Fact Sheet: Using Injury and Inspection Records to Promote Workplace Safety and Health

  • Under the US Occupational Safety and Health Act, workers and unions have the right to obtain copies of the following:Results of air sampling, noise monitoring or any health and safety testing that was done in your workplace. (Access to Employee Exposure and Medical Records - OSHA 29 CFR 1910.20).
  • Injury and Accident Records, which must be listed by the employer on the "OSHA 300 Log". Employers with 11 or more employees must post from February 1 to April 30 a summary of the total number of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred in the prior calendar year. OSHA 300 logs are to be kept for five years. The 300 Log is a very valuable document to the inspector and the union since it can show patterns of illness and injury. It is a violation for the employer to falsify or not keep the Log.
  • Copies of employee exposure and medical records. (Access to Employee Exposure and Medical Records – OSHA 29 CFR 1910.20) Employers must provide this information to union representatives, free of charge, within 15 working days. This includes:
  1.  industrial hygiene reports
  2. biological monitoring
  3. medical histories and questionnaires*
  4. results of medical examinations & lab tests*
  5. medical opinions, diagnoses, & recommendations*
  6. worker medical complaints*
  • Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs), which are produced by the chemical manufacturer and list the health and safety dangers, exposure limits, symptoms of overexposure, and the protective measures needed when handling workplace chemicals. (Hazard Communication Standard 29 CFR 1910.1200)
  • Copies of OSHA, EPA, NIOSH or local fire and building code records, which are relevant to your employer. Use the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to request these records.
  • Generally, a free copy is provided at the request of employees or access to a place where copies may be made is provided. Employees are permitted to establish a designated representative to review records on their behalf, such as a union representative. Written authorization for release of personal information is routinely required. Employers must preserve and maintain both exposure records and medical records for at least 30 years.

* Requires prior written consent from affected employee(s). The standard itself contains a sample consent letter.