OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at https://www.osha.gov.

March 1, 1983

Mr. Bargmann, Program Coordinator
International Longshoremen's and
Warehousemen's Union
1188 Franklin Street
San Francisco, California 94109

Dear Mr. Bargmann:

This is in response to your letter of February 25, 1983, requesting an interpretation of "employee exposure record" in the standard 29 CFR 1910.1020, "Access to Employee Exposure and Medical Records.

29 CFR 1910.1020 does not require employers to create employee exposure and medical records, but rather, requires employers to maintain and provide access to such records that they develop on their own volition or in compliance with other rules, laws, and regulations. With the possible exception of tobacco handling, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has no present standards that typically apply to longshoring or warehousing which require employers to develop and keep records of employee exposure to methyl bromide, phosphine, or ethylene dibromide. Therefore, where grab samples of these substances are taken and not recorded, the employer is not required to keep a written record of the results.

If the employer does record the result of a grab sample taken to determine whether the concentration of a fumigant is within "safe" levels, such a record would be an employee exposure record as defined in 29 CFR 1910.1020(c)(5)(i). The record would have to be maintained and access to it would have to be provided.

The written notification and warranty which, under [29 CFR 1918.94(c)] of the Safety and Health Regulations for Longshoring the employer must obtain from the carrier when handling tobacco, are also employee exposure records. As the provision states, the notification and warranty must be maintained for at least 30 days after the loading of the tobacco has been completed. Employee and designated representative access to these records is provided by 29 CFR 1910.1020(e)(2)(i).

As you may know, California administers its own occupational safety and health program under a provision of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, subject to close monitoring by Federal OSHA. If you should need any further information from the State, or wish to contact them directly for any reason, the address and telephone number are:

[California Division of Occupational and Health
455 Golden Gate Avenue, 10th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone: (415) 703-5100]

Thank you for contacting us. If can be of further assistance, we shall be glad to provide it.


Bruce Hillenbrand, Acting Director
Federal Compliance and State Programs

[Corrected 05/28/2004]