Occupational Safety and Health for Federal Employees
Thousands of federal employees are injured, become ill, or are killed in work-related incidents each year. During FY 2004, approximately 165,000 occupational injuries and illnesses involved civilian federal employees. In addition to the human dimension of this issue, workers' compensation billings for all federal employees in 2004 totaled more than $2.3 billion.
How Agencies Protect Federal Employees
Federal agencies must take the following steps to protect their workers:
- Provide workplaces free from recognized health and safety hazards.
- Establish procedures for responding to workplace emergencies and reporting unsafe and unhealthful working conditions.
- Acquire, maintain, and require the use of approved personal protective equipment.
- Inspect all workplaces annually with employee representatives present.
- Establish procedures to assure that employees are not subject to restraint, interference, coercion, discrimination, or reprisal for exercising their rights under an agency’s safety and health program.
- Post notices of unsafe or unhealthful working conditions found during inspections.
- Abate hazardous conditions promptly, and notify employees exposed to such conditions.
- Correct conditions immediately that involve imminent danger.
- Keep records of accidents, injuries, illnesses and their causes, and post annual summaries for the required period of time. (See 29 CFR Part 1960.66-74.)
- Conduct occupational health and safety training for top management, supervisors, safety and health personnel, employees, and employee representatives.
- Comply with all OSHA occupational safety and health standards and rules.
- Develop and implement a site-specific safety and health program consistent with OSHA standards.
- Display conspicuously a poster informing employees of the provisions of the OSH Act, Executive Order 12196, and the agency safety and health program under 29 CFR Part 1960.
- Designate an official with sufficient authority to manage the agency occupational safety and health program.
Workers Must Protect Themselves
Federal employees must comply with agency policies, procedures, and directives concerning health and safety; use personal protective equipment and other safety equipment provided by the agency; and observe all agency safety and health rules, procedures, and standards.
Rights of Federal Workers
Federal employees are entitled to do the following:
- Participate in their agency's health and safety program and related activities on official time;
- Access their agency's safety and health information, including data on hazardous substances in the workplace;
- Comment on proposed agency standards that differ from OSHA standards;
- Obtain copies of medical and exposure records; and
- Report and request inspections of unsafe or unhealthful working conditions to federal officials, including the Secretary of Labor.
For more information on occupational safety and health for federal employees, including the full text of OSHA's standards, visit OSHA’s website at www.osha.gov. Information that is specific to occupational safety and health for federal employees is at http://www.osha.gov/ dep/fap/index.html.
To report an emergency, file a complaint or seek OSHA advice, assistance or products, call (800) 321-OSHA or contact your nearest OSHA regional or area office.
This is one in a series of informational fact sheets highlighting OSHA programs, policies or standards. It does not impose any new compliance requirements. For a comprehensive list of compliance requirements of OSHA standards or regulations, refer to Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations. This information will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. The voice phone is (202) 693-1999; teletypewriter (TTY) number: (877) 889-5627.
For more complete information:
Safety and Health
U.S. Department of Labor