- Standard Number:
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.
February 6, 1990
MEMORANDUM FOR: GILBERT J. SAULTER REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR THROUGH: LEO CAREY, DIRECTOR OFFICE OF FIELD OPERATIONS FROM: THOMAS J. SHEPICH, DIRECTOR DIRECTORATE OF COMPLIANCE PROGRAMS SUBJECT: 29 CFR 1910.1020 Application to Workplace Drug Testing Results
This is in response to your request for an interpretation of the "Access to Employee Exposure and Medical Records" standard (29 CFR 1910.1020) as it applies to workplace drug testing results.
In general, this standard applies to exposure and medical records of all employees exposed to toxic substances and harmful physical agents in the course of employment. It does not apply, however, to situations where the only exposure to toxic substances or harmful physical agents in the workplace is no different from typical non-occupational situations. In other words, an employee's medical record, including results of drug testing, is not included in the requirements of 1910.1020 unless all relevant definitions in 1910.1020(c) are met.
Employees who are covered by the standard are entitled to direct access to all the information in their medical records, including drug testing results, unless a physician representing the employer believes that direct access to certain information would be detrimental to the employee's health. These employees can still obtain access to withheld information indirectly by designating a representative who has the employee's specific written consent to obtain access to this information (29 CFR 1910.1020(e) (2)(ii)(D)).
OSHA also has access to complete medical records, including drug test results, when there is a justificable occupational safety and health need. If personally identifiable drug testing records are part of medical records then OSHA's access order procedures are applicable (29 CFR 1913.10). Agency rule 1913.10(b) states that the rules and procedures for medical access orders apply to all requests by OSHA for access to employee medical information "whether or not pursuant to the access provisions of 29 CFR 1910.20(e)."
December 28, 1989
MEMORANDUM FOR: THOMAS J. SHEPICH, Director Directorate of Compliance Programs THROUGH: LEO CAREY, Director Office of Field Programs SUBJECT: Request for Interpretation/Clarification of 29 CFR 1910.1020 as it Applies to Workplace Drug Testing Results
Attached is a request for an interpretation of the "Access to Employee Exposure and Medical Records" under 29 CFR 1910.1020 as it applies to workplace drug testing results.
This request was referred by our Lubbock Area Office and is forwarded for your response since the interpretation could have nationwide implications and significance.
Please forward a copy of your response to Jerry Bailey, Assistant Regional Administrator for Technical Support at 214/767-4734.
Your assistance in this matter is appreciated.
GILBERT J. SAULTER
DATE: December 11, 1989 MEMORANDUM FOR: GILBERT J. SAULTER Regional Administrator ATTENTION: JERRY BAILEY ARA/TS SUBJECT: Workplace Drug Testing Results - Applicability Under 1910.1020
The question has been raised, under 29 CFR 1910.1020 "Access to Employee Exposure and Medical Records", if workplace drug testing results would be available to the following parties:
a) Private sector employees desiring to know their own results from a routine screening or results from an accident investigation report;
b) OSHA compliance personnel reviewing results from a routine screening or results from an accident investigation report.
These questions result from mandatory drug testing programs that are now in effect in many areas of employment.
Thank you in advance for your response to this matter.
EDWARD J. COSGROVE
Lubbock Area Office