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.

December 12, 1991

The Honorable Jerry F. Costello
House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Congressman Costello:

This is in further response to your letter of November 4, on behalf of your constituent, Mr. Michael R. Rogers, who expressed concern about a policy at the Granite City Steel Division of National Steel Corporation that requires employees who become ill or injured on the job, to report to the company medical facility before seeking medical attention from their own medical provider.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards do not prohibit companies from requiring employees to use employer medical facilities before seeking outside medical assistance. The standard at 29 CFR 1910.151(a) requires: "The employer shall ensure the ready availability of medical personnel for advice and consultation on matters of plant health." The standard at 29 CFR 1910.151(b) requires: "In the absence of an infirmary, clinic, or hospital in near proximity to the workplace which is used for the treatment of all injured employees, a person or persons shall be adequately trained to render first aid."

Thus, although OSHA requires employers to make arrangements for medical services, these services could be either inside or outside. The standards simply do not address the issue of whether employees must be given an option on whether the employer may require employee use of in-plant medical facilities.

Thank you for your continued interest in occupational safety and health.


Gerard F. Scannell
Assistant Secretary