- 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 http://www.osha.gov.
August 7, 1992
Donald L. Johnson, M.D., P.A.v
1211 Highland Drive
Washington, NC 27889
Dear Dr. Johnson:
This is in response to your letter of April 30, requesting clarification concerning the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulation, 29 CFR 1910.1030, "Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens." Specifically you were concerned about the recording of employees' social security numbers on their medical records. We apologize for the delay in this response.
The Bloodborne Pathogens Standard addresses recordkeeping and medical record access in section (h) of the regulation. Section (h)(1)(i) requires that the employer establish and maintain an accurate record for each employee with occupational exposure, in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.1020, "Access to Employee Exposure and Medical Records." Further, section (h)(2)(ii)(A) states that this record shall include the name and social security number of the employee. These are mandatory requirements.
In your letter, you referred to a Supreme Court decision addressing the right of an individual to prevent disclosure of social security numbers. After thorough research, we were unable to find such a 1959 United States Supreme Court case involving a requirement imposed on applicants for airline pilot licenses to disclose their social security numbers. In any event, we have received a legal opinion that OSHA can enforce the disclosure provisions of the standard because no action is taken by OSHA against the individuals whose social security numbers are on the records.
As you may know, the North Carolina Department of Labor and Industry operates its own occupational safety and health program under a plan approved and monitored by the U.S. Department of Labor, pursuant to section 18 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. State plan requirements may be more stringent than federal OSHA regulations. Should you wish to contact them, they may be reached at the following address:
Commissioner North Carolina
Department of Labor
4 West Edenton Street
Raleigh, North Carolina 27603
Telephone: (919) 733-7166
We hope this information is responsive to your concerns. Thank you for your interest in worker safety and health.
Patricia Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs