OSHA Reinstates Right of Employees to Have a Third-Party Advocate on Inspections

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) plays a pivotal role in safeguarding the health and safety of workers across the United States. However, up until recently, businesses were allowed to have someone present during OSHA inspections of their workplace, but no third party could take part to represent the interests of employees. 

Now,  OSHA has changed policy to allow employees to have a third-party advocate present during workplace inspections. This shift marks a significant development in promoting transparency, empowering workers and enhancing enforcement of workplace safety standards. While employees could participate in inspections, their involvement was often limited to providing information or accompanying OSHA representatives. The new standard extends the right to include a third-party advocate of the employee's choosing, such as a union representative, during the inspection process.

Allowing employees to have a third-party advocate present during OSHA inspections strengthens their ability to voice concerns and advocate for workplace safety. This means that workers have additional support and representation during interactions with OSHA officials, enabling them to raise issues effectively without taking them away from their job duties.

By facilitating the participation of third-party advocates, OSHA aims to enhance transparency and accountability in the inspection process. Advocates can serve as independent observers, helping to ensure that inspections are conducted thoroughly and fairly, and that any violations are properly documented and addressed. Knowledgeable outside representatives can also provide additional insights and perspectives on workplace conditions. They could identify hazards or violations that might otherwise go unnoticed, helping OSHA to do a more thorough job of ensuring suitable conditions for employees.

OSHA's decision is one step toward a strengthened regulatory framework where employees have a strong voice in matters that affect their well-being. Individual workers can make a big difference by raising concerns about on-the-job hazards. A good first step if you have a question about safety at your workplace is to speak with an employment law attorney at Kardell Law Group. We will advise you of the rules that apply to your workplace and your legal options if those rules are not being followed.