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Manufacturers Challenge OSHA’s Unlawful Walkaround Rule

The NAM Legal Center Joins Industry Groups Seeking to Block Rule

Washington, D.C. – Today, the National Association of Manufacturers, joined by other business groups, filed suit in the Western District of Texas to challenge the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s final rule amending the Worker Walkaround Representative Designation Process (Walkaround Rule).

The Walkaround Rule will allow an unlimited number of third parties, such as union representatives, plaintiffs’ attorneys and community organizers, to accompany OSHA inspectors on safety inspections.

“OSHA’s rule does nothing to advance its mission of improving workplace safety,” said NAM Chief Legal Officer Linda Kelly. “This rule is well beyond the scope of OSHA’s authority, and it infringes on manufacturers’ right to exclude others from their property, threatens new liabilities and risks compromising manufacturers’ intellectual property. The NAM Legal Center is filing suit to prevent this harm.”


  • For more than 50 years, OSHA’s walkaround regulation authorized only an employee of an employer to serve as another employee’s representative during an OSHA inspection.
  • In 2013, then-Deputy Assistant Labor Secretary Richard Fairfax issued a letter—commonly referred to as the Fairfax Memo or Sallman Letter—to a member of the Service Workers International Union, which stated that a nonemployee affiliated with a union or community organization could serve as a representative of employees during an OSHA inspection at a worksite without a collective bargaining agreement.
  • In 2017, a trade group challenged the Fairfax Memo as unlawfully issued outside the notice-and-comment process and inconsistent with OSHA’s regulation that authorized only an employee of an employer to serve as another employee’s representative during an OSHA inspection.
  • A federal court in Texas agreed with the trade group, and the Trump administration later rescinded the memo.
  • In August 2023, OSHA released the proposed Walkaround Rule, and the NAM submitted comments urging OSHA to withdraw it.


The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs nearly 13 million men and women, contributes $2.89 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 53% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit

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