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Title 29 – Labor–Volume 9

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Title 29 – Labor–Volume 9



SUBTITLE B – Regulations Relating to Labor (Continued)

Part


chapter xvii – Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Department of Labor (Continued)

1928


chapter xx – Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission

2200


chapter xxv – Employee Benefits Security Administration, Department of Labor

2509


chapter xxvii – Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission

2700


chapter xl – Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation

4000


Subtitle B – Regulations Relating to Labor (Continued)

CHAPTER XVII – OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR (CONTINUED)

PART 1927 [RESERVED]

PART 1928 – OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH STANDARDS FOR AGRICULTURE


Authority:Sections 4, 6, and 8 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 653, 655, 657); Secretary of Labor’s Order No. 12-71 (36 FR 8754), 8-76 (41 FR 25059), 9-83 (48 FR 35736), 1-90 (55 FR 9033), 6-96 (62 FR 111), 3-2000 (65 FR 50017), 5-2002 (67 FR 65008), 4-2010 (75 FR 55355), or 8-2020 (85 FR 58393), as applicable; and 29 CFR 1911.

Section 1928.21 also issued under 49 U.S.C. 1801-1819 and 5 U.S.C. 553.



Source:40 FR 18257, Apr. 25, 1975, unless otherwise noted.

Subpart A – General

§ 1928.1 Purpose and scope.

This part contains occupational safety and health standards applicable to agricultural operations.


Subpart B – Applicability of Standards

§ 1928.21 Applicable standards in 29 CFR part 1910.

(a) The following standards in part 1910 of this chapter shall apply to agricultural operations:


(1) Temporary labor camps – § 1910.142;


(2) Storage and handling of anhydrous ammonia – § 1910.111 (a) and (b);


(3) Logging operations – § 1910.266;


(4) Slow-moving vehicles – § 1910.145;


(5) Hazard communication – § 1910.1200;


(6) Cadmium – § 1910.1027.


(7) Retention of DOT markings, placards and labels – § 1910.1201.


(8) COVID-19 – § 1910.501, but only with respect to –


(i) Agricultural establishments where eleven (11) or more employees are engaged on any given day in hand-labor operations in the field; and


(ii) Agricultural establishments that maintain a temporary labor camp, regardless of how many employees are engaged on any given day in hand-labor operations in the field.


(b) Except to the extent specified in paragraph (a) of this section, the standards contained in subparts B through T and subpart Z of part 1910 of this title do not apply to agricultural operations.


(Section 1928.21 contains a collection of information which has been approved by the Office of Management and Budget under OMB control number 1218-0072)

[40 FR 18257, Apr. 25, 1975, as amended at 42 FR 38569, July 29, 1977; 52 FR 31886, Aug. 24, 1987; 59 FR 36700, July 19, 1994; 59 FR 51748, Oct. 12, 1994; 61 FR 5510, Feb. 13, 1996; 61 FR 9255, Mar. 7, 1996; 86 FR 61555, Nov. 5, 2021]


Subpart C – Roll-Over Protective Structures

§ 1928.51 Roll-over protective structures (ROPS) for tractors used in agricultural operations.

(a) Definitions. As used in this subpart –


Agricultural tractor means a two-or four-wheel drive type vehicle, or track vehicle, of more than 20 engine horsepower, designed to furnish the power to pull, carry, propel, or drive implements that are designed for agriculture. All self-propelled implements are excluded.


Low profile tractor means a wheeled tractor possessing the following characteristics:


(1) The front wheel spacing is equal to the rear wheel spacing, as measured from the centerline of each right wheel to the centerline of the corresponding left wheel.


(2) The clearance from the bottom of the tractor chassis to the ground does not exceed 18 inches.


(3) The highest point of the hood does not exceed 60 inches, and


(4) The tractor is designed so that the operator straddles the transmission when seated.


Tractor weight includes the protective frame or enclosure, all fuels, and other components required for normal use of the tractor. Ballast shall be added as necessary to achieve a minimum total weight of 110 lb. (50.0 kg.) per maximum power take-off horsepower at the rated engine speed or the maximum gross vehicle weight specified by the manufacturer, whichever is the greatest. Front end weight shall be at least 25 percent of the tractor test weight. In case power take-off horsepower is not available, 95 percent of net engine flywheel horsepower shall be used.


(b) General requirements. Agricultural tractors manufactured after October 25, 1976, shall meet the following requirements:


(1) Roll-over protective structures (ROPS). ROPS shall be provided by the employer for each tractor operated by an employee. Except as provided in paragraph (b)(5) of this section, a ROPS used on wheel-type tractors shall meet the test and performance requirements of 29 CFR 1928.52, 1928.53, or 1926.1002 as appropriate. A ROPS used on track-type tractors shall meet the test and performance requirements of 29 CFR 1926.1001.


(2) Seatbelts. (i) Where ROPS are required by this section, the employer shall:


(A) Provide each tractor with a seatbelt which meets the requirements of this paragraph;


(B) Ensure that each employee uses such seatbelt while the tractor is moving; and


(C) Ensure that each employee tightens the seatbelt sufficiently to confine the employee to the protected area provided by the ROPS.


(ii) Each seatbelt shall meet the requirements set forth in Society of Automotive Engineers Standard SAE J4C, 1965 Motor Vehicle Seat Belt Assemblies,
2
except as noted hereafter:




2 Copies may be obtained from the Society of Automotive Engineers, 400 Commonwealth Drive, Warrendale, PA 15096.


(A) Where a suspended seat is used, the seatbelt shall be fastened to the movable portion of the seat to accommodate a ride motion of the operator.


(B) The seatbelt anchorage shall be capable of withstanding a static tensile load of 1,000 pounds (453.6 kg) at 45 degrees to the horizontal equally divided between the anchorages. The seat mounting shall be capable of withstanding this load plus a load equal to four times the weight of all applicable seat components applied at 45 degrees to the horizontal in a forward and upward direction. In addition, the seat mounting shall be capable of withstanding a 500 pound (226.8 kg) belt load plus two times the weight of all applicable seat components both applied at 45 degrees to the horizontal in and upward and rearward direction. Floor and seat deformation is acceptable provided there is not structural failure or release of the seat adjusted mechanism or other locking device.


(C) The seatbelt webbing material shall have a resistance to acids, alkalies, mildew, aging, moisture, and sunlight equal to or better than that of untreated polyester fiber.


(3) Protection from spillage. Batteries, fuel tanks, oil reservoirs, and coolant systems shall be constructed and located or sealed to assure that spillage will not occur which may come in contact with the operator in the event of an upset.


(4) Protection from sharp surfaces. All sharp edges and corners at the operator’s station shall be designed to minimize operator injury in the event of an upset.


(5) Exempted uses. Paragraphs (b)(1) and (b)(2) of this section do not apply to the following uses:


(i) Low profile tractors while they are used in orchards, vineyards or hop yards where the vertical clearance requirements would substantially interfere with normal operations, and while their use is incidental to the work performed therein.


(ii) Low profile tractors while used inside a farm building or greenhouse in which the vertical clearance is insufficient to allow a ROPS equipped tractor to operate, and while their use is incidental to the work performed therein.


(iii) Tractors while used with mounted equipment which is incompatible with ROPS (e.g. cornpickers, cotton strippers, vegetable pickers and fruit harvesters).


(6) Remounting. Where ROPS are removed for any reason, they shall be remounted so as to meet the requirements of this paragraph.


(c) Labeling. Each ROPS shall have a label, permanently affixed to the structure, which states:


(1) Manufacturer’s or fabricator’s name and address;


(2) ROPS model number, if any;


(3) Tractor makes, models, or series numbers that the structure is designed to fit; and


(4) That the ROPS model was tested in accordance with the requirements of this subpart.


(d) Operating instructions. Every employee who operates an agricultural tractor shall be informed of the operating practices contained in appendix A of this part and of any other practices dictated by the work environment. Such information shall be provided at the time of initial assignment and at least annually thereafter.


[40 FR 18257, Apr. 25, 1975, as amended at 61 FR 9255, Mar. 7, 1996; 69 FR 18803, Apr. 9, 2004; 70 FR 77003, Dec. 29, 2005]


§ 1928.52 Protective frames for wheel-type agricultural tractors – test procedures and performance requirements.

(a) Purpose. The purpose of this section is to establish the test and performance requirements for a protective frame designed for wheel-type agricultural tractors to minimize the frequency and severity of operator injury resulting from accidental upsets. General requirements for the protection of operators are specified in 29 CFR 1928.51.


(b) Types of tests. All protective frames for wheel-type agricultural tractors shall be of a model that has been tested as follows:


(1) Laboratory test. A laboratory energy-absorption test, either static or dynamic, under repeatable and controlled loading, to permit analysis of the protective frame for compliance with the performance requirements of this standard.


(2) Field-upset test. A field-upset test under controlled conditions, both to the side and rear, to verify the effectiveness of the protective system under actual dynamic conditions. Such testing may be omitted when:


(i) The analysis of the protective-frame static-energy absorption test results indicates that both FERis and FERir (as defined in paragraph (d)(2)(ii) of this section) exceed 1.15; or


(ii) The analysis of the protective-frame dynamic-energy absorption test results indicates that the frame can withstand an impact of 15 percent greater than the impact it is required to withstand for the tractor weight as shown in Figure C-7.


(c) Descriptions – (1) Protective frame. A protective frame is a structure comprised of uprights mounted to the tractor, extending above the operator’s seat. A typical two-post frame is shown in Figure C-1.


(2) Overhead weather shield. When an overhead weather shield is available for attachment to the protective frame, it may be in place during tests provided it does not contribute to the strength of the protective frame.


(3) Overhead falling object protection. When an overhead falling-object protection device is available for attachment to the protective frame, it may be in place during tests provided it does not contribute to the strength of the protective frame.


(d) Test procedures – (1) General. (i) The tractor weight used shall be that of the heaviest tractor model on which the protective frame is to be used.


(ii) Each test required under this section shall be performed on a new protective frame. Mounting connections of the same design shall be used during each such test.


(iii) Instantaneous deflection shall be measured and recorded for each segment of the test; see paragraph (e)(1)(i) of this section for permissible deflections.


(iv) The seat-reference point (“SRP”) in Figure C-3 is that point where the vertical line that is tangent to the most forward point at the longitudinal seat centerline of the seat back, and the horizontal line that is tangent to the highest point of the seat cushion, intersect in the longitudinal seat section. The seat-reference point shall be determined with the seat unloaded and adjusted to the highest and most rearward position provided for seated operation of the tractor.


(v) When the centerline of the seat is off the longitudinal center, the frame loading shall be on the side with the least space between the centerline of seat and the protective frame.


(vi) Low-temperature characteristics of the protective frame or its material shall be demonstrated as specified in paragraph (e)(1)(ii) of this section.


(vii) Rear input energy tests (static, dynamic, or field-upset) need not be performed on frames mounted to tractors having four driven wheels and more than one-half their unballasted weight on the front wheels.


(viii) Accuracy table:


Measurements
Accuracy
Deflection of the frame, in. (mm)±5 percent of the deflection measured.
Vertical weight, lb (kg)±5 percent of the weight measured.
Force applied to the frame, pounds force (newtons)±5 percent of the force measured.
Dimensions of the critical zone, in. (mm)±0.5 in. (12.5 mm).

(2) Static test procedure. (i) The following test conditions shall be met:


(A) The laboratory mounting base shall be the tractor chassis for which the protective frame is designed, or its equivalent;


(B) The protective frame shall be instrumented with the necessary equipment to obtain the required load-deflection data at the locations and directions specified in Figures C-2 and C-3; and


(C) When the protective frame is of a one- or two-upright design, mounting connections shall be instrumented with the necessary equipment to record the required force to be used in paragraph (d)(2)(iii)(E) and (J) of this section. Instrumentation shall be placed on mounting connections before installation load is applied.


(ii) The following definitions shall apply:



W = Tractor weight (see 29 CFR 1928.51(a)) in lb (W′ in kg);

Eis = Energy input to be absorbed during side loading in ft-lb (E′is in J [joules]);

Eis = 723 + 0.4 W (E′is = 100 + 0.12 W′);

Eir = Energy input to be absorbed during rear loading in ft-lb (E′ir in J);

Eir = 0.47 W (E′ir = 0.14 W′);

L = Static load, lbf [pounds force], (N) [newtons];

D = Deflection under L, in. (mm);

L-D = Static load-deflection diagram;

Lmax = Maximum observed static load;

Load Limit = Point on a continuous L-D curve where the observed static load is 0.8 Lmax on the down slope of the curve (see Figure C-5);

Eu = Strain energy absorbed by the frame in ft-lb (J); area under the L-D curve;

FER = Factor of energy ratio;

FERis = EuEis;

FERir = EuEir;

Pb = Maximum observed force in mounting connection under a static load, L lbf (N);

Pu = Ultimate force capacity of a mounting connection, lbf (N);

FSB = Design margin for a mounting connection; and

FSB = Pu/Pb

(iii) The test procedures shall be as follows:


(A) Apply the rear load according to Figure C-3, and record L and D simultaneously. Rear-load application shall be distributed uniformly on the frame over an area perpendicular to the direction of load application, no greater than 160 sq. in. (1,032 sq. cm) in size, with the largest dimension no greater than 27 in. (686 mm). The load shall be applied to the upper extremity of the frame at the point that is midway between the center of the frame and the inside of the frame upright. When no structural cross member exists at the rear of the frame, a substitute test beam that does not add strength to the frame may be used to complete this test procedure. The test shall be stopped when:


(1) The strain energy absorbed by the frame is equal to or greater than the required input energy Eir; or


(2) Deflection of the frame exceeds the allowable deflection (see paragraph (e)(1)(i) of this section); or


(3) Frame load limit occurs before the allowable deflection is reached in rear load (see Figure C-5).


