WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Associated General Contractors of America, along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a coalition of business groups, filed a lawsuit May 21 in the Western District of Texas, Waco Division against the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The lawsuit challenges the agency’s new “walkaround” rule, which forces contractors to let potentially anyone, regardless of safety training, construction experience or intent to accompany a federal safety inspector on a jobsite.

The suit argues that agency officials upended over 50 years of precedent by dramatically expanding the type of third parties allowed to accompany inspectors during walkarounds. Previously, the agency would only permit employee representatives to accompany the inspectors, which was generally limited to employees themselves, with very limited exceptions. The agency’s new measure, however, forces contractors to allow anyone, regardless of background, or safety training, onto jobsites during an inspector visit.

The association noted that being forced to allow anyone onto jobsites could undermine the safety of that site and put the contractor at odds with the owners of the construction project and their rules regarding who can access the site.

“Our commitment to safety compels us to push back when the government takes steps to undermine worker protections,” said Jeffrey Shoaf, the chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America. “Our dispute with this agency is about keeping it from doing something that will undermine the safety of our industry’s workers,”

The other co-plaintiffs in the lawsuit include the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce, Longview Chamber of Commerce, Associated Builders and Contractors, Alliance for Chemical Distribution, International Franchise Association, National Association of Manufacturers, National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, National Federation of Independent Business, National Retail Federation and Warehouse Logistics Association.

The full complaint can be viewed here.