July 30, 2020

OSHA Amends Regulation on Agency Access to Employee Medical Records

A final rule published today by OSHA in the Federal Register amends the regulation that addresses agency practices and procedures related to OSHA access to employee medical records. OSHA often reviews these records to carry out its statutory obligations. The new final rule, which goes into effect on July 30, 2020, revises several provisions related to OSHA’s procedures for obtaining and using personally identifiable employee medical information. According to OSHA, the revisions are intended to increase workers’ privacy and improve the agency’s ability to protect personally identifiable medical information.

OSHA’s new final rule transfers the approval of written medical access orders from the assistant secretary for occupational safety and health to the OSHA medical records officer. Under the revised regulation, the medical records officer will be responsible for decisions related to interagency transfer and public disclosure of personally identifiable medical information in OSHA's possession. The Federal Register notice explains that the final rule also establishes new procedures related to personally identifiable employee medical information in electronic form and eliminates requirements for the removal of direct personal identifiers when OSHA personnel review medical information away from a work site.

Further details are available in OSHA’s press release.