(B) Using data obtained under paragraph (d)(2)(iii)(A) of this section, construct the L-D diagram shown in Figure C-5;


(C) Calculate Eir;


(D) Calculate FERir;


(E) Calculate FSB as required by paragraph (d)(2)(i)(C) of this section;


(F) Apply the side-load tests on the same frame, and record L and D simultaneously. Side-load application shall be at the upper extremity of the frame at a 90° angle to the centerline of the vehicle. The side load shall be applied to the longitudinal side farthest from the point of rear-load application. Apply side load L as shown in Figure C-2. The test shall be stopped when:


(1) The strain energy absorbed by the frame is equal to or greater than the required input energy Eis; or


(2) Deflection of the frame exceeds the allowable deflection (see paragraph (e)(1)(i) of this section); or


(3) Frame load limit occurs before the allowable deflection is reached in side load (see Figure C-5).


(G) Using data obtained in paragraph (d)(2)(iii)(F) of this section, construct the L-D diagram as shown in Figure C-5;


(H) Calculate Eis;


(I) Calculate FERis; and


(J) Calculate FSB as required by paragraph (d)(2)(i)(C) of this section.


(3) Dynamic test procedure. (i) The following test conditions shall be met:


(A) The protective frame and tractor shall be tested at the weight defined by 29 CFR 1928.51(a);


(B) The dynamic loading shall be accomplished by using a 4,410-lb (2,000-kg) weight acting as a pendulum. The impact face of the weight shall be 27 ±1 in. by 27 ±1 in. (686 ±25 mm by 686 ±25 mm), and shall be constructed so that its center of gravity is within 1.0 in. (25.4 mm) of its geometric center. The weight shall be suspended from a pivot point 18 to 22 ft (5.5 to 6.7 m) above the point of impact on the frame, and shall be conveniently and safely adjustable for height (see Figure C-6);


(C) For each phase of testing, the tractor shall be restrained from moving when the dynamic load is applied. The restraining members shall have strength no less than, and elasticity no greater than, that of 0.50-in. (12.7-mm) steel cable. Points of attachment for the restraining members shall be located an appropriate distance behind the rear axle and in front of the front axle to provide a 15° to 30° angle between a restraining cable and the horizontal. For impact from the rear, the restraining cables shall be located in the plane in which the center of gravity of the pendulum will swing, or alternatively, two sets of symmetrically located cables may be used at lateral locations on the tractor. For impact from the side, restraining cables shall be used as shown in Figures C-8 and C-9;


(D) The front and rear wheel-tread settings, when adjustable, shall be at the position nearest to halfway between the minimum and maximum settings obtainable on the vehicle. When only two settings are obtainable, the minimum setting shall be used. The tires shall have no liquid ballast, and shall be inflated to the maximum operating pressure recommended by the manufacturer. With the specified tire inflation, the restraining cable shall be tightened to provide tire deflection of 6 to 8 percent of the nominal tire-section width. After the vehicle is restrained properly, a wooden beam no less than 6-in. × 6-in. (150-mm × 150-mm) in cross section shall be driven tightly against the appropriate wheels and clamped. For the test to the side, an additional wooden beam shall be placed as a prop against the wheel nearest to the operator’s station, and shall be secured to the base so that it is held tightly against the wheel rim during impact. The length of this beam shall be chosen so that it is at an angle of 25° to 40° to the horizontal when it is positioned against the wheel rim. It shall have a length 20 to 25 times its depth, and a width two to three times its depth (see Figures C-8 and C-9);


(E) Means shall be provided for indicating the maximum instantaneous deflection along the line of impact. A simple friction device is illustrated in Figure C-4;


(F) No repairs or adjustments shall be made during the test; and


(G) When any cables, props, or blocking shift or break during the test, the test shall be repeated.


(ii) H = Vertical height of the center of gravity of a 4,410-lb (2,000-kg) weight in in. (H′ in mm). The weight shall be pulled back so that the height of its center of gravity above the point of impact is: H = 4.92 + 0.00190 W (H′ = 125 ±0.170 W′) (see Figure C-7).


(iii) The test procedures shall be as follows:


(A) The frame shall be evaluated by imposing dynamic loading from the rear, followed by a load to the side on the same frame. The pendulum swinging from the height determined by paragraph (d)(3)(ii) of this section shall be used to impose the dynamic load. The position of the pendulum shall be so selected that the initial point of impact on the frame is in line with the arc of travel of the center of gravity of the pendulum. When a quick-release mechanism is used, it shall not influence the attitude of the block;


(B) Impact at rear. The tractor shall be restrained properly according to paragraphs (d)(3)(i)(C) and (d)(3)(i)(D) of this section. The tractor shall be positioned with respect to the pivot point of the pendulum so that the pendulum is 20° from the vertical prior to impact as shown in Figure C-8. The impact shall be applied to the upper extremity of the frame at the point that is midway between the centerline of the frame and the inside of the frame upright. When no structural cross member exists at the rear of the frame, a substitute test beam that does not add to the strength of the frame may be used to complete the test procedure; and


(C) Impact at side. The blocking and restraining shall conform to paragraphs (d)(3)(i)(C) and (d)(3)(i)(D) of this section. The center point of impact shall be at the upper extremity of the frame at a point most likely to hit the ground first, and at a 90° to the centerline of the vehicle (see Figure C-9). The side impact shall be applied to the longitudinal side farthest from the point of rear impact.


(4) Field-upset test procedure. (i) The following test conditions shall be met:


(A) The tractor shall be tested at the weight defined in 29 CFR 1928.51(a);


(B) The following provisions address soil bank test conditions.


(1) The test shall be conducted on a dry, firm soil bank. The soil in the impact area shall have an average cone index in the 0-in. to 6-in. (0-mm to 152-mm) layer of not less than 150. Cone index shall be determined according to American Society of Agricultural Engineers (“ASAE”) recommendation ASAE R313.1-1971 (“Soil cone penetrometer”), as reconfirmed in 1975, which is incorporated by reference. The incorporation by reference was approved by the Director of the Federal Register in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. The path of vehicle travel shall be 12° ±2° to the top edge of the bank.


(2) ASAE recommendation R313.1-1971, as reconfirmed in 1975, appears in the 1977 Agricultural Engineers Yearbook, or it may be examined at: Any OSHA Regional Office; the OSHA Docket Office, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Room N-2625, Washington, DC 20210 (telephone: (202) 693-2350 (TTY number: (877) 889-5627)); or the National Archives and Records Administration (“NARA”). (For information on the availability of this material at NARA, telephone (202) 741-6030 or access the NARA Web site at http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal_regulations/ibr_locations.html.) Copies may be purchased from the American Society of Agricultural Engineers, 2950 Niles Road, St. Joseph, MI 49085.


(C) An 18-in. (457-mm) high ramp (see Figure C-10) shall be used to assist in upsetting the vehicle to the side; and


(D) The front and rear wheel-tread settings, when adjustable, shall be at the position nearest to halfway between the minimum and maximum settings obtainable on the vehicle. When only two settings are obtainable, the minimum setting shall be used.


(ii) Field upsets shall be induced to the rear and side as follows:


(A) Rear upset shall be induced by engine power, with the tractor operating in gear to obtain 3 to 5 mph (4.8 to 8.0 kph) at maximum governed engine rpm by driving forward directly up a minimum slope of 60° ±5° as shown in Figure C-11, or by an alternative equivalent means. The engine clutch may be used to aid in inducing the upset; and


(B) To induce side upset, the tractor shall be driven under its own power along the specified path of travel at a minimum speed of 10 mph (16 kph), or at maximum vehicle speed when under 10 mph (16 kph), and over the ramp as described in paragraph (d)(4)(i)(C) of this section.


(e) Performance requirements – (1) General requirements. (i) The frame, overhead weather shield, fenders, or other parts in the operator area may be deformed in these tests, but shall not shatter or leave sharp edges exposed to the operator, or encroach on the dimensions shown in Figures C-2 and C-3, and specified as follows:



d = 2 in. (51 mm) inside of the frame upright to the vertical centerline of the seat;

e = 30 in. (762 mm) at the longitudinal centerline;

f = Not greater than 4 in. (102 mm) to the rear edge of the crossbar, measured forward of the seat-reference point (“SRP”);

g = 24 in. (610 mm) minimum; and

m = Not greater than 12 in. (305 mm), measured from the seat-reference point to the forward edge of the crossbar.

(ii) The protective structure and connecting fasteners must pass the static or dynamic tests described in paragraphs (d)(2), (d)(3), or (d)(4) of this section at a metal temperature of 0 °F (−18 °C) or below, or exhibit Charpy V-notch impact strengths as follows:



10-mm × 10-mm (0.394-in. × 0.394-in.) specimen: 8.0 ft-lb (10.8 J) at −20 °F (−30 °C);

10-mm × 7.5-mm (0.394-in. × 0.296-in.) specimen: 7.0 ft-lb (9.5 J) at −20 °F (−30 °C);

10-mm × 5-mm (0.394-in. × 0.197-in.) specimen: 5.5 ft-lb (7.5 J) at −20 °F (−30 °C); or

10-mm × 2.5-mm (0.394-in. × 0.098-in.) specimen: 4.0 ft-lb (5.5 J) at −20 °F (−30 °C).

Specimens shall be longitudinal and taken from flat stock, tubular, or structural sections before forming or welding for use in the frame. Specimens from tubular or structural sections shall be taken from the middle of the side of greatest dimension, not to include welds.

(2) Static test-performance requirements. In addition to meeting the requirements of paragraph (e)(1) of this section for both side and rear loads, FERis and FERir, shall be greater than 1.0, and when the ROPS contains one or two upright frames only, FSB shall be greater than 1.3.


(3) Dynamic test-performance requirements. The structural requirements shall be met when the dimensions in paragraph (e)(1) of this section are used in both side and rear loads.


(4) Field-upset test performance requirements. The requirements of paragraph (e)(1) of this section shall be met for both side and rear upsets.


[70 FR 77004, Dec. 29, 2005]


§ 1928.53 Protective enclosures for wheel-type agricultural tractors – test procedures and performance requirements.

(a) Purpose. The purpose of this section is to establish the test and performance requirements for a protective enclosure designed for wheel-type agricultural tractors to minimize the frequency and severity of operator injury resulting from accidental upset. General requirements for the protection of operators are specified in 29 CFR 1928.51.


(b) Types of tests. All protective enclosures for wheel-type agricultural tractors shall be of a model that has been tested as follows:


(1) Laboratory test. A laboratory energy-absorption test, either static or dynamic, under repeatable and controlled loading, to permit analysis of the protective enclosure for compliance with the performance requirements of this standard; and


(2) Field-upset test. A field-upset test under controlled conditions, both to the side and rear, to verify the effectiveness of the protective system under actual dynamic conditions. This test may be omitted when:


(i) The analysis of the protective-frame static-energy absorption test results indicates that both FERis and FERir (as defined in paragraph (d)(2)(ii) of this section) exceed 1.15; or


(ii) The analysis of the protective-frame dynamic-energy absorption test results indicates that the frame can withstand an impact 15 percent greater than the impact it is required to withstand for the tractor weight as shown in Figure C-7.


(c) Description. A protective enclosure is a structure comprising a frame and/or enclosure mounted to the tractor. A typical enclosure is shown in Figure C-12.


(d) Test procedures – (1) General. (i) The tractor weight used shall be that of the heaviest tractor model on which the protective enclosure is to be used.


(ii) Each test required under this section shall be performed on a protective enclosure with new structural members. Mounting connections of the same design shall be used during each test.


(iii) Instantaneous deflection shall be measured and recorded for each segment of the test; see paragraph (e)(1)(i) of this section for permissible deflections.


(iv) The seat-reference point (“SRP”) in Figure C-14 is that point where the vertical line that is tangent to the most forward point at the longitudinal seat centerline of the seat back, and the horizontal line that is tangent to the highest point of the seat cushion, intersect in the longitudinal seat section. The seat-reference point shall be determined with the seat unloaded and adjusted to the highest and most rearward position provided for seated operations of the tractor.


(v) When the centerline of the seat is off the longitudinal center, the protective-enclosure loading shall be on the side with least space between the centerline of the seat and the protective enclosure.


(vi) Low-temperature characteristics of the protective enclosure or its material shall be demonstrated as specified in paragraph (e)(1)(ii) of this section.


