Posted on February 29, 2024 by Tyler Sandy

Clarifying Representation: The Department of Labor's Newest Regulatory Update


On August 29, 2023, the Department of Labor proposed a change to its Representatives of Employers and Employees regulation. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, this rule serves to clarify who can be authorized to serve as a representative during OSHA workplace inspections; stating that the representative may be an employee or someone from a third-party. It also clarifies that third-party representatives are not limited to industrial hygienists or safety engineers, a common misunderstanding of the existing regulation. If the compliance officer deems the individual has skills, knowledge, or experience that would be helpful, they may be granted permission to represent the employee during the inspection. The main goal of this proposed change is to have a more effective inspection conducted to prevent possible injuries (Godinez, 2023).

Should this pass, this would mean that Cornerstone could be a third-party representative for clients who have a scheduled OSHA inspection. Frequently, however, physical OSHA inspections occur without a heads-up from the OSHA officer. In this case, it would be very difficult for a third-party to be involved. That said, in the case that an inspection is scheduled ahead of time, bringing in outside representation would be much easier to coordinate.

Another limiting factor to Cornerstone’s involvement would be whether the client knows what areas of the workplace will be inspected. If the OSHA officer does not provide a scope of what will be inspected, then consulting oversight might be a moot point. That said, Cornerstone can help clients review inspection results and propose recommendations accordingly, regardless of our ability to be involved in the inspection itself.

Ultimately, this change would be a benefit to all parties involved with physical OSHA inspection. It will help make sure the right people are involved and, therefore, will lead to better outcomes.


Godinez, Victoria. “Department of Labor Announces Proposed Changes to Clarify Regulations on Authorized Employee Representation during Workplace Inspections.” Occupational Safety and Health Administration, August 29, 2023.