication between the OSHA representative and workers; and
- The employee or third party must be reasonably necessary to be present during the inspection.
In addition, the DOL is seeking public comment on the criteria and degree of deference OSHA should give to a business owner’s choice of representative in determining if a third party should participate in an inspection.
The proposed revision would not change existing regulations that give OSHA compliance officers the authority to determine if an individual is authorized by business owners, and to prevent someone from participating in an inspection if their conduct interferes with an orderly inspection.