Associated Builders and Contractors today issued the following statement opposing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Worker Walkaround Representative Designation Process final rule, which allows employees to choose a third-party representative, such as an outside union representative or community organizer, to accompany an OSHA safety inspector into nonunion workplaces during site inspections.

“Now, construction employees and employers could face serious safety concerns because the final rule has the potential to allow anyone on a jobsite,” said Greg Sizemore, ABCvice president of health, safety, environment and workforce development. “There simply is no business case for this final rule and no benefit during a compliance inspection.

“By allowing outside union agents access to nonunion employers’ private property, OSHA is injecting itself into labor-management disputes and casting doubt on its status as a neutral enforcer of the law,” said Sizemore. “This final rule negatively impacts the rights of employers while simultaneously ignoring the rights of the majority of employees who have not authorized a union to represent them. OSHA’s rule also poses unnecessary risk to the individual joining the inspection and others on the jobsite if the authorized person is not trained to safely walk a construction jobsite. The rule does not include any requirement that the authorized person be equipped or conduct themselves to the same standards as OSHA safety inspectors. Further, the final rule fails to answer who is legally responsible if the third party gets injured during the inspection or harms someone else.

“OSHA can have a bigger impact on jobsite safety by fostering positive partnerships with employers and promoting safety practices that produce results. For example, according to ABC’s 2023 Safety Performance Report, top-performing contractors that participate in ABC’s STEP Safety Management System are nearly seven times safer than the industry average,” said Sizemore. “Simply put, OSHA’s overreach does nothing to promote workplace health and safety, but instead pushes the administration’s ‘all-of-government’ agenda to encourage unions and collective bargaining.”

On Nov. 13, 2023, ABC filed comments opposing OSHA’s Worker Walkaround Representative Designation Process proposed rule.