AUTHORIZATION TO RELEASE COVERED RECORDS
These rules provide that employees, their designated representatives, and OSHA
will have access to covered employee medical records. Access means the right to
examine and copy the records. If the employee is dead or legally incapacitated,
the employee's legal representative may exercise all the employee's rights
under the rules. A designated representative is any individual or organization
to whom the employee gives written authorization for access to his or her
medical records. A recognized or certified collective bargaining agent is
automatically treated as a designated representative without regard to written
employee authorization for access to certain other records covered under these
rules. This implied authorization does not extend to employee medical records.
- A designated representative must have the employee's specific written
consent to have access to the employee's medical records. This written
authorization must include:
- The name and signature of the employee authorizing the release of
The date of the written authorization.
The name of the individual or organization that is authorized to
release the medical information.
The name of the designated representative (individual or organization)
that is authorized to receive the released information.
A general description of the medical information that is authorized to
A general description of the purpose for the release of the medical
A date or condition upon which the written authorization will expire
(if less than one year).
A written authorization [Figure 31.1] does not operate to authorize the
release of medical information not in existence on the date of written
authorization, unless the release of future information is expressly
authorized, and does not operate for more than one year from the date of
written authorization." A written authorization may be revoked in writing at
While OSHA has the right to have access to employee medical information without
the employee's written permission, the employer must notify its employees when
OSHA seeks access to their medical records:
- Each employer shall, upon request, and without derogation of any rights
under the Constitution or the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, 29
U.S.C. 651 et seq., that the employer chooses to exercise, assure the prompt
access of representatives of the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational
Safety and Health to employee exposure and medical records and to analyses
using exposure or medical records. ... Whenever OSHA seeks access to personally
identifiable employee medical information ... the employer shall prominently
post a copy of the written access order and its accompanying cover letter for
at least fifteen (15) working days.
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