PCUN Worker Walkaround Representative Designation Comment


PCUN Worker Walkaround Representative Designation Comment
April 12, 2024

“PCUN supports Federal OSHA adopting these important rules and believes they are a step forward.” Says Reyna Lopez, President and Executive Director of PCUN.

The Federal Rule fundamentally enhances OSHA’s capability to conduct thorough inspections and uncover workplace hazards, crucially supporting the health and safety of workers, including our farm workers. We fully support implementing this new rule federally, mainly as Oregon already practices a similar walkaround rule under ORS 654.067(4). These proposed federal enhancements will bolster Oregon’s existing standards since state regulations must be at least as effective as federal rules.

Farmworkers often face unique challenges, such as geographic isolation, uncertain immigration status, and dependence on seasonal work, which can make them hesitant to participate in inspections or raise concerns due to fear of employer retaliation. Allowing workers to designate a union representative to accompany the Compliance Safety and Health Officer (CSHO) during inspections, regardless of whether a collective bargaining agreement exists, ensures a trusted advocate is present. This change is vital for empowering farmworkers to communicate openly during inspections without fear.

Notably, the proposed rule clarifies that employers do not pay third-party representatives; thus, their participation incurs no cost to the employer. It simply solidifies workers’ rights under Section 8 of the OSH Act concerning inspection procedures without imposing additional financial burdens on employers.

We advocate for adopting the proposed rule that allows employees to designate a third-party representative during walkaround inspections without needing to demonstrate ‘good cause.’ This requirement should be removed to make the rule more precise and effective. Employees should have the autonomy to choose their representatives, as they are best positioned to know who can most effectively advocate for their interests during inspections.



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