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Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1910.1025; 1910.1025(d)(5); 1910.1025(n)(1)(i); 1910.1025(n)(1)(ii)(D); 1910.1026

March 27, 2008

Mr. Stephen C. Mayo
Manager, Industrial Hygiene
Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation
6900 Main Street
PO Box 6729
Stratford, CT 06615-9129

Dear Mr. Mayo:

This is in response to your November 20, 2007, correspondence to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) Directorate of Enforcement Programs. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of only the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any questions not delineated within your original correspondence. Your letter requested clarification regarding OSHA's Lead standard, 29 CFR 1910.1025. You specifically asked about an employer's obligation to include employees' social security numbers (SSNs) on certain employee exposure records. Your question has been paraphrased below followed by OSHA's response.

Question: Would an employer be in compliance with the recordkeeping requirements of the lead standard, 29 CFR 1910.1025(d)(5) if methods of personal identification, other than an employee's social security number, were used on employee exposure records?

Answer: OSHA's Lead standard, 29 CFR 1910.1025(n)(1)(i), requires the employer to "establish and maintain an accurate record of all monitoring required in paragraph (d)" of the standard. As you are aware, 29 CFR 1910.1025(d)(5) specifies that the employer include ". . .the name and social security number of each employee monitored" on the results reflecting a negative initial determination. {In fact, all employee exposure monitoring records for lead must include "name, social security number, and job classification of the employee monitored and of all other employee whose exposure the measurement is intended to represent. . ." [29 CFR 1910.1025(n)(1)(ii)(D)].} The standard further requires that whenever a record is requested by an employee, a designated employee representative or representatives of OSHA or NIOSH, the employer must assure access to the records containing the required information, including the employee's social security number, within a reasonable time, place, and manner.

However, if a company chooses to keep an internal set of records, which use other employee identification numbers in lieu of employee SSNs, it may do so. The use of a second set of records is predicated on the ability for those unique identification numbers to be easily cross referenced to the employee's SSN. Such a system would ensure that the employees' privacy is maintained, while also satisfying the intent of the Lead Standard.

OSHA's Lead Standard was promulgated in 1978. At that time, personal privacy concerns were limited and an individual's SSN was a form of personal identification that was widely used by many entities, including banks and employers. Personal identity theft was not, at that time, a concern for most individuals. OSHA does not intend that its rules compromise privacy concerns. The issue of employee privacy as it relates to inclusion of an employee's SSN on an exposure monitoring record is addressed in a previous letter of interpretation dated April 16, 1999 to Mr. Shawn Christon. This letter reiterates OSHA's position as stated above, and a copy of the entire letter is enclosed for your further information.

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. 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. For further information on this subject, you may go to OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov.


Richard E. Fairfax, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs

Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents

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