Chairman Williams Writes to Department of Labor Regarding New Standards for OSHA Inspections
Washington, November 15, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Roger Williams (R-TX), Chairman of the House Committee on Small Business, wrote to Assistant Secretary of Labor, Douglas Parker, concerning a new proposed rule that revises regulations regarding who can be authorized by employees to act as their representative to accompany the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) compliance offers during physical workplace inspections. Chairman Williams issued the following quote.
“Forcing private businesses to open their doors to union representatives and community activists during OSHA safety inspection is completely unacceptable,” said Chairman Williams. “This rule disregards the privacy of small business owners and creates new ways for unions to coerce membership. The Committee on Small Business will continue our fight against government overreach and work to make life easier for our job creators.”
Read the full letter here.
Read excerpts from the letter below:
“The House Committee on Small Business (the Committee) writes to inquire about the recent proposed rule change to the Representatives of Employers and Employees regulation. The proposed rule would revise regulations regarding who can be authorized by employees to act as their representative to accompany the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) compliance officers during physical workplace inspections. While the rule will cause small entities to incur some additional costs, the most alarming aspect is the rule would allow third parties to access information otherwise not available to them, raising significant privacy concerns. The Committee writes to request further information about how the OSHA intends to ensure small entities and their workers are protected.
“The proposed rule would expand the definition of what types of “third parties” may accompany the officers on the OSHA inspections. In practice, this would mean that third parties, such as union representatives and community activists, would gain access to non-organized private businesses on private property—access typically denied to unions. Consequently, this would likely lead to increased pressure on businesses to allow union organizing and pressure on workers to join unions and pay dues they may not be able to afford, while diminishing the privacy of business owners. Additionally, this proposed rule would insert unpredictability and instability into the OSHA inspection process. Businesses cannot be sure whether the inspection is going to be a regular OSHA walkaround focusing on workplace safety or whether they should be prepared to have hostile groups entering their property.
“Further, the proposed rule states that a third party “may accompany the Compliance Safety and Health Officer during the inspection if, in the judgment of the Compliance Safety and Health Officer, good cause has been shown why their participation is reasonably necessary to the conduct of an effective and thorough physical inspection of the workplace.” These are vague phrases which will no doubt require small entities to hire compliance officers or legal counsel to ensure compliance.”