(vii) Rear input energy tests (static, dynamic, or field-upset) need not be performed on enclosures mounted to tractors having four driven wheels and more than one-half their unballasted weight on the front wheels.


(viii) Accuracy table:


Measurements
Accuracy
Deflection of the enclosure, in. (mm)±5 percent of the deflection measured.
Vertical weight, pounds (kg)±5 percent of the weight measured.
Force applied to the enclosure, pounds force (newtons)±5 percent of the force measured.
Dimensions of the critical zone, in. (mm)±0.5 in. (12.5 mm).

(ix) When movable or normally removable portions of the enclosure add to structural strength, they shall be placed in configurations that contribute least to structural strength during the test.


(2) Static test procedure. (i) The following test conditions shall be met:


(A) The laboratory mounting base shall be the tractor chassis for which the protective enclosure is designed, or its equivalent; and


(B) The protective enclosure shall be instrumented with the necessary equipment to obtain the required load-deflection data at the locations and directions specified in Figures C-13 and C-14.


(ii) The following definitions shall apply:



W = Tractor weight (see 29 CFR 1928.51(a)) in lb (W″ in kg);

Eis = Energy input to be absorbed during side loading in ft-lb (Eis in J [joules]);

Eis = 723 + 0.4 W (Eis = 100 + 0.12 W″);

Eir = Energy input to be absorbed during rear loading in ft-lb (Eir in J);

Eir = 0.47 W (Eir = 0.14 W″);

L = Static load, lbf [pounds force], (N) [newtons];

D = Deflection under L, in. (mm);

L-D = Static load-deflection diagram;

Lmax = Maximum observed static load;

Load Limit = Point on a continuous L-D curve where the observed static load is 0.8 Lmax on the down slope of the curve (see Figure C-5);

Eu = Strain energy absorbed by the protective enclosure in ft-lbs (J); area under the L-D curve;

FER = Factor of energy ratio;

FERis = Eu/Eis; and

FERir = Eu/Eir.

(iii) The test procedures shall be as follows:


(A) When the protective-frame structures are not an integral part of the enclosure, the direction and point of load application for both side and rear shall be the same as specified in 29 CFR 1928.52(d)(2);


(B) When the protective-frame structures are an integral part of the enclosure, apply the rear load according to Figure C-14, and record L and D simultaneously. Rear-load application shall be distributed uniformly on the frame structure over an area perpendicular to the load application, no greater than 160 sq. in. (1,032 sq. cm) in size, with the largest dimension no greater than 27 in. (686 mm). The load shall be applied to the upper extremity of the structure at the point that is midway between the centerline of the protective enclosure and the inside of the protective structure. When no structural cross member exists at the rear of the enclosure, a substitute test beam that does not add strength to the structure may be used to complete this test procedure. The test shall be stopped when:


(1) The strain energy absorbed by the structure is equal to or greater than the required input energy Eir; or


(2) Deflection of the structure exceeds the allowable deflection (see paragraph (e)(1)(i) of this section); or


(3) The structure load limit occurs before the allowable deflection is reached in rear load (see Figure C-5);


(C) Using data obtained in paragraph (d)(2)(iii)(B) of this section, construct the L-D diagram for rear loads as shown in Figure C-5;


(D) Calculate Eir;


(E) Calculate FERir;


(F) When the protective-frame structures are an integral part of the enclosure, apply the side load according to Figure C-13, and record L and D simultaneously. Static side-load application shall be distributed uniformly on the frame over an area perpendicular to the direction of load application, and no greater than 160 sq. in. (1,032 sq. cm) in size, with the largest dimension no greater than 27 in. (686 mm). Side-load application shall be at a 90° angle to the centerline of the vehicle. The center of the side-load application shall be located between point k, 24 in. (610 mm) forward of the seat-reference point, and point l, 12 in. (305 mm) rearward of the seat-reference point, to best use the structural strength (see Figure C-13). This side load shall be applied to the longitudinal side farthest from the point of rear-load application. The test shall be stopped when:


(1) The strain energy absorbed by the structure is equal to or greater than the required input energy Eis; or


(2) Deflection of the structure exceeds the allowable deflection (see paragraph (e)(1)(i) of this section); or


(3) The structure load limit occurs before the allowable deflection is reached in side load (see Figure C-5);


(G) Using data obtained in paragraph (d)(2)(iii)(F) of this section, construct the L-D diagram for the side load as shown in Figure C-5;


(H) Calculate FERis; and


(I) Calculate FERir.


(3) Dynamic test procedure. (i) The following test conditions shall be met:


(A) The protective enclosure and tractor shall be tested at the weight defined by 29 CFR 1928.51(a);


(B) The dynamic loading shall be accomplished by using a 4,410-lb (2,000-kg) weight acting as a pendulum. The impact face of the weight shall be 27 ±1 in. by 27 ±1 in. (686 ±25 mm by 686 ±25 mm), and shall be constructed so that its center of gravity is within 1.0 in. (25.4 mm) of its geometric center. The weight shall be suspended from a pivot point 18 to 22 ft (5.5 to 6.7 m) above the point of impact on the enclosure, and shall be conveniently and safely adjustable for height (see Figure C-6);


(C) For each phase of testing, the tractor shall be restrained from moving when the dynamic load is applied. The restraining members shall have strength no less than, and elasticity no greater than, that of 0.50-in. (12.7-mm) steel cable. Points of attachment for the restraining members shall be located an appropriate distance behind the rear axle and in front of the front axle to provide a 15° to 30° angle between the restraining cable and the horizontal. For impact from the rear, the restraining cables shall be located in the plane in which the center of gravity of the pendulum will swing, or alternatively, two sets of symmetrically located cables may be used at lateral locations on the tractor. For the impact from the side, restraining cables shall be used as shown in Figures C-15 and C-16;


(D) The front and rear wheel-tread settings, when adjustable, shall be at the position nearest to halfway between the minimum and maximum settings obtainable on the vehicle. When only two settings are obtainable, the minimum setting shall be used. The tires shall have no liquid ballast, and shall be inflated to the maximum operating pressure recommended by the manufacturer. With specified tire inflation, the restraining cable shall be tightened to provide tire deflection of 6 to 8 percent of nominal tire section width. After the vehicle is retrained properly, a wooden beam no smaller than 6-in. × 6-in. (150-mm × 150-mm) cross-section shall be driven tightly against the appropriate wheels and clamped. For the test to the side, an additional wooden beam shall be placed as a prop against the wheel nearest the operator’s station, and shall be secured to the base so that it is held tightly against the wheel rim during impact. The length of this beam shall be chosen so that it is at an angle of 25° to 40° to the horizontal when it is positioned against the wheel rim. It shall have a length 20 to 25 times its depth, and a width two to three times its depth (see Figures C-15 and C-16);


(E) Means shall be provided for indicating the maximum instantaneous deflection along the line of impact. A simple friction device is illustrated in Figure C-4;


(F) No repair or adjustments shall be made during the test; and


(G) When any cables, props, or blocking shift or break during the test, the test shall be repeated.


(ii) H = Vertical height of the center of gravity of a 4,410-lb (2,000-kg) weight in in. (H′ in mm). The weight shall be pulled back so that the height of its center of gravity above the point of impact is: H = 4.92 + 0.00190 W (H′ = 125 + 0.107 W′) (see Figure C-7).


(iii) The test procedures shall be as follows:


(A) The enclosure structure shall be evaluated by imposing dynamic loading from the rear, followed by a load to the side on the same enclosure structure. The pendulum swinging from the height determined by paragraph (d)(3)(ii) of this section shall be used to impose the dynamic load. The position of the pendulum shall be so selected that the initial point of impact on the protective structure is in line with the arc of travel of the center of gravity of the pendulum. When a quick-release mechanism is used, it shall not influence the attitude of the block;


(B) Impact at rear. The tractor shall be restrained properly according to paragraphs (d)(3)(i)(C) and (d)(3)(i)(D) of this section. The tractor shall be positioned with respect to the pivot point of the pendulum so that the pendulum is 20° from the vertical prior to impact as shown in Figure C-15. The impact shall be applied to the upper extremity of the enclosure structure at the point that is midway between the centerline of the enclosure structure and the inside of the protective structure. When no structural cross member exists at the rear of the enclosure structure, a substitute test beam that does not add to the strength of the structure may be used to complete the test procedure; and


(C) Impact at side. The blocking and restraining shall conform to paragraphs (d)(3)(i)(C) and (d)(3)(i)(D) of this section. The center point of impact shall be at the upper extremity of the enclosure at a 90° angle to the centerline of the vehicle, and located between a point k, 24 in. (610 mm) forward of the seat-reference point, and a point l, 12 in. (305 mm) rearward of the seat-reference point, to best use the structural strength (see Figure C-13). The side impact shall be applied to the longitudinal side farthest from the point of rear impact.


(4) Field-upset test procedure. (i) The following test conditions shall be met:


(A) The tractor shall be tested at the weight defined in 29 CFR 1928.51(a);


(B) The following provisions address soil bank test conditions.


(1) The test shall be conducted on a dry, firm soil bank. The soil in the impact area shall have an average cone index in the 0-in. to 6-in. (0-mm to 152-mm) layer of not less than 150. Cone index shall be determined according to American Society of Agricultural Engineers (“ASAE”) recommendation ASAE R313.1-1971 (“Soil cone penetrometer”), as reconfirmed in 1975, which is incorporated by reference. The incorporation by reference was approved by the Director of the Federal Register in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. The path of vehicle travel shall be 12° ±2° to the top edge of the bank.


(2) ASAE recommendation R313.1-1971, as reconfirmed in 1975, appears in the 1977 Agricultural Engineers Yearbook, or it may be examined at: Any OSHA Regional Office; the OSHA Docket Office, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Room N-2625, Washington, DC 20210 (telephone: (202) 693-2350 (TTY number: (877) 889-5627)); or the National Archives and Records Administration (“NARA”). (For information on the availability of this material at NARA, telephone (202) 741-6030 or access the NARA Web site at http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal_regulations/ibr_locations.html.) Copies may be purchased from the American Society of Agricultural Engineers 2950 Niles Road, St. Joseph, MI 49085.


(C) An 18-in. (457 mm) high ramp (see Figure C-10) shall be used to assist in upsetting the vehicle to the side; and


(D) The front and rear wheel-tread settings, when adjustable, shall be at the position nearest to halfway between the minimum and maximum settings obtainable on the vehicle. When only two settings are obtainable, the minimum setting shall be used.


(ii) Field upsets shall be induced to the rear and side.


(A) Rear upset shall be induced by engine power, with the tractor operating in gear to obtain 3 to 5 mph (4.8 to 8.0 kph) at maximum governed engine rpm by driving forward directly up a minimum slope of 60° ±5° as shown in Figure C-11, or by an alternate equivalent means. The engine clutch may be used to aid in inducing the upset; and


(B) To induce side upset, the tractor shall be driven under its own power along the specified path of travel at a minimum speed of 10 mph (16 kph), or at maximum vehicle speed when under 10 mph (16 kph), and over the ramp as described in paragraph (d)(4)(i)(C) of this section.


(e) Performance requirements – (1) General requirements. (i) The protective enclosure structural members or other parts in the operator area may be deformed in these tests, but shall not shatter or leave sharp edges exposed to the operator. They shall not encroach on a transverse plane passing through points d and f within the projected area defined by dimensions d, e, and g, or on the dimensions shown in Figures C-13 and C-14, as follows:



d = 2 in. (51 mm) inside of the protective structure to the vertical centerline of the seat;

e = 30 in. (762 mm) at the longitudinal centerline;

f = Not greater than 4 in. (102 mm) measured forward of the seat-reference point (“SRP”) at the longitudinal centerline as shown in Figure C-14;

g = 24 in. (610 mm) minimum;

h = 17.5 in. (445 mm) minimum; and

j = 2.0 in. (51 mm) measured from the outer periphery of the steering wheel.

(ii) The protective structure and connecting fasteners must pass the static or dynamic tests described in paragraphs (d)(2), (d)(3), or (d)(4) of this section at a metal temperature of 0 °F (−8 °C) or below, or exhibit Charpy V-notch impact strengths as follows:



10-mm × 10-mm (0.394-in. × 0.394-in.) specimen: 8.0 ft-lb (10.8 J) at −20 °F (−30 °C);

10-mm × 7.5-mm (0.394-in. × 0.296-in.) specimen: 7.0 ft-lb (9.5 J) at −20 °F (−30 °C);

10-mm × 5-mm (0.394-in. × 0.197-in.) specimen: 5.5 ft-lb (7.5 J) at −20 °F (−30 °C); or

10-mm × 2.5-mm (0.394-in. × 0.098-in.) specimen: 4.0 ft-lb (5.5 J) at −20 °F (−30 °C).

Specimens shall be longitudinal and taken from flat stock, tubular, or structural sections before forming or welding for use in the protective enclosure. Specimens from tubular or structural sections shall be taken from the middle of the side of greatest dimension, not to include welds.


(iii) The following provisions address glazing requirements.


