Below is an excerpt of an article co-authored with Robinson+Cole Labor and Employment Group lawyer Natale V. DiNatale and Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group Jon Schaefer published by the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA) on April 12, 2023.

OSHA is poised to revive a policy that would require employers to permit union officials to take part in agency inspections even if the union does not represent employees at the facility being inspected. 

OSHA previously maintained such a policy between 2013 and 2017. 

The policy arose out of a memo issued in response to a labor union’s inquiry. Known as the Fairfax Memo—a reference to the memo’s author—the policy was withdrawn in 2017 as the interpretation underpinning it faced legal challenges.

During the fall of 2022, OSHA issued a notice suggesting a return to the Fairfax Memo, but this time through promulgation of a regulation. 

The notice stated that a rule would be published in May of 2023 and that “[t]his rulemaking will clarify the right of workers … to specify … a union representative to accompany an OSHA inspector during the inspection process/facility walkaround, regardless of whether the representative is an employee of the employer …” Read the article.