• Part Number:
  • Part Number Title:
    Inspections, Citations, and Proposed Penalties
  • Standard Number:
  • Title:
    Trade secrets.
  • GPO Source:

Section 15 of the Act provides: "All information reported to or otherwise obtained by the Secretary or his representative in connection with any inspection or proceeding under this Act which contains or which might reveal a trade secret referred to in section 1905 of title 18 of the United States Code shall be considered confidential for the purpose of that section, except that such information may be disclosed to other officers or employees concerned with carrying out this Act or when relevant in any proceeding under this Act. In any such proceeding the Secretary, the Commission, or the court shall issue such orders as may be appropriate to protect the confidentiality of trade secrets." Section 15 of the Act is considered a statute within the meaning of section 552(b)(3) of title 5 of the United States Code, which exempts from the disclosure requirements matters that are "specifically exempted from disclosure by statute."


Section 1905 of title 18 of the United States Code provides: "Whoever, being an officer or employee of the United States or of any department or agency thereof, publishes, divulges, discloses, or makes known in any manner or to any extent not authorized by law any information coming to him in the course of his employment or official duties or by reason of any examination or investigation made by, or return, report or record made to or filed with, such department or agency or officer or employee thereof, which information concerns or relates to the trade secrets, processes, operations, style of work, or apparatus, or to the identity, confidential statistical data, amount or source of any income, profits, losses, or expenditures of any person, firm, partnership, corporation, or association; or permits any income return or copy thereof or any book containing any abstract or particulars thereof to be seen or examined by any person except as provided by law; shall be fined not more than $1,000, or imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both; and shall be removed from office or employment."


At the commencement of an inspection, the employer may identify areas in the establishment which contain or which might reveal a trade secret. If the Compliance Safety and Health Officer has no clear reason to question such identification, information obtained in such areas, including all negatives and prints of photographs, and environmental samples, shall be labeled "confidential—trade secret" and shall not be disclosed except in accordance with the provisions of section 15 of the Act.

Upon the request of an employer, any authorized representative of employees under §1903.8 in an area containing trade secrets shall be an employee in that area or an employee authorized by the employer to enter that area. Where there is no such representative or employee, the Compliance Safety and Health Officer shall consult with a reasonable number of employees who work in that area concerning matters of safety and health.