(A) Glazing shall conform to the requirements contained in Society of Automotive Engineers (“SAE”) standard J674-1963 (“Safety glazing materials”), which is incorporated by reference. The incorporation by reference was approved by the Director of the Federal Register in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51.


(B) SAE standard J674-1963 appears in the 1965 SAE Handbook, or it may be examined at: any OSHA Regional Office; the OSHA Docket Office, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Room N-2625, Washington, DC 20210 (telephone: (202) 693-2350 (TTY number: (877) 889-5627)); or the National Archives and Records Administration (“NARA”). (For information on the availability of this material at NARA, telephone (202) 741-6030 or access the NARA Web site at http://www.archives.gov/federal_register/code_of_federal_regulations/ibr_locations.html.) Copies may be purchased from the Society of Automotive Engineers, 400 Commonwealth Drive, Warrendale, Pennsylvania 15096-0001.


(iv) Two or more operator exits shall be provided and positioned to avoid the possibility of both being blocked by the same accident.


(2) Static test-performance requirements. In addition to meeting the requirements of paragraph (e)(1) of this section for both side and rear loads, FERis and FER ir shall be greater than 1.0.


(3) Dynamic test-performance requirements. The structural requirements shall be met when the dimensions in paragraph (e)(1) of this section are used in both side and rear loads.


(4) Field-upset test performance requirements. The requirements of paragraph (e)(1) of this section shall be met for both side and rear upsets.


[70 FR 77004, Dec. 29, 2005, as amended at 71 FR 41145, July 20, 2006]


Appendix A to Subpart C of Part 1928 – Employee Operating Instructions

1. Securely fasten your seat belt if the tractor has a ROPS.

2. Where possible, avoid operating the tractor near ditches, embankments, and holes.

3. Reduce speed when turning, crossing slopes, and on rough, slick, or muddy surfaces.

4. Stay off slopes too steep for safe operation.

5. Watch where you are going, especially at row ends, on roads, and around trees.

6. Do not permit others to ride.

7. Operate the tractor smoothly – no jerky turns, starts, or stops.

8. Hitch only to the drawbar and hitch points recommended by tractor manufacturers.

9. When tractor is stopped, set brakes securely and use park lock if available.


Appendix B to Subpart C of Part 1928 – Figures C-1 through C-16

















[71 FR 41146, July 20, 2006]


Subpart D – Safety for Agricultural Equipment

§ 1928.57 Guarding of farm field equipment, farmstead equipment, and cotton gins.

(a) General – (1) Purpose. The purpose of this section is to provide for the protection of employees from the hazards associated with moving machinery parts of farm field equipment, farmstead equipment, and cotton gins used in any agricultural operation.


(2) Scope. Paragraph (a) of this section contains general requirements which apply to all covered equipment. In addition, paragraph (b) of this section applies to farm field equipment, paragraph (c) of this section applies to farmstead equipment, and paragraph (d) of this section applies to cotton gins.


(3) Application. This section applies to all farm field equipment, farmstead equipment, and cotton gins, except that paragraphs (b)(2), (b)(3), and (b)(4)(ii)(A), and (c)(2), (c)(3), and (c)(4)(ii)(A) do not apply to equipment manufactured before October 25, 1976.


(4) Effective date. This section takes effect on October 25, 1976, except that paragraph (d) of this section is effective on June 30, 1977.


(5) Definitions – Cotton gins are systems of machines which condition seed cotton, separate lint from seed, convey materials, and package lint cotton.


Farm field equipment means tractors or implements, including self-propelled implements, or any combination thereof used in agricultural operations.


Farmstead equipment means agricultural equipment normally used in a stationary manner. This includes, but is not limited to, materials handling equipment and accessories for such equipment whether or not the equipment is an integral part of a building.


Ground driven components are components which are powered by the turning motion of a wheel as the equipment travels over the ground.


A guard or shield is a barrier designed to protect against employee contact with a hazard created by a moving machinery part.


Power take-off shafts are the shafts and knuckles between the tractor, or other power source, and the first gear set, pulley, sprocket, or other components on power take-off shaft driven equipment.


(6) Operating instructions. At the time of initial assignment and at least annually thereafter, the employer shall instruct every employee in the safe operation and servicing of all covered equipment with which he is or will be involved, including at least the following safe operating practices:


(i) Keep all guards in place when the machine is in operation;


(ii) Permit no riders on farm field equipment other than persons required for instruction or assistance in machine operation;


(iii) Stop engine, disconnect the power source, and wait for all machine movement to stop before servicing, adjusting, cleaning, or unclogging the equipment, except where the machine must be running to be properly serviced or maintained, in which case the employer shall instruct employees as to all steps and procedures which are necessary to safely service or maintain the equipment;


(iv) Make sure everyone is clear of machinery before starting the engine, engaging power, or operating the machine;


(v) Lock out electrical power before performing maintenance or service on farmstead equipment.


(7) Methods of guarding. Except as otherwise provided in this subpart, each employer shall protect employees from coming into contact with hazards created by moving machinery parts as follows:


(i) Through the installation and use of a guard or shield or guarding by location;


(ii) Whenever a guard or shield or guarding by location is infeasible, by using a guardrail or fence.


(8) Strength and design of guards. (i) Where guards are used to provide the protection required by this section, they shall be designed and located to protect against inadvertent contact with the hazard being guarded.


(ii) Unless otherwise specified, each guard and its supports shall be capable of withstanding the force that a 250 pound individual, leaning on or falling against the guard, would exert upon that guard.


(iii) Guards shall be free from burrs, sharp edges, and sharp corners, and shall be securely fastened to the equipment or building.


(9) Guarding by location. A component is guarded by location during operation, maintenance, or servicing when, because of its location, no employee can inadvertently come in contact with the hazard during such operation, maintenance, or servicing. Where the employer can show that any exposure to hazards results from employee conduct which constitutes an isolated and unforeseeable event, the component shall also be considered guarded by location.


(10) Guarding by railings. Guardrails or fences shall be capable of protecting against employees inadvertently entering the hazardous area.


(11) Servicing and maintenance. Whenever a moving machinery part presents a hazard during servicing or maintenance, the engine shall be stopped, the power source disconnected, and all machine movement stopped before servicing or maintenance is performed, except where the employer can establish that:


(i) The equipment must be running to be properly serviced or maintained;


(ii) The equipment cannot be serviced or maintained while a guard or guards otherwise required by this standard are in place; and


(iii) The servicing or maintenance can be safely performed.


(b) Farm field equipment – (1) Power take-off guarding. (i) All power take-off shafts, including rear, mid- or side-mounted shafts, shall be guarded either by a master shield, as provided in paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section, or by other protective guarding.


(ii) All tractors shall be equipped with an agricultural tractor master shield on the rear power take-off except where removal of the tractor master shield is permitted by paragraph (b)(1)(iii) of this section. The master shield shall have sufficient strength to prevent permanent deformation of the shield when a 250 pound operator mounts or dismounts the tractor using the shield as a step.


(iii) Power take-off driven equipment shall be guarded to protect against employee contact with positively driven rotating members of the power drive system. Where power take-off driven equipment is of a design requiring removal of the tractor master shield, the equipment shall also include protection from that portion of the tractor power take-off shaft which protrudes from the tractor.


(iv) Signs shall be placed at prominent locations on tractors and power take-off driven equipment specifying that power drive system safety shields must be kept in place.


(2) Other power transmission components. (i) The mesh or nip-points of all power driven gears, belts, chains, sheaves, pulleys, sprockets, and idlers shall be guarded.


(ii) All revolving shafts, including projections such as bolts, keys, or set screws, shall be guarded, except smooth shaft ends protruding less than one-half the outside diameter of the shaft and its locking means.


(iii) Ground driven components shall be guarded in accordance with paragraphs (b)(2)(i) and (b)(2)(ii) of this section if any employee may be exposed to them while the drives are in motion.


(3) Functional components. Functional components, such as snapping or husking rolls, straw spreaders and choppers, cutterbars, flail rotors, rotary beaters, mixing augers, feed rolls, conveying augers, rotary tillers, and similar units, which must be exposed for proper function, shall be guarded to the fullest extent which will not substantially interfere with normal functioning of the component.


(4) Access to moving parts. (i) Guards, shields, and access doors shall be in place when the equipment is in operation.


(ii) Where removal of a guard or access door will expose an employee to any component which continues to rotate after the power is disengaged, the employer shall provide, in the immediate area, the following:


(A) A readily visible or audible warning of rotation; and


(B) A safety sign warning the employee to:


(1) Look and listen for evidence of rotation; and


(2) Not remove the guard or access door until all components have stopped.


(c) Farmstead equipment – (1) Power take-off guarding. (i) All power take-off shafts, including rear, mid-, or side-mounted shafts, shall be guarded either by a master shield as provided in paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section or other protective guarding.


(ii) Power take-off driven equipment shall be guarded to protect against employee contact with positively driven rotating members of the power drive system. Where power take-off driven equipment is of a design requiring removal of the tractor master shield, the equipment shall also include protection from that portion of the tractor power take-off shaft which protrudes from the tractor.


(iii) Signs shall be placed at prominent locations on power take-off driven equipment specifying that power drive system safety shields must be kept in place.


(2) Other power transmission components. (i) The mesh or nip-points of all power driven gears, belts, chains, sheaves, pulleys, sprockets, and idlers shall be guarded.


(ii) All revolving shafts, including projections such as bolts, keys, or set screws, shall be guarded, with the exception of:


(A) Smooth shafts and shaft ends (without any projecting bolts, keys, or set screws), revolving at less than 10 rpm, on feed handling equipment used on the top surface of materials in bulk storage facilities; and


(B) Smooth shaft ends protruding less than one-half the outside diameter of the shaft and its locking means.


(3) Functional components. (i) Functional components, such as choppers, rotary beaters, mixing augers, feed rolls, conveying augers, grain spreaders, stirring augers, sweep augers, and feed augers, which must be exposed for proper function, shall be guarded to the fullest extent which will not substantially interfere with the normal functioning of the component.


(ii) Sweep arm material gathering mechanisms used on the top surface of materials within silo structures shall be guarded. The lower or leading edge of the guard shall be located no more than 12 inches above the material surface and no less than 6 inches in front of the leading edge of the rotating member of the gathering mechanism. The guard shall be parallel to, and extend the fullest practical length of, the material gathering mechanism.


(iii) Exposed auger flighting on portable grain augers shall be guarded with either grating type guards or solid baffle style covers as follows:


(A) The largest dimensions or openings in grating type guards through which materials are required to flow shall be 4
3/4 inches. The area of each opening shall be no larger than 10 square inches. The opening shall be located no closer to the rotating flighting than 2
1/2 inches.


(B) Slotted openings in solid baffle style covers shall be no wider than 1
1/2 inches, or closer than 3
1/2 inches to the exposed flighting.


(4) Access to moving parts. (i) Guards, shields, and access doors shall be in place when the equipment is in operation.


(ii) Where removal of a guard or access door will expose an employee to any component which continues to rotate after the power is disengaged, the employer shall provide, in the immediate area, the following:


(A) A readily visible or audible warning of rotation; and


(B) A safety sign warning the employee to:


(1) Look and listen for evidence of rotation; and


(2) Not remove the guard or access door until all components have stopped.


(5) Electrical disconnect means. (i) Application of electrical power from a location not under the immediate and exclusive control of the employee or employees maintaining or servicing equipment shall be prevented by:


(A) Providing an exclusive, positive locking means on the main switch which can be operated only by the employee or employees performing the maintenance or servicing; or


(B) In the case of material handling equipment located in a bulk storage structure, by physically locating on the equipment an electrical or mechanical means to disconnect the power.


(ii) All circuit protection devices, including those which are an integral part of a motor, shall be of the manual reset type, except where:


(A) The employer can establish that because of the nature of the operation, distances involved, and the amount of time normally spent by employees in the area of the affected equipment, use of the manual reset device would be infeasible;


(B) There is an electrical disconnect switch available to the employee within 15 feet of the equipment upon which maintenance or service is being performed; and


(C) A sign is prominently posted near each hazardous component which warns the employee that, unless the electrical disconnect switch is utilized, the motor could automatically reset while the employee is working on the hazardous component.


(d) Cotton ginning equipment – (1) Power transmission components. (i) The main drive and miscellaneous drives of gin stands shall be completely enclosed, guarded by location, or guarded by railings (consistent with the requirements of paragraph (a)(7) of this section). Drives between gin stands shall be guarded so as to prevent access to the area between machines.


(ii) When guarded by railings, any hazardous component within 15 horizontal inches of the rail shall be completely enclosed. Railing height shall be approximately 42 inches off the floor, platform, or other working surface, with a midrail between the toprail and the working surface. Panels made of materials conforming to the requirements in Table D-1, or equivalent, may be substituted for midrails. Guardrails shall be strong enough to withstand at least 200 pounds force on the toprail.


(iii) Belts guarded by railings shall be inspected for defects at least daily. The machinery shall not be operated until all defective belts are replaced.


