oSHAOn April 1, 2024, the U.S. Department of Labor finalized a rule clarifying the rights of employees to authorize a representative to accompany an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) compliance officer during a workplace inspection.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act gives an employer and employee the right to authorize a representative to accompany OSHA officials during an inspection. 

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the final rule clarifies that, consistent with the law, workers may authorize another employee to serve as their representative or select a non-employee. For a non-employee representative to accompany the compliance officer (in the workplace), the representative must be reasonably necessary to conduct an effective inspection.

The rule clarifies that a non-employee representative may be reasonably necessary depending on their skills, experience, or knowledge, which may include knowledge of hazards or conditions in the workplace or similar workplace or communication skills to ensure a thorough inspection. 

According to the OSHA website, OSHA regulations require no specific qualifications for employee representatives or for representatives employed by the employer. The rule goes into effect on May 31, 2024. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.