Authorized Employee Representation During Workplace Inspections – OSHA Update

Department of Labor announces proposed changes to clarify regulations on authorized employee representation during workplace inspectionsDOL Proposed Rule Changes Regarding Authorized Employee Representation During Workplace Inspections

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced a notice of proposed rulemaking to revise regulations. Moreover, who can be authorized by employees to act as their representative during OSHA physical workplace inspections.

The proposed rule clarifies that employees can authorize an employee or a non-employee third party for inspections. (if the compliance officer determines the third party is reasonably necessary to conduct an effective and thorough inspection)

The proposed changes also clarify that third-party representatives, not just industrial hygienists or safety engineers, can be included as examples in the existing regulation. Furthermore, compliance officers can receive valuable insights during inspections from third-party representatives with skills, knowledge, or experience. They may have experience with specific hazards, workplace conditions, or language skills that improve communication with workers.

“Congress considered worker participation a key element of workplace safety and health inspections when it passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act,” explained Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker. “This proposal aims to make inspections more effective and ultimately make workplaces safer by increasing opportunities for employees to be represented in the inspection process.”

Seeking Public Comment

In addition to the NPRM’s proposed revisions, OSHA is also seeking public comment on the criteria and degree of deference OSHA should give to employees’ choice of representative in determining whether a third party can participate in an inspection.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act gives the employer and employees the right to have a representative authorized by them accompany OSHA officials during a workplace inspection to aid the investigation. Employee participation and representation is critical to an inspector’s ability to complete a thorough and effective workplace investigation and helps OSHA gather information about the job site’s conditions and hazards.

The proposed revisions uphold OSHA compliance officers’ authority to determine if an individual is authorized by employees. Additionally, they can limit participation in walkaround inspections to address interfering conduct or protect trade secrets.

More Info on the Topic of Authorized Employee Representation During Workplace Inspections

Submit comments at, the federal eRulemaking portal by Oct. 30, 2023. Include Docket Number OSHA-2023-0008 on all submissions. Read the Federal Register notice for more information.

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OSHA Enforcement Guidance Issued

OSHA Enforcement Guidance Issued  |  January 26, 2023

OSHA enforcement guidance issued to stop employers from repeatedly exposing workers to life-threatening hazards.

OSHA Enforcement Guidance Issued – Focus on Repeat Offenders

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued a new enforcement guidance to make its penalties more effective in stopping employers from repeatedly exposing workers to life-threatening hazards or failing to comply with certain workplace safety and health requirements.

OSHA Regional Administrators and Area Office Directors now have the authority to cite certain types of violations as “instance-by-instance citations” for cases where the agency identifies “high-gravity” serious violations of OSHA standards specific to certain conditions where the language of the rule supports a citation for each instance of non-compliance. There are several conditions that need to be considered.  Firstly, lockout/tagout is one of the conditions that require attention. Secondly, machine guarding should also be given priority. Additionally, the condition of permit-required confined space needs to be addressed. Moreover, respiratory protection is another crucial aspect to be mindful of. Furthermore, falls should be taken into consideration when evaluating workplace safety. Trenching is yet another condition that requires careful attention. Lastly, it is important to note the specific recordkeeping violations applicable in cases of other-than-serious nature.

Discourage Non-Compliance

The change is intended to ensure OSHA personnel are applying the full authority of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA Act) where increased citations are needed to discourage non-compliance. The new guidance covers enforcement activity in general industry, agriculture, maritime and construction industries, and becomes effective 60 days from Jan. 26, 2023.

Issue Separate Citations

In a second action, OSHA reminded its Regional Administrators and Area Directors of their authority not to group violations, and instead cite them separately to more effectively encourage employers to comply with the intent of the OSHA Act.

The existing guidance on instance-by-instance citations are outlined in the OSHA Field Operations Manual, and CPL 02-00-080, “Handling of Cases to be Proposed for Violation-by-Violation Penalties.” In addition, for more information, please visit OSHA’s Enforcement website and press release.

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Preventing Heat Illness at Work

Preventing Heat Illness at Work  |  Early Intervention Ergonomics
Preventing heat illness at work requires prioritizing employee well-being. A cool and hydrated workforce is a happy and healthy one.

(FMB PHOTO | Getty Images)

Preventing Heat Illness at Work: Tips for a Safe Work Environment

Heat illness is a serious concern that can impact productivity and the well-being of employees. As temperatures rise, it’s crucial for employers and workers to take proactive steps to prevent heat-related illnesses. In this article, we will explore practical tips and guidelines to create a safe and comfortable work environment.

Stay Hydrated

One of the most effective ways to prevent heat illness at work is by staying hydrated. Encourage employees to drink plenty of water throughout the day, even if they don’t feel thirsty. Provide easy access to cool drinking water and promote regular water breaks. Avoid excessive consumption of caffeinated or sugary beverages as they can contribute to dehydration. By keeping the body hydrated, employees can regulate their body temperature and reduce the risk of heat-related illnesses.

Dress Appropriately

Choosing the right clothing is essential to prevent heat illness. Opt for lightweight, loose-fitting, and breathable fabrics that allow for better air circulation. Encourage employees to wear light-colored clothing to reflect heat and sunlight. Implement a relaxed dress code policy during hot weather to ensure comfort while maintaining professionalism. Additionally, consider providing personal protective equipment (PPE) designed to be breathable and heat-resistant, where applicable.

Schedule Smart

When possible, adjust work schedules to avoid the hottest parts of the day, typically mid-afternoon. If work demands outdoor activities during high temperatures, consider rescheduling or shifting tasks to cooler times. Break up physically demanding work into shorter, more frequent intervals, providing ample rest periods and shaded areas. This allows employees to recover, cool down, and reduces the risk of overheating or heat exhaustion.

Create Shaded Areas

Providing shaded areas is crucial, especially for outdoor workspaces. Set up temporary or permanent shade structures in areas where employees can take breaks and find respite from direct sunlight. Ensure that these shaded areas are well-ventilated to allow air circulation. Additionally, consider using fans or misting systems to further enhance the cooling effect. Encourage employees to take regular breaks in shaded areas to cool down and lower their body temperatures.

Train and Educate

Educating employees about heat illness prevention is key to maintaining a safe workplace. Conduct training sessions on recognizing the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Teach employees the importance of early intervention and how to respond in emergency situations. Provide information on preventive measures, including proper hydration, clothing choices, and scheduling considerations. Encourage workers to look out for each other and report any symptoms promptly.

Things to Remember

Preventing heat illness at work requires a proactive approach that prioritizes employee well-being. By implementing these tips, organizations can create a safe and comfortable work environment, reducing the risk of heat-related illnesses and improving overall productivity. Remember, a cool and hydrated workforce is a happy and healthy one.

By following these guidelines to prevent heat illness at work, employers can ensure the well-being of their employees while fostering a positive and productive workplace environment. Stay cool, stay safe!

OSHA Heat Illness Resources:

Heat Illness Prevention:  Employers Responsibility
Extreme Heat Can Be Deadly to Workers
Heat Illness Prevention – OSHA


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