Table D-1 – Examples of Minimum Requirements for Guard Panel Materials

Material
Clearance from moving part at all points (in inches)
Largest mesh or opening allowable (in inches)
Minimum gage (U.S. standard) or thickness
Woven wireUnder 2
3/8
16
2 to 4
1/2
16
4 to 15212
Expanded metalUnder 4

4 to 15

1/2

2
18

13
Perforated metalUnder 4

4 to 15

1/2

2
20

14
Sheet metalUnder 422
4 to 1522
PlasticUnder 4(
1)
4 to 15(
1)


1 Tensile strength of 10,000 lb/in
2


(iv) Pulleys of V-belt drives shall be completely enclosed or guarded by location whether or not railings are present. The open end of the pulley guard shall be not less than 4 inches from the periphery of the pulleys.


(v) Chains and sprockets shall be completely enclosed, except that they may be guarded by location if the bearings are packed or if accessible extension lubrication fittings are used.


(vi) Where complete enclosure of a component is likely to cause a fire hazard due to excessive deposits of lint, only the face section of nip-point and pulley guards is required. The guard shall extend at least 6 inches beyond the rim of the pulley on the in-running and off-running sides of the belt, and at least 2 inches from the rim and face of the pulley in all other directions.


(vii) Projecting shaft ends not guarded by location shall present a smooth edge and end, shall be guarded by non-rotating caps or safety sleeves, and may not protrude more than one-half the outside diameter of the shaft.


(viii) In power plants and power development rooms where access is limited to authorized personnel, guard railings may be used in place of guards or guarding by location. Authorized employees having access to power plants and power development rooms shall be instructed in the safe operation and maintenance of the equipment in accordance with paragraph (a)(6) of this section.


(2) Functional components. (i) Gin stands shall be provided with a permanently installed guard designed to preclude contact with the gin saws while in motion. The saw blades in the roll box shall be considered guarded by location if they do not extend through the ginning ribs into the roll box when the breast is in the out position.


(ii) Moving saws on lint cleaners which have doors giving access to the saws shall be guarded by fixed barrier guards or their equivalent which prevent direct finger or hand contact with the saws while the saws are in motion.


(iii) An interlock shall be installed on all balers so that the upper gates cannot be opened while the tramper is operating.


(iv) Top panels of burr extractors shall be hinged and equipped with a sturdy positive latch.


(v) All accessible screw conveyors shall be guarded by substantial covers or gratings, or with an inverted horizontally slotted guard of the trough type, which will prevent employees from coming into contact with the screw conveyor. Such guards may consist of horizontal bars spaced so as to allow material to be fed into the conveyor, and supported by arches which are not more than 8 feet apart. Screw conveyors under gin stands shall be considered guarded by location.


(3) Warning device. A warning device shall be installed in all gins to provide an audible signal which will indicate to employees that any or all of the machines comprising the gin are about to be started. The signal shall be of sufficient volume to be heard by employees, and shall be sounded each time before starting the gin.


[41 FR 10195, Mar. 9, 1976; 41 FR 11022, Mar. 16, 1976; 41 FR 22268, June 2, 1976, as amended at 41 FR 46598, Oct. 22, 1976]


Subparts E-H [Reserved]

Subpart I – General Environmental Controls

§ 1928.110 Field sanitation.

(a) Scope. This section shall apply to any agricultural establishment where eleven (11) or more employees are engaged on any given day in hand-labor operations in the field.


(b) Definitions. Agricultural employer means any person, corporation, association, or other legal entity that:


(i) Owns or operates an agricultural establishment;


(ii) Contracts with the owner or operator of an agricultural establishment in advance of production for the purchase of a crop and exercises substantial control over production; or


(iii) Recruits and supervises employees or is responsible for the management and condition of an agricultural establishment.


Agricultural establishment is a business operation that uses paid employees in the production of food, fiber, or other materials such as seed, seedlings, plants, or parts of plants.


Hand-labor operations means agricultural activities or agricultural operations performed by hand or with hand tools. Except for purposes of paragraph (c)(2)(iii) of this section, hand-labor operations also include other activities or operations performed in conjunction with hand labor in the field. Some examples of hand-labor operations are the hand-cultivation, hand-weeding, hand-planting and hand-harvesting of vegetables, nuts, fruits, seedlings or other crops, including mushrooms, and the hand packing of produce into containers, whether done on the ground, on a moving machine or in a temporary packing shed located in the field. Hand-labor does not include such activities as logging operations, the care or feeding of livestock, or hand-labor operations in permanent structures (e.g., canning facilities or packing houses).


Handwashing facility means a facility providing either a basin, container, or outlet with an adequate supply of potable water, soap and single-use towels.


Potable water means water that meets the standards for drinking purposes of the State or local authority having jurisdiction, or water that meets the quality standards prescribed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (40 CFR part 141).


Toilet facility means a fixed or portable facility designed for the purpose of adequate collection and containment of the products of both defecation and urination which is supplied with toilet paper adequate to employee needs. Toilet facility includes biological, chemical, flush and combustion toilets and sanitary privies.


(c) Requirements. Agricultural employers shall provide the following for employees engaged in hand-labor operations in the field, without cost to the employee:


(1) Potable drinking water. (i) Potable water shall be provided and placed in locations readily accessible to all employees.


(ii) The water shall be suitably cool and in sufficient amounts, taking into account the air temperature, humidity and the nature of the work performed, to meet the needs of all employees.


(iii) The water shall be dispensed in single-use drinking cups or by fountains. The use of common drinking cups or dippers is prohibited.


(2) Toilet and handwashing facilities. (i) One toilet facility and one handwashing facility shall be provided for each twenty (20) employees or fraction thereof, except as stated in paragraph (c)(2)(v) of this section.


(ii) Toilet facilities shall be adequately ventilated, appropriately screened, have self-closing doors that can be closed and latched from the inside and shall be constructed to insure privacy.


(iii) Toilet and handwashing facilities shall be accessibly located and in close proximity to each other. The facilities shall be located within a one-quarter-mile walk of each hand laborer’s place of work in the field.


(iv) Where due to terrain it is not feasible to locate facilities as required above, the facilities shall be located at the point of closest vehicular access.


(v) Toilet and handwashing facilities are not required for employees who perform field work for a period of three (3) hours or less (including transportation time to and from the field) during the day.


(3) Maintenance. Potable drinking water and toilet and handwashing facilities shall be maintained in accordance with appropriate public health sanitation practices, including the following:


(i) Drinking water containers shall be constructed of materials that maintain water quality, shall be refilled daily or more often as necessary, shall be kept covered and shall be regularly cleaned.


(ii) Toilet facilities shall be operational and maintained in clean and sanitary condition.


(iii) Handwashing facilities shall be refilled with potable water as necessary to ensure an adequate supply and shall be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition; and


(iv) Disposal of wastes from facilities shall not cause unsanitary conditions.


(4) Reasonable use. The employer shall notify each employee of the location of the sanitation facilities and water and shall allow each employee reasonable opportunities during the workday to use them. The employer also shall inform each employee of the importance of each of the following good hygiene practices to minimize exposure to the hazards in the field of heat, communicable diseases, retention of urine and agrichemical residues:


(i) Use the water and facilities provided for drinking, handwashing and elimination;


(ii) Drink water frequently and especially on hot days;


(iii) Urinate as frequently as necessary;


(iv) Wash hands both before and after using the toilet; and


(v) Wash hands before eating and smoking.


(d) Dates – (1) Effective date. This standard shall take effect on May 30, 1987.


(2) Startup dates. Employers must comply with the requirements of paragraphs:


(i) Paragraph (c)(1), to provide potable drinking water, by May 30, 1987;


(ii) Paragraph (c)(2), to provide handwashing and toilet facilities, by July 30, 1987;


(iii) Paragraph (c)(3), to provide maintenance for toilet and handwashing facilities, by July 30, 1987; and


(iv) Paragraph (c)(4), to assure reasonable use, by July 30, 1987.


[52 FR 16095, May 1, 1987, as amended at 76 FR 33612, June 8, 2011]


Subparts J-L [Reserved]

Subpart M – Occupational Health

§ 1928.1027 Cadmium.

See § 1910.1027, Cadmium.


[61 FR 9255, Mar. 7, 1996]


PART 1949 – OFFICE OF TRAINING AND EDUCATION, OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION


Authority:Secs. 8, 26, Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 657, 670); 31 U.S.C. 9701; Secretary of Labor’s Order No. 9-83 (48 FR 35736).


Source:49 FR 32066, Aug. 10, 1984, unless otherwise noted.

Subpart A – OSHA Training Institute

§ 1949.1 Policy regarding tuition fees.

(a) The OSHA Training Institute shall charge tuition fees for all private sector students attending Institute courses.


(b) The following private sector students shall be exempt from the payment of tuition fees.


(1) Associate members of Field Federal Safety and Health Councils.


(2) Students who are representatives of foreign governments.


(3) Students attending courses which are required by OSHA for the student to maintain an existing designation of OSHA certified outreach trainer.


(c) Additional exemptions may be made by the Director of the OSHA Training Institute on a case by case basis if it is determined that the students exempted are employed by a nonprofit organization and the granting of an exemption from tuition would be in the best interest of the occupational safety and health program. Individuals or organizations wishing to be considered for this exemption shall make application to the Director of the OSHA Training Institute in writing stating the reasons for an exemption from payment of tuition.


[56 FR 28076, June 19, 1991]


§ 1949.2 Definitions.

Any term not defined herein shall have the same meaning as given it in the Act. As used in this subpart:


Private sector students means those students attending the Institute who are not employees of Federal, State, or local governments.


§ 1949.3 Schedule of fees.

(a) Tuition fees will be computed on the basis of the cost to the Government for the Institute conduct of the course, as determined by the Director of the Institute.


(b) Total tuition charges for each course will be set forth in the course announcement.


§ 1949.4 Procedure for payment.

(a) Applications for Institute courses shall be submitted to the Institute Registrar’s office in accordance with instructions issued by the Institute.


(b) Private sector personnel shall, upon notification of their acceptance by the Institute, submit a check payable to “U.S. Department of Labor” in the amount indicated by the course announcement prior to the commencement of the course.


§ 1949.5 Refunds.

An applicant may withdraw an application and receive full reimbursement of the fee provided that written notification to the Institute Registrar is mailed no later than 14 days before the commencement of the course for which registration has been submitted.


PART 1952 – APPROVED STATE PLANS FOR ENFORCEMENT OF STATE STANDARDS


Authority:Sec. 18, 84 Stat. 1608 (29 U.S.C. 667); 29 CFR part 1902; Secretary of Labor’s Order No. 1-2012 (77 FR 3912, Jan. 25, 2012), or 8-2020 (85 FR 58393, Sept. 18, 2020), as applicable.

Subpart A – List of Approved State Plans for Private-Sector and State and Local Government Employees

§ 1952.1 South Carolina.

(a) The South Carolina State plan received initial approval on December 6, 1972.


(b) The South Carolina State plan received final approval on December 18, 1987.


(c) Under the terms of the 1978 Court Order in AFL-CIO v. Marshall, compliance officer staffing levels (benchmarks) necessary for a “fully effective” enforcement program were required to be established for each State operating an approved State plan. In September 1984, South Carolina, in conjunction with OSHA, completed a reassessment of the staffing levels initially established in 1980 and proposed revised compliance staffing benchmarks of 17 safety and 12 health compliance officers. After opportunity for public comment and service on the AFL-CIO, the Assistant Secretary approved these revised staffing requirements on January 17, 1986.


(d) The plan covers all private-sector employers and employees, with several notable exceptions, as well as State and local government employers and employees, within the State. For current information on these exceptions and for additional details about the plan, please visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/stateprogs/south_carolina.html.


§ 1952.2 Oregon.

(a) The Oregon State plan received initial approval on December 28, 1972.


(b) The Oregon State plan received final approval on May 12, 2005.


(c) Under the terms of the 1978 Court Order in AFL-CIO v. Marshall, compliance staffing levels (“benchmarks”) necessary for a “fully effective” enforcement program were required for each State operating an approved State plan. In October 1992, Oregon completed, in conjunction with OSHA, a reassessment of the health staffing level initially established in 1980 and proposed a revised health benchmark of 28 health compliance officers. Oregon elected to retain the safety benchmark level established in the 1980 Report to the Court of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in 1980 of 47 safety compliance officers. After opportunity for public comment and service on the AFL-CIO, the Assistant Secretary approved these revised staffing requirements on August 11, 1994.


(d) The plan covers all private-sector employers and employees, with several notable exceptions, as well as State and local government employers and employees, within the State. For current information on these exceptions and for additional details about the plan, please visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/stateprogs/oregon.html.


§ 1952.3 Utah.

(a) The Utah State plan received initial approval on January 10, 1973.


(b) The Utah State plan received final approval on July 16, 1985.


(c) Under the terms of the 1978 Court Order in AFL-CIO v. Marshall, compliance staffing levels (benchmarks) necessary for a “fully effective” enforcement program were required to be established for each State operating an approved State plan. In September 1984, Utah, in conjunction with OSHA, completed a reassessment of the levels initially established in 1980 and proposed revised compliance staffing benchmarks of 10 safety and 9 health compliance officers. After opportunity for public comments and service on the AFL-CIO, the Assistant Secretary approved these revised staffing requirements effective July 16, 1985.


