Ask the Expert, Injuries and Illness

Ask the Expert: Employee Access to Medical Records After Injury

In our latest installment of Ask the Expert, brought to you by the team of industry experts at EHS Hero®, we look at a recent question from a subscriber asking whether OSHA standard 1910.1020 allows employee access to medical records from all work-related injuries or just exposures resulting in illnesses from chemical or biological hazards. See what the experts had to say.

Q: The OSHA Access to Employee Exposure & Medical Records Standard 1910.1020 provides employees the access to review and copy certain records. Does this standard apply to all employee medical records resulting from work-related injuries or does this standard exclusively apply to occupational exposures resulting in illnesses from chemical or biological hazards? For example, would medical records from acute work-related injuries involving physical hazards, such as a fracture or torn ligament from a slip/trip/fall, be considered applicable under the 1910.1020 standard? Would the employer be required to provide medical records in this type of scenario?

The standard at 29 CFR 1910.1020 exclusively applies to medical records pertaining to employees exposed to toxic substances or harmful physical agents on the job. However, a different standard, the injury and illness recordkeeping rule, provides employees with the right to access records related to work-related injuries and illnesses.

Under the standard at 29 CFR 1904.35, employers must provide employees with access to injury and illness records on request, as follows:

  • Employees, former employees, employees’ personal representatives (such as attorneys), and authorized employee representatives (such as union representatives) have the right to obtain a copy of the OSHA 300 log on request. Employers must provide the log by the end of the next business day after the request.
  • Employees, formal employees, and employees’ personal representatives have the right to obtain a copy of OSHA 301 incident reports pertaining to that employee or former employee only. The copy must be provided by the end of the next business day after the request.
  • Authorized employee representatives have the right to obtain a copy of OSHA 301 incident reports for an establishment where the agent represents employees under a collective bargaining agreement. However, only the case information section must be provided, not the employee information section. Employee information must be redacted before providing OSHA 301 incident reports to an authorized employee representative. Employers have seven calendar days to provide OSHA 301 incident reports to an authorized employee representative.

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