Section 19 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (the Act) contains special provisions to assure
safe and healthful working conditions for Federal employees. Under that section, it is the responsibility of the head of each Federal agency to
establish and maintain an effective and comprehensive occupational safety and health program which is consistent with the standards promulgated under
section 6 of the Act. The Secretary of Labor (the Secretary). under section 19, is to report to the President certain evaluations and recommendations
with respect to the programs of the various agencies, and the duties which section 24 of the Act imposes on the Secretary of Labor necessarily extend
to the collection, compilation and analysis of occupational safety and health statistics from the Federal Government. The role of the General Services
Administration in this area stems from its duties as the Government's principal landlord and from its specific safety and health responsibilities
under 41 CFR Part 101, Subchapter D, Federal Property Management Regulations.
Executive Order 12196, Occupational Safety and Health Programs for Federal Employees, issued February
26, 1980, prescribes additional responsibilities for the heads of agencies, the Secretary, and the General Services Administrator. Among other duties,
the Secretary is required to issue basic program elements in accordance with which the heads of agencies shall operate their safety and health
programs. The purpose of this part is to issue these basic program elements. Although agency heads are required to operate a program in accordance
with the basic program elements, those elements contain numerous provisions which, by their terms, permit agency heads the flexibility necessary to
implement their programs in a manner consistent with their respective missions, sizes, and organizations. Moreover, an agency head, after
consultation with agency employees or their representatives and with appropriate safety and health committees may request the Secretary to consider
approval of alternate program elements; the Secretary, after consultation with the Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health, may
approve such alternate program elements.
Under Executive Order 12196, the Secretary is required to perform various services for the agencies,
including consultation, training, recordkeeping, inspections, and evaluations. Agencies are encouraged to seek such assistance from the Secretary as
well as advice on how to comply with the basic program elements and operate effective occupational safety and health programs. Upon the request of an
Agency, the Office of Federal Agency Safety and Health Programs will review proposed agency plans for the implementation of program
Section 19 of the Act and the Executive Order require specific opportunities for employee participation
in the operation of agency safety and health programs. The manner of fulfilling these requirements is set forth in part in these program elements.
These requirements are separate from but consistent with the Federal Service Labor Management Relations Statute (5 U.S.C. 71) and regulations dealing
with labor-management relations within the Federal Government.
Executive Order 12196 and these basic program elements apply to all agencies of the Executive Branch.
They apply to all Federal employees. They apply to all working conditions of Federal employees except those involving uniquely military equipment,
systems, and operations.
No provision of the Executive Order or this part shall be construed in any manner to relieve any
private employer, including Federal contractors, or their employees of any rights or responsibilities under the provisions of the Act, including
compliance activities conducted by the Department of Labor or other appropriate authority.
Federal employees who work in establishments of private employers are covered by their agencies'
occupational safety and health programs. Although an agency may not have the authority to require abatement of hazardous conditions in a private
sector workplace, the agency head must assure safe and healthful working conditions for his/her employees. This shall be accomplished by
administrative controls, personal protective equipment, or withdrawal of Federal employees from the private sector facility to the extent necessary to
assure that the employees are protected.
[60 FR 34851, July 5, 1995]