(d) The plan covers all private-sector employers and employees, with several notable exceptions, as well as State and local government employers and employees, within the State. For current information on these exceptions and for additional details about the plan, please visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/stateprogs/utah.html.


§ 1952.4 Washington.

(a) The Washington State plan received initial approval on January 26, 1973.


(b) OSHA entered into an operational status agreement with Washington.


(c) The plan covers all private-sector employers and employees, with several notable exceptions, as well as State and local government employers and employees, within the State. For current information on these exceptions and for additional details about the plan, please visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/stateprogs/washington.html.


§ 1952.5 North Carolina.

(a) The North Carolina State plan received initial approval on February 1, 1973.


(b) The North Carolina State plan received final approval on December 18, 1996.


(c) Under the terms of the 1978 Court Order in AFL-CIO v. Marshall, compliance staffing levels (“benchmarks”) necessary for a “fully effective” enforcement program were required for each State operating an approved State plan. In September 1984, North Carolina, in conjunction with OSHA, completed a reassessment of the levels initially established in 1980 and proposed revised benchmarks of 50 safety and 27 health compliance officers. After opportunity for public comment and service on the AFL-CIO, the Assistant Secretary approved these revised staffing requirements on January 17, 1986.


In June 1990, North Carolina reconsidered the information utilized in the initial revision of its 1980 benchmarks and determined that changes in local conditions and improved inspection data warranted further revision of its benchmarks to 64 safety inspectors and 50 industrial hygienists. After opportunity for public comment and service on the AFL-CIO, the Assistant Secretary approved these revised staffing requirements on June 4, 1996.


(d) The plan covers all private-sector employers and employees, with several notable exceptions, as well as State and local government employers and employees, within the State. For current information on these exceptions and for additional details about the plan, please visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/stateprogs/north_carolina.html.


§ 1952.6 Iowa.

(a) The Iowa State plan received initial approval on July 20, 1973.


(b) The Iowa State plan received final approval on July 2, 1985.


(c) Under the terms of the 1978 Court Order in AFL-CIO v. Marshall, compliance staffing levels (benchmarks) necessary for a “fully effective” enforcement program were required to be established for each State operating an approved State plan. In September 1984, Iowa, in conjunction with OSHA, completed a reassessment of the levels initially established in 1980 and proposed revised compliance staffing benchmarks of 16 safety and 13 health compliance officers. After opportunity for public comment and service on the AFL-CIO, the Assistant Secretary approved these revised staffing requirements effective July 2, 1985.


(d) The plan covers all private-sector employers and employees, with several notable exceptions, as well as State and local government employers and employees, within the State. For current information on these exceptions and for additional details about the plan, please visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/stateprogs/iowa.html.


§ 1952.7 California.

(a) The California State plan received initial approval on May 1, 1973.


(b) OSHA entered into an operational status agreement with California.


(c) The plan covers all private-sector employers and employees, with several notable exceptions, as well as State and local government employers and employees, within the State. For current information on these exceptions and for additional details about the plan, please visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/stateprogs/california.html.


§ 1952.8 Minnesota.

(a) The Minnesota State plan received initial approval on June 8, 1973.


(b) The Minnesota State plan received final approval on July 30, 1985.


(c) Under the terms of the 1978 Court Order in AFL-CIO v. Marshall, compliance staffing levels (benchmarks) necessary for a “fully effective” enforcement program were required to be established for each State operating an approved State plan. In September 1984 Minnesota, in conjunction with OSHA, completed a reassessment of the levels initially established in 1980 and proposed revised compliance staffing benchmarks of 31 safety and 12 health compliance officers. After opportunity for public comment and service on the AFL-CIO, the Assistant Secretary approved these revised staffing requirements on July 30, 1985.


(d) The plan covers all private-sector employers and employees, with several notable exceptions, as well as State and local government employers and employees, within the State. For current information on these exceptions and for additional details about the plan, please visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/stateprogs/minnesota.html.


§ 1952.9 Maryland.

(a) The Maryland State plan received initial approval on July 5, 1973.


(b) The Maryland State plan received final approval on July 18, 1985.


(c) Under the terms of the 1978 Court Order in AFL-CIO v. Marshall, compliance staffing levels (benchmarks) necessary for a “fully effective” enforcement program were required to be established for each State operating an approved State plan. In September 1984 Maryland, in conjunction with OSHA, completed a reassessment of the levels initially established in 1980 and proposed revised compliance staffing benchmarks of 36 safety and 18 health compliance officers. After opportunity for public comment and service on the AFL-CIO, the Assistant Secretary approved these revised staffing requirements on July 18, 1985.


(d) The plan covers all private-sector employers and employees, with several notable exceptions, as well as State and local government employers and employees, within the State. For current information on these exceptions and for additional details about the plan, please visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/stateprogs/maryland.html.


§ 1952.10 Tennessee.

(a) The Tennessee State plan received initial approval on July 5, 1973.


(b) The Tennessee State plan received final approval on July 22, 1985.


(c) Under the terms of the 1978 Court Order in AFL-CIO v. Marshall, compliance staffing levels (benchmarks) necessary for a “fully effective” enforcement program were required to be established for each State operating an approved State plan. In September 1984 Tennessee, in conjunction with OSHA, completed a reassessment of the levels initially established in 1980 and proposed revised compliance staffing benchmarks of 22 safety and 14 health compliance officers. After opportunity for public comment and service on the AFL-CIO, the Assistant Secretary approved these revised staffing requirements on July 22, 1985.


(d) The plan covers all private-sector employers and employees, with several notable exceptions, as well as State and local government employers and employees, within the State. For current information on these exceptions and for additional details about the plan, please visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/stateprogs/tennessee.html.


§ 1952.11 Kentucky.

(a) The Kentucky State plan received initial approval on July 31, 1973.


(b) The Kentucky State plan received final approval on June 13, 1985.


(c) Under the terms of the 1978 Court Order in AFL-CIO v. Marshall, compliance staffing levels (benchmarks) necessary for a “fully effective” enforcement program were required to be established for each State operating an approved State plan. In September 1984 Kentucky, in conjunction with OSHA, completed a reassessment of the levels initially established in 1980 and proposed revised compliance staffing benchmarks of 23 safety and 14 health compliance officers. After opportunity for public comment and service on the AFL-CIO, the Assistant Secretary approved these revised staffing requirements on June 13, 1985.


(d) The plan covers all private-sector employers and employees, with several notable exceptions, as well as State and local government employers and employees, within the State. For current information on these exceptions and for additional details about the plan, please visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/stateprogs/kentucky.html.


§ 1952.12 Alaska.

(a) The Alaska State plan received initial approval on August 10, 1973.


(b) The Alaska State plan received final approval on September 28, 1984.


(c) Under the terms of the 1978 Court Order in AFL-CIO v. Marshall, compliance staffing levels (benchmarks) necessary for a “fully effective” enforcement program were required to be established for each State operating an approved State plan. Alaska’s compliance staffing benchmarks are 4 safety and 5 health compliance officers.


(d) The plan covers all private-sector employers and employees, with several notable exceptions, as well as State and local government employers and employees, within the State. For current information on these exceptions and for additional details about the plan, please visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/stateprogs/alaska.html.


§ 1952.13 Michigan.

(a) The Michigan State plan received initial approval on October 3, 1973.


(b) OSHA entered into an operational status agreement with Michigan.


(c) Under the terms of the 1978 Court Order in AFL-CIO v. Marshall, compliance staffing levels (“benchmarks”) necessary for a “fully effective” enforcement program were required for each State operating an approved State plan. In 1992, Michigan completed, in conjunction with OSHA, a reassessment of the levels initially established in 1980 and proposed revised benchmarks of 56 safety and 45 health compliance officers. After opportunity for public comment and service on the AFL-CIO, the Assistant Secretary approved these revised staffing requirements on April 20, 1995.


(d) The plan covers all private-sector employers and employees, with several notable exceptions, as well as State and local government employers and employees, within the State. For current information on these exceptions and for additional details about the plan, please visit https://www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/stateprogs/michigan.html.


§ 1952.14 Vermont.

(a) The Vermont State plan received initial approval on October 16, 1973.


(b) OSHA entered into an operational status agreement with Vermont.


(c) The plan covers all private-sector employers and employees, with several notable exceptions, as well as State and local government employers and employees, within the State. For current information on these exceptions and for additional details about the plan, please visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/stateprogs/vermont.html.


§ 1952.15 Nevada.

(a) The Nevada State plan received initial approval on January 4, 1974.


(b) The Nevada State plan received final approval on April 18, 2000.


(c) Under the terms of the 1978 Court Order in AFL-CIO v. Marshall, compliance staffing levels (benchmarks) necessary for a “fully effective” enforcement program were required to be established for each State operating an approved State plan. In July 1986 Nevada, in conjunction with OSHA, completed a reassessment of the levels initially established in 1980 and proposed revised compliance staffing benchmarks of 11 safety and 5 health compliance officers. After opportunity for public comment and service on the AFL-CIO, the Assistant Secretary approved these revised staffing requirements on September 2, 1987.


(d) The plan covers all private-sector employers and employees, with several notable exceptions, as well as State and local government employers and employees, within the State. For current information on these exceptions and for additional details about the plan, please visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/stateprogs/nevada.html.


§ 1952.16 Hawaii.

(a) The Hawaii State plan received initial approval on January 4, 1974.


(b) The Hawaii State plan received final approval on May 4, 1984.


(c) On September 21, 2012 OSHA modified the State Plan’s approval status from final approval to initial approval, and reinstated concurrent federal enforcement authority pending the necessary corrective action by the State Plan in order to once again meet the criteria for a final approval determination. OSHA and Hawaii entered into an operational status agreement to provide a workable division of enforcement responsibilities.


(d) The plan covers all private-sector employers and employees, with several notable exceptions, as well as State and local government employers and employees, within the State. For current information on these exceptions and for additional details about the plan, please visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/stateprogs/hawaii.html.


§ 1952.17 Indiana.

(a) The Indiana State plan received initial approval on March 6, 1974.


(b) The Indiana State plan received final approval on September 26, 1986.


(c) Under the terms of the 1978 Court Order in AFL-CIO v. Marshall, compliance staffing levels (benchmarks) necessary for a “fully effective” enforcement program were required to be established for each State operating an approved State plan. In September 1984 Indiana, in conjunction with OSHA, completed a reassessment of the levels initially established in 1980 and proposed revised compliance staffing benchmarks of 47 safety and 23 health compliance officers. After opportunity for public comment and service on the AFL-CIO, the Assistant Secretary approved these revised staffing requirements on January 17, 1986.


(d) The plan covers all private-sector employers and employees, with several notable exceptions, as well as State and local government employers and employees, within the State. For current information on these exceptions and for additional details about the plan, please visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/stateprogs/indiana.html.


§ 1952.18 Wyoming.

(a) The Wyoming State plan received initial approval on May 3, 1974.


(b) The Wyoming State plan received final approval on June 27, 1985.


(c) Under the terms of the 1978 Court Order in AFL-CIO v. Marshall, compliance staffing levels (benchmarks) necessary for a “fully effective” enforcement program were required to be established for each State operating an approved State plan. In September 1984 Wyoming, in conjunction with OSHA, completed a reassessment of the levels initially established in 1980 and proposed revised compliance staffing benchmarks of 6 safety and 2 health compliance officers. After opportunity for public comment and service on the AFL-CIO, the Assistant Secretary approved these revised staffing requirements on June 27, 1985.


(d) The plan covers all private-sector employers and employees, with several notable exceptions, as well as State and local government employers and employees, within the State. For current information on these exceptions and for additional details about the plan, please visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/stateprogs/wyoming.html.


§ 1952.19 Arizona.

(a) The Arizona State plan received initial approval on November 5, 1974.


(b) The Arizona State plan received final approval on June 20, 1985.


(c) Under the terms of the 1978 Court Order in AFL-CIO v. Marshall, compliance staffing levels (benchmarks) necessary for a “fully effective” enforcement program were required to be established for each State operating an approved State plan. In September 1984, Arizona in conjunction with OSHA, completed a reassessment of the levels initially established in 1980 and proposed revised compliance staffing benchmarks of 9 safety and 6 health compliance officers. After opportunity for public comment and service on the AFL-CIO, the Assistant Secretary approved these revised staffing requirements on June 20, 1985.


(d) The plan covers all private-sector employers and employees, with several notable exceptions, as well as State and local government employers and employees, within the State. For current information on these exceptions and for additional details about the plan, please visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/stateprogs/arizona.html.


§ 1952.20 New Mexico.

(a) The New Mexico State plan received initial approval on December 10, 1975.


(b) OSHA entered into an operational status agreement with New Mexico.


