NGFA, business groups and lawmakers fight OSHA walkaround rule Sarah Gonzalez May 30, 2024

NGFA, business groups and lawmakers fight OSHA walkaround rule

NGFA signed a May 17 letter from the Coalition of Workplace Safety, led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, urging House lawmakers to support a resolution to rescind the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) worker walkaround rule.

OSHA published a final rule on April 1 that authorizes OSHA Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHO) to allow union organizers, community activists, or other third parties to accompany them on an inspection of a workplace if employees request.

Republicans in the House, led by Rep. Mary Miller, Ill., introduced a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to rescind the walkaround rule. Members of the coalition, including NGFA, said the resolution “is vital to safeguarding the mission of workplace health and safety inspections.”

Without the resolution, OSHA CSHOs “will be forced into an impossible position of policing labor disputes, for which they are simply unequipped,” the letter states. Furthermore, OSHA’s final rule allows as few as two employees to designate an outside entity as the representative for the entire workplace during an OSHA inspection. “This violates the other workers’ right to choose their workplace representative in a free and fair election, as required by federal labor law,” the coalition noted.

The resolution “would protect employers against individuals looking to further their own agendas and safeguard their property rights,” the letter noted. “It would also protect workers’ right to have their voice heard when determining workplace representation.”

Meanwhile, a coalition of business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, filed a lawsuit challenging the walkaround rule in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. The complaint alleges that OSHA exceeded its statutory authority in promulgating the rule and violated the Administrative Procedure Act because the agency did not adequately explain its expansion of existing regulations and failed to consider alternatives. The complaint also alleges that the regulation infringes on property owners’ rights to exclude third parties and is therefore an unconstitutional taking under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.