As a government employee and union member, there is a lot to learn. Our union has received numerous questions from members and activists on various topics – but two questions kept coming up. Lucky for our members, our Health and Safety Specialist Milly Rodriguez is on hand to answer them.
Q: How are federal employees covered by occupational safety and health standards?
A: Federal employees are covered by three health and safety documents:
- Section 19 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 which requires federal agencies to comply with applicable safety and health standards
- Executive Order 12196 – Occupational Safety and Health Programs for Federal Employees, which gives OSHA the right to conduct inspections and directed OSHA to develop basic program elements for agencies to follow.
- 29 CFR 1960 – Elements for Federal Employee Occupational Safety and Health Programs and Related Matters, which sets out employing agency responsibilities and employee rights and responsibilities.
OSHA can cite an agency for violations of the requirements of the three documents.
Q: Can agency management block out information or “sanitize” the OSHA 300 log that they use to track injuries and illnesses when we ask for it?
A: No, under 29 CFR 1904, the recordkeeping regulation, employees, former employees and employee representatives have the right to the information on the OSHA 300 log as required by the standard. The employer must leave the names on the log, except for those which are considered “privacy concern cases” such as a needlestick injury. The employer must provide the worker or their representative a copy of the OSHA 300 log by the end of the next business day. The employer may not charge for the first copy, but can set a reasonable charge for additional copies.
This is part of a series. Stay tuned for more member questions and our experts’ answers!
Have a pressing question about health and safety? Email Milly at RODRIM@afge.org.