(c) Under the terms of the 1978 Court Order in AFL-CIO v. Marshall, compliance staffing levels (“benchmarks”) necessary for a “fully effective” enforcement program were required for each State operating an approved State plan. In May 1992, New Mexico completed, in conjunction with OSHA, a reassessment of the staffing levels initially established in 1980 and proposed revised benchmarks of 7 safety and 3 health compliance officers. After opportunity for public comment and service on the AFL-CIO, the Assistant Secretary approved these revised staffing requirements on August 11, 1994.


(d) The plan covers all private-sector employers and employees, with several notable exceptions, as well as State and local government employers and employees, within the State. For current information on these exceptions and for additional details about the plan, please visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/stateprogs/new_mexico.html.


§ 1952.21 Virginia.

(a) The Virginia State plan received initial approval on September 28, 1976.


(b) The Virginia State plan received final approval on November 30, 1988.


(c) Under the terms of the 1978 Court Order in AFL-CIO v. Marshall, compliance staffing levels (benchmarks) necessary for a “fully effective” enforcement program were required to be established for each State operating an approved State plan. In September 1984 Virginia, in conjunction with OSHA, completed a reassessment of the levels initially established in 1980 and proposed revised compliance staffing benchmarks of 38 safety and 21 health compliance officers. After opportunity for public comment and service on the AFL-CIO, the Assistant Secretary approved these revised staffing requirements on January 17, 1986.


(d) The plan covers all private-sector employers and employees, with several notable exceptions, as well as State and local government employers and employees, within the State. For current information on these exceptions and for additional details about the plan, please visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/stateprogs/virginia.html.


§ 1952.22 Puerto Rico.

(a) The Puerto Rico State plan received initial approval on August 30, 1977.


(b) OSHA entered into an operational status agreement with Puerto Rico.


(c) The plan covers all private-sector employers and employees, with several notable exceptions, as well as State and local government employers and employees, within the State. For current information on these exceptions and for additional details about the plan, please visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/stateprogs/puerto_rico.html.


Subpart B – List of Approved State Plans for State and Local Government Employees

§ 1952.23 Connecticut.

(a) The Connecticut State plan for State and local government employees received initial approval from the Assistant Secretary on November 3, 1978.


(b) In accordance with 29 CFR 1956.10(g), a State is required to have a sufficient number of adequately trained and competent personnel to discharge its responsibilities under the plan. The Connecticut Public Employee Only State plan provides for three (3) safety compliance officers and one (1) health compliance officer as set forth in the Connecticut Fiscal Year 1986 grant. This staffing level meets the “fully effective” benchmarks established for Connecticut for both safety and health.


(c) The plan only covers State and local government employers and employees within the State. For additional details about the plan, please visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/stateprogs/connecticut.html.


§ 1952.24 New York.

(a) The New York State plan for State and local government employees received initial approval from the Assistant Secretary on June 1, 1984.


(b) The plan, as revised on April 28, 2006, provides assurances of a fully trained, adequate staff, including 29 safety and 21 health compliance officers for enforcement inspections and 11 safety and 9 health consultants to perform consultation services in the public sector. The State has also given satisfactory assurances of continued adequate funding to support the plan.


(c) The plan only covers State and local government employers and employees within the State. For additional details about the plan, please visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/stateprogs/new_york.html.


§ 1952.25 New Jersey.

(a) The New Jersey State plan for State and local government employees received initial approval from the Assistant Secretary on January 11, 2001.


(b) The plan further provides assurances of a fully trained, adequate staff, including 20 safety and 7 health compliance officers for enforcement inspections, and 4 safety and 3 health consultants to perform consultation services in the public sector, and 2 safety and 3 health training and education staff. The State has assured that it will continue to provide a sufficient number of adequately trained and qualified personnel necessary for the enforcement of standards as required by 29 CFR 1956.10. The State has also given satisfactory assurance of adequate funding to support the plan.


(c) The plan only covers State and local government employers and employees within the State. For additional details about the plan, please visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/stateprogs/new_jersey.html.


§ 1952.26 The Virgin Islands.

(a) The Virgin Islands State plan for Public Employees Only was approved on July 23, 2003.


(b) The plan only covers State and local government employers and employees within the State. For additional details about the plan, please visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/stateprogs/virgin_islands.html.


§ 1952.27 Illinois.

(a) The Illinois State plan for state and local government employees received initial approval from the Assistant Secretary on September 1, 2009.


(b) The Plan further provides assurances of a fully trained, adequate staff within three years of plan approval, including 11 safety and 3 health compliance officers for enforcement inspections, and 3 safety and 2 health consultants to perform consultation services in the public sector. The state has assured that it will continue to provide a sufficient number of adequately trained and qualified personnel necessary for the enforcement of standards as required by 29 CFR 1956.10. The state has also given satisfactory assurance of adequate funding to support the Plan.


(c) The plan only covers State and local government employers and employees within the state. For additional details about the plan, please visit http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/stateprogs/illinois.html.


§ 1952.28 Maine.

(a) The Maine State Plan for State and local government employees received initial approval from the Assistant Secretary on August 5, 2015.


(b) The Plan further provides assurances of a fully trained, adequate staff within three years of plan approval, including 2 safety and 1 health compliance officers for enforcement inspections, and 3 safety and 1 health consultants to perform consultation services in the public sector. The State has assured that it will continue to provide a sufficient number of adequately trained and qualified personnel necessary for the enforcement of standards as required by 29 CFR 1956.10. The State has also given satisfactory assurance of adequate funding to support the Plan.


(c) The plan only covers State and local government employers and employees within the State. For additional details about the plan, please visit https://www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/stateprogs/maine.html.


[81 FR 6178, Feb. 5, 2016]


§ 1952.29 Massachusetts.

(a) The Massachusetts State Plan for State and local Government employees received initial approval from the Assistant Secretary on August 18, 2022.


(b) The Plan further provides assurances of a fully trained, adequate staff within three years of plan approval, including 8 safety and 3 health compliance officers for enforcement inspections, and 2 safety and 1 health consultants to perform consultation services in the public sector. The State has assured that it will continue to provide a sufficient number of adequately trained and qualified personnel necessary for the enforcement of standards as required by 29 CFR 1956.10. The State has also given satisfactory assurance of adequate funding to support the Plan.


(c) The plan only covers State and local government employers and employees within the State. For additional details about the plan, please visit https://www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/stateprogs/massachusetts.html.


[87 FR 50775, Aug. 18, 2022]


PART 1953 – CHANGES TO STATE PLANS


Authority:Sec. 18, 84 Stat. 1608 (29 U.S.C. 667); Secretary of Labor’s Order No. 1-2012 (77 FR 3912, Jan. 25, 2012).



Source:67 FR 60125, Sept. 25, 2002, unless otherwise noted.

§ 1953.1 Purpose and scope.

(a) This part implements the provisions of section 18 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (“OSH Act” or the “Act”) which provides for State plans for the development and enforcement of State occupational safety and health standards. These plans must meet the criteria in section 18(c) of the Act, and part 1902 of this chapter (for plans covering both private sector and State and local government employers) or part 1956 of this chapter (for plans covering only State and local government employers), either at the time of submission or – where the plan is developmental – within the three year period immediately following commencement of the plan’s operation. Approval of a State plan is based on a finding that the State has, or will have, a program, pursuant to appropriate State law, for the adoption and enforcement of State standards that is “at least as effective” as the Federal program.


(b) When submitting plans, the States provide assurances that they will continue to meet the requirements in section 18(c) of the Act and part 1902 or part 1956 of this chapter for a program that is “at least as effective” as the Federal. Such assurances are a fundamental basis for approval of plans. (See §§ 1902.3 and 1956.2 of this chapter.) From time to time after initial plan approval, States will need to make changes to their plans. This part establishes procedures for submission and review of State plan supplements documenting those changes that are necessary to fulfill the State’s assurances, the requirements of the Act, and part 1902 or part 1956 of this chapter.


(c) Changes to a plan may be initiated in several ways. In the case of a developmental plan, changes are required to document establishment of those necessary structural program components that were not in place at the time of plan approval. These commitments are included in a developmental schedule approved as part of the initial plan. These “developmental changes” must be completed within the three year period immediately following the commencement of operations under the plan. Another circumstance requiring subsequent changes to a State plan would be the need to keep pace with changes to the Federal program, or “Federal Program Changes.” A third situation would be when changes are required as a result of the continuing evaluation of the State program. Such changes are called “evaluation changes.” Finally, changes to a State program’s safety and health requirements or procedures initiated by the State without a Federal parallel could have an impact on the effectiveness of the State program. Such changes are called “State-initiated changes.” While requirements for submission of a plan supplement to OSHA differ depending on the type of change, all supplements are processed in accordance with the procedures in § 1953.6.


§ 1953.2 Definitions.

(a) OSHA means the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, or any representative authorized to perform any of the functions discussed in this part, as set out in implementing Instructions.


(b) State means an authorized representative of the agency designated to administer a State plan under § 1902.3(b) of this chapter.


(c) Plan change means any modification made by a State to its approved occupational safety and health State plan which has an impact on the plan’s effectiveness.


(d) Plan supplement means all documents necessary to accomplish, implement, describe and evaluate the effectiveness of a change to a State plan which differs from the parallel Federal legislation, regulation, policy or procedure. (This would include a copy of the complete legislation, regulation, policy or procedure adopted; an identification of each of the differences; and an explanation of how each provision is at least as effective as the comparable Federal provision.)


(e) Identical plan change means one in which the State adopts the same program provisions and documentation as the Federal program with the only differences being those modifications necessary to reflect a State’s unique structure (e.g., organizational responsibility within a State and corresponding titles or internal State numbering system). Different plan change means one in which the State adopts program provisions and documentation that are not identical as defined in this paragraph.


(g) Developmental change is a change made to a State plan which documents the completion of a program component which was not fully developed at the time of initial plan approval.


(h) Federal program change is a change made to a State plan when OSHA determines that an alteration in the Federal program could render a State program less effective than OSHA’s if it is not similarly modified.


(i) Evaluation change is a change made to a State plan when evaluations of a State program show that some substantive aspect of a State plan has an adverse impact on the implementation of the State’s program and needs revision.


(j) State-initiated change is a change made to a State plan which is undertaken at a State’s option and is not necessitated by Federal requirements.


§ 1953.3 General policies and procedures.

(a) Effectiveness of State plan changes under State law. Federal OSHA approval of a State plan under section 18(b) of the OSH Act in effect removes the barrier of Federal preemption, and permits the State to adopt and enforce State standards and other requirements regarding occupational safety or health issues regulated by OSHA. A State with an approved plan may modify or supplement the requirements contained in its plan, and may implement such requirements under State law, without prior approval of the plan change by Federal OSHA. Changes to approved State plans are subject to subsequent OSHA review. If OSHA finds reason to reject a State plan change, and this determination is upheld after an adjudicatory proceeding, the plan change would then be excluded from the State’s Federally-approved plan.


(b) Required State plan notifications and supplements. Whenever a State makes a change to its legislation, regulations, standards, or major changes to policies or procedures, which affect the operation of the State plan, the State shall provide written notification to OSHA. When the change differs from a corresponding Federal program component, the State shall submit a formal, written plan supplement. When the State adopts a provision which is identical to a corresponding Federal provision, written notification, but no formal plan supplement, is required. However, the State is expected to maintain the necessary underlying State document (e.g., legislation or standard) and to make it available for review upon request. All plan change supplements or required documentation must be submitted within 60 days of adoption of the change. Submission of all notifications and supplements may be in electronic format.


(c) Plan supplement availability. The underlying documentation for identical plan changes shall be maintained by the State. Annually, States shall submit updated copies of the principal documents comprising the plan, or appropriate page changes, to the extent that these documents have been revised. To the extent possible, plan documents will be maintained and submitted by the State in electronic format and also made available in such manner.


(d) Advisory opinions. Upon State request, OSHA may issue an advisory opinion on the approvability of a proposed change which differs from the Federal program prior to promulgation or adoption by the State and submission as a formal supplement.


(e) Alternative procedures. Upon reasonable notice to interested persons, the Assistant Secretary may prescribe additional or alternative procedures in order to expedite the review process or for any other good cause which may be consistent with the applicable laws.


[67 FR 60125, Sept. 25, 2002, as amended at 80 FR 49908, Aug. 18, 2015]


§ 1953.4 Submission of plan supplements.

(a) Developmental changes. (1) Sections 1902.2(b) and 1956.2(b) of this chapter require that each State with a developmental plan must set forth in its plan, as developmental steps, those changes which must be made to its initially-approved plan for its program to be at least as effective as the Federal program and a timetable for making these changes. The State must notify OSHA of a developmental change when it completes a developmental step or fails to meet any developmental step.


(2) If the completion of a developmental step is the adoption of a program component which is identical to the Federal program component, the State need only submit documentation, such as the cover page of an implementing directive or a notice of promulgation, that it has adopted the program component, within 60 days of adoption of the change, but must make the underlying documentation available for Federal and public review upon request.


(3) If the completion of a developmental step involves the adoption of policies or procedures which differ from the Federal program, the State must submit one copy of the required plan supplement within 60 days of adoption of the change.


