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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.
January 14, 1997
Bruce D. Corker
1201 Third Avenue
Seattle, Washington 98101-3099
Dear Mr. Corker:
Thank you for your letter dated November 6, outlining the United Parcel Service's understanding of the requirements of 29 CFR 1904.7, Access to the OSHA Form 200. Please excuse the delay in our response. OSHA does not agree with UPS's interpretation of the access requirements. Access to the OSHA Form 200 by an employee representative does not require the request to be made in conjunction with a request by an employee or former employee of the establishment. If a union represents employees of an establishment, the union has the right to access the OSHA Form 200 of that establishment with or without a request made by an employee. Furthermore, employees, former employees, and/or their representatives have the right to access the entire OSHA 200 Log, including the names of the injured or ill workers.
Our interpretation is based upon the clear intent contained in the language of the preamble to the notice of the adoption of the access provisions, 43 Fed. Reg. 31326, "Since employees and their representatives will have access to the same information which the employer has, both labor and management will be in a more evenly balanced position in terms of information needed to foster joint labor-management efforts in identifying and reducing workplace hazards. One of the basic express purposes of the Occupational Safety and Health Act is to encourage joint labor-management efforts to reduce injuries and disease arising out of employment (section 2(b)(13))." We read this to mean that employee representatives have the same access to the OSHA Form 200 as the employer, employees, and former employees.
Neither do we agree with your interpretation that the access provision to the OSHA Log is in conflict with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires employers to maintain information about employee disabilities in confidential medical files which may be disclosed to a limited circle of management individuals. The EEOC made clear in the ADA's implementing regulations that an employer may continue to comply with the requirements of another federal rule. 29 C.F.R. 1630.15(e). The EEOC and the Department of Labor's Solicitor's Office have exchanged letters indicating that disclosure of OSHA logs is not a violation of the ADA.
I hope you find this information useful. If you have any further questions, please call us at Area Code (202)219-6463.
Division of Recordkeeping Requirements