Retailers Detail Concerns w/ OSHA Unlimited Walkaround Rule

Disgruntled former employees not qualified safety inspectors

The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) submitted comments as part of a broader multi-industry coalition in response to OSHA’s proposal to amend the “Worker Walkaround Representative Designation Process” rule. 

As the coalition outlines, the proposal fails to justify that it will improve worker safety, the proposal conflicts with existing laws such as the National Labor Relations Act, is administratively unworkable and contains Constitutional defects. 

“The solutions in search of problems approach to rulemaking does not work for workers or businesses. Sadly, this is another example of the administration pushing politically motivated regulations that undermine the very stakeholders they attempt to help,” stated Evan Armstrong, Vice President of Workforce, RILA. 

Most alarmingly, the proposal likely increases risks of injury or harm in the workplace by virtually allowing an unlimited scope of persons access to workplaces. OSHA provides no process or framework for its inspectors to determine what third party is eligible to inspect workplaces, and there is no process for employers to object to a third party even if there are serious concerns or the person does not possess the qualifications to conduct an inspection. The coalition writes, that, “requiring employers to allow disgruntled former employees, individuals on strike against the company, or relatives of injured or deceased employees as authorized inspection representative is fraught with the potential for disruptive confrontations or even violent altercations.”

OSHA will now undergo a review process of submitted comments before publishing a final rule sometime in the first half of 2024. 

“Retailers hope OSHA will seriously consider the implications this rule will have on workplaces and will withdraw the proposed rule. Implementing this rule will only serve to create confusion and contention at workplaces which should be the opposite of what an agency charged with improving workplace safety strives to do,” said Armstrong. 

For the full comments, click here

RILA is the US trade association for leading retailers. We convene decision-makers, advocate for the industry, and promote operational excellence and innovation. Our aim is to elevate a dynamic industry by transforming the environment in which retailers operate.

RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $2.7 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs, and hundreds of thousands of stores, manufacturing facilities, and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

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