(4) When a developmental step is missed, the State must submit a supplement which documents the impact on the program of the failure to complete the developmental step, an explanation of why the step was not completed on time and a revised timetable with a new completion date (generally not to exceed 90 days) and any other actions necessary to ensure completion. Where the State has an operational status agreement with OSHA under § 1954.3 of this Chapter, the State must provide an assurance that the missed step will not affect the effectiveness of State enforcement in any issues for which the State program has been deemed to be operational.


(5) If the State fails to submit the required documentation or supplement, as provided in § 1953.4(a)(2), (3) or (4), when the developmental step is scheduled for completion, OSHA shall notify the State that documentation or a supplement is required and set a timetable for submission of any required documentation or supplement, generally not to exceed 60 days.


(b) Federal Program changes. (1) When a significant change in the Federal program would have an adverse impact on the “at least as effective” status of the State program if a parallel State program modification were not made, State adoption of a change in response to the Federal program change shall be required. A Federal program change that would not result in any diminution of the effectiveness of a State plan compared to Federal OSHA generally would not require adoption by the State.


(2) Examples of significant changes to the Federal program that would normally require a State response would include a change in the Act, promulgation or revision of OSHA standards or regulations, or changes in policy or procedure of national importance. A Federal program change that only establishes procedures necessary to implement a new or established policy, standard or regulation does not require a State response, although the State would be expected to establish policies and procedures which are “at least as effective,” which must be available for review on request.


(3) When there is a change in the Federal program which requires State action, OSHA shall advise the States. This notification shall also contain a date by which States must adopt a corresponding change or submit a statement why a program change is not necessary. This date will generally be six months from the date of notification, except where the Assistant Secretary determines that the nature or scope of the change requires a different time frame, for example, a change requiring legislative action where a State has a biennial legislature or a policy of major national implications requiring a shorter implementing time frame. State notification of intent may be required prior to adoption.


(4) If the State change is different from the Federal program change, the State shall submit one copy of the required supplement within 60 days of State adoption. The supplement shall contain a copy of the relevant legislation, regulation, policy or procedure and documentation on how the change maintains the “at least as effective as” status of the plan.


(5) If the State adopts a change identical to the Federal program change, the State is not required to submit a supplement. However, the State shall provide documentation that it has adopted the change, such as the cover page of an implementing directive or a notice of promulgation, within 60 days of State adoption.


(6) The State may demonstrate why a program change is not necessary because the State program is already the same as or at least as effective as the Federal program change. Such submissions will require review and approval as set forth in § 1953.6.


(7) Where there is a change in the Federal program which does not require State action but is of sufficient national interest to warrant indication of State intent, the State may be required to provide such notification within a specified time frame.


(c) Evaluation changes. (1) Special and periodic evaluations of a State program by OSHA in cooperation with the State may show that some portion of a State plan has an adverse impact on the effectiveness of the State program and accordingly requires modification to the State’s underlying legislation, regulations, policy or procedures as an evaluation change. For example, OSHA could find that additional legislative or regulatory authority may be necessary to effectively pursue the State’s right of entry into workplaces, or to assure various employer rights.


(2) OSHA shall advise the State of any evaluation findings that require a change to the State plan and the reasons supporting this decision. This notification shall also contain a date by which the State must accomplish this change and submit either the change supplement or a timetable for its accomplishment and interim steps to assure continued program effectiveness, documentation of adoption of a program component identical to the Federal program component, or, as explained in paragraph (c)(5) of this section, a statement demonstrating why a program change is not necessary.


(3) If the State adopts a program component which differs from a corresponding Federal program component, the State shall submit one copy of a required supplement within 60 days of adoption of the change. The supplement shall contain a copy of the relevant legislation, regulation, policy or procedure and documentation on how the change maintains the “at least as effective as” status of the plan.


(4) If the State adopts a program component identical to a Federal program component, submission of a supplement is not required. However, the State shall provide documentation that it has adopted the change, such as the cover page of an implementing directive or a notice of promulgation, within 60 days of adoption of the change and shall retain all other documentation within the State available for review upon request.


(5) The State may demonstrate why a program change is not necessary because the State program is meeting the requirements for an “at least as effective” program. Such submission will require review and approval as set forth in § 1953.6.


(d) State-initiated changes. (1) A State-initiated change is any change to the State plan which is undertaken at a State’s option and is not necessitated by Federal requirements. State-initiated changes may include legislative, regulatory, administrative, policy or procedural changes which impact on the effectiveness of the State program.


(2) A State-initiated change supplement is required whenever the State takes an action not otherwise covered by this part that would impact on the effectiveness of the State program. The State shall notify OSHA as soon as it becomes aware of any change which could affect the State’s ability to meet the approval criteria in parts 1902 and 1956 of this chapter, e.g., changes to the State’s legislation, and submit a supplement within 60 days. Other State initiated supplements must be submitted within 60 days after the change occurred. The State supplement shall contain a copy of the relevant legislation, regulation, policy or procedure and documentation on how the change maintains the “at least as effective as” status of the plan. If the State fails to notify OSHA of the change or fails to submit the required supplement within the specified time period, OSHA shall notify the State that a supplement is required and set a time period for submission of the supplement, generally not to exceed 30 days.


§ 1953.5 Special provisions for standards changes.

(a) Permanent standards. (1) Where a Federal program change is a new permanent standard, or a more stringent amendment to an existing permanent standard, the State shall promulgate a State standard adopting such new Federal standard, or more stringent amendment to an existing Federal standard, or an at least as effective equivalent thereof, within six months of the date of promulgation of the new Federal standard or more stringent amendment. The State may demonstrate that a standard change is not necessary because the State standard is already the same as or at least as effective as the Federal standard change. In order to avoid delays in worker protection, the effective date of the State standard and any of its delayed provisions must be the date of State promulgation or the Federal effective date whichever is later. The Assistant Secretary may permit a longer time period if the State makes a timely demonstration that good cause exists for extending the time limitation. State permanent standards adopted in response to a new or revised Federal standard shall be submitted as a State plan supplement within 60 days of State promulgation in accordance with § 1953.4(b), Federal Program changes.


(2) Because a State may include standards and standards provisions in addition to Federal standards within an issue covered by an approved plan, it would generally be unnecessary for a State to revoke a standard when the comparable Federal standard is revoked or made less stringent. If the State does not adopt the Federal action, it need only provide notification of its intent to retain the existing State standard to OSHA within 6 months of the Federal promulgation date. If the State adopts a change to its standard parallel to the Federal action, it shall submit the appropriate documentation as provided in §§ 1953.4(b)(3) or (4) – Federal program changes. However, in the case of standards applicable to products used or distributed in interstate commerce where section 18(c)(2) of the Act imposes certain restrictions on State plan authority, the modification, revision, or revocation of the Federal standard may necessitate the modification, revision, or revocation of the comparable State standard unless the State standard is required by compelling local conditions and does not unduly burden interstate commerce.


(3) Where a State on its own initiative adopts a permanent State standard for which there is no Federal parallel, the State shall submit it within 60 days of State promulgation in accordance with § 1953.4(d) – State-initiated changes,


(b) Emergency temporary standards. (1) Immediately upon publication of an emergency temporary standard in the Federal Register, OSHA shall advise the States of the standard and that a Federal program change supplement shall be required. This notification must also provide that the State has 30 days after the date of promulgation of the Federal standard to adopt a State emergency temporary standard if the State plan covers that issue. The State may demonstrate that promulgation of an emergency temporary standard is not necessary because the State standard is already the same as or at least as effective as the Federal standard change. The State standard must remain in effect for the duration of the Federal emergency temporary standard which may not exceed six (6) months.


(2) Within 15 days after receipt of the notice of a Federal emergency temporary standard, the State shall advise OSHA of the action it will take. State standards shall be submitted in accordance with the applicable procedures in § 1953.4(b) – Federal Program Changes, except that the required documentation or plan supplement must be submitted within 5 days of State promulgation.


(3) If for any reason, a State on its own initiative adopts a State emergency temporary standard, it shall be submitted as a plan supplement in accordance with § 1953.4(c), but within 10 days of promulgation.


§ 1953.6 Review and approval of plan supplements.

(a) OSHA shall review a supplement to determine whether it is at least as effective as the Federal program and meets the criteria in the Act and implementing regulations and the assurances in the State plan. If the review reveals any defect in the supplement, or if more information is needed, OSHA shall offer assistance to the State and shall provide the State an opportunity to clarify or correct the change.


(b) If upon review, OSHA determines that the differences from a corresponding Federal component are purely editorial and do not change the substance of the policy or requirements on employers, it shall deem the change identical. This includes “plain language” rewrites of new Federal standards or previously approved State standards which do not change the meaning or requirements of the standard. OSHA will inform the State of this determination. No further review or Federal Register publication is required.


(c) Federal OSHA may seek public comment during its review of plan supplements. Generally, OSHA will seek public comment if a State program component differs significantly from the comparable Federal program component and OSHA needs additional information on its compliance with the criteria in section 18(c) of the Act, including whether it is at least as effective as the Federal program and in the case of a standard applicable to products used or distributed in interstate commerce, whether it is required by compelling local conditions or unduly burdens interstate commerce under section 18(c)(2) of the Act.


(d) If the plan change meets the approval criteria, OSHA shall approve it and shall thereafter publish a Federal Register notice announcing the approval. OSHA reserves the right to reconsider its decision should subsequent information be brought to its attention.


(e) If a State fails to submit a required supplement or if examination discloses cause for rejecting a submitted supplement, OSHA shall provide the State a reasonable time, generally not to exceed 30 days, to submit a revised supplement or to show cause why a proceeding should not be commenced either for rejection of the supplement or for failure to adopt the change in accordance with the procedures in § 1902.17 or Part 1955 of this chapter.


PART 1954 – PROCEDURES FOR THE EVALUATION AND MONITORING OF APPROVED STATE PLANS


Authority:Sec. 18, 84 Stat. 1608 (29 U.S.C. 667); Secretary of Labor’s Order No. 1-2012 (77 FR 3912, Jan. 25, 2012).


Source:39 FR 1838, Jan. 15, 1974, unless otherwise noted.

Subpart A – General

§ 1954.1 Purpose and scope.

(a) Section 18(f) of the Williams-Steiger Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (hereinafter referred to as the Act) provides that “the Secretary shall, on the basis of reports submitted by the State agency and his own inspections make a continuing evaluation of the manner in which each State having a plan approved * * * is carrying out such plan.”


(b) This part 1954 applies to the provisions of section 18(f) of the Act relating to the evaluation of approved plans for the development and enforcement of State occupational safety and health standards. The provisions of this part 1954 set forth the policies and procedures by which the Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health (hereinafter referred to as the Assistant Secretary) under a delegation of authority from the Secretary of Labor (Secretary’s Order 12-71, 36 FR 8754, May 12, 1971) will continually monitor and evaluate the operation and administration of approved State plans.


(c) Following approval of a State plan under section 18(c) of the Act, workplaces in the State are subject to a period of concurrent Federal and State authority. The period of concurrent enforcement authority must last for at least three years. Before ending Federal enforcement authority, the Assistant Secretary is required to make a determination as to whether the State plan, in actual operation, is meeting the criteria in section 18(c) of the Act including the requirements in part 1902 of this chapter and the assurances in the approval plan itself. After an affirmative determination has been made, the provisions of sections 5(a)(2), 8 (except for the purpose of carrying out section 18(f) of the Act), 9, 10, 13, and 17 of the Act shall not apply with respect to any occupational safety or health issues covered under the plan. The Assistant Secretary may, however, retain jurisdiction under the above provisions in any proceeding commenced under section 9 or 10 of the Act before the date of the determination under section 18(e) of the Act.


(d) During this period of concurrent Federal and State authority, the operation and administration of the plan will be continually evaluated under section 18(f) of the Act. This evaluation will continue even after an affirmative determination has been made under section 18(e) of the Act.


§ 1954.2 Monitoring system.

(a) To carry out the responsibilities for continuing evaluation of State plans under section 18(f) of the Act, the Assistant Secretary has established a State Program Performance Monitoring System. Evaluation under this monitoring system encompasses both the period before and after a determination has been made under section 18(e) of the Act. The monitoring system is a three phased system designed to assure not only that developmental steps are completed and that the operational plan is, in fact, at least as effective as the Federal program with respect to standards and enforcement, but also to provide a method for continuing review of the implementation of the plan and any modifications thereto to assure compliance with the provisions of the plan during the time the State participates in the cooperative Federal-State program.


(b) Phase I of the system begins with the initial approval of a State plan and continues until the determination required by section 18(e) of the Act is made. During Phase I, the Assistant Secretary will secure monitoring data to make the following key decisions:


(1) What should be the level of Federal enforcement;


(2) Should plan approval be continued; and


(3) What level of technical assistance is needed by the State to enable it to have an effective program.


(c) Phase II of the system relates to the determination required by section 18(e) of the Act. The Assistant Secretary must decide, after no less than three years following approval of the plan, whether or not to relinquish Federal authