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.

September 22, 2014

William K. Principe
Constangy, Brooks & Smith, LLP
Suite 2400
230 Peachtree Street, NW
Atlanta, Georgia 20201-1557

Dear Mr. Principe:

Thank you for your letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for a clarification of OSHA's training standards. This constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any question not delineated within your original correspondence.

Your questions are paraphrased below and our responses follow.

Background/Scenario: Your client has placed a chip in its employees' ID badges that, when swiped on an electronic reader, identifies the employee. These badges are used for multiple purposes, including entry into and out of the facility, clocking in and out on time clocks, and documenting attendance in training classes. This badge-swiping system identifies the employee by name but does not produce an electronic signature of the employee.

Some OSHA General Industry Standards require that employees be trained on particular subjects, but do not explicitly mandate how that training should be documented. As your client's employees enter a training room, they are required to swipe their ID badges on an electronic reader which registers their attendance and from which a printout can be produced that shows the names of all the employees who attended the class.

Question #1: Will this form of electronic- based tracking system satisfy OSHA's requirement for documentation of training or is a hard copy, signed document with each attending employee's signature required?

Response #1: OSHA standards that require training generally contain a requirement for the employer to maintain records of employee training; these records may be kept in any form deemed appropriate by the employer, so long as the records are readily accessible to the employer, employees and their representatives, and to OSHA.

Question #2: Would having employees log into a computer using their personal log-in identification be an acceptable means of documenting attendance at a computer-based training course?

Response #2: Please see Response #1.

Question #3: Some General Industry Standards, such as 29 C.F.R. 1910.147(c)(7)(iv), require a certification that training has occurred. Does the electronic swiping of an employee identification badge satisfy OSHA requirements for certification of training?

Response #3: Generally, electronic certification of training is acceptable provided the electronic certification meets the requirements of the standard. For example, 29 C.F.R. 1910.147(c)(7)(iv) requires an employer to certify that employee training has been accomplished and that the certification contains each employee's name and dates of training. Electronic swiping of an employee identification badge would be acceptable under the standard if it records each employee's name and the date of training and the employer includes, as part of the badge swiping, a component that certifies the training occurred.

Question #4: The General Industry Standard 29 C.F.R. 1910.147(c)(6)(ii) requires the certification of periodic inspections of lockout/tagout procedures. Does the electronic swiping of an employee identification badge satisfy OSHA requirement for certification of training?

Response #4: As stated above, electronic certification is generally acceptable provided the electronic certification meets the requirements of the standard. 29 C.F.R. 1910.147(c)(6)(ii) requires that the certification shall identify the machine or equipment on which the energy control procedure was utilized, the date of the inspection, the employees included in the inspection, and the person performing the inspection. If the swiping of an employee identification badge can satisfy these requirements, then is it acceptable under the standard.

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. OSHA's requirements are set by statute, standards, and regulations. Our letters of interpretation do not create new or additional requirements but rather explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. From time to time, letters are affected when the Agency updates a standard, a legal decision impacts a standard, or changes in technology affect the interpretation. To assure that you are using the correct information and guidance, please consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact the Office of General Industry and Agricultural Enforcement at (202) 693-1850.

Sincerely,

Thomas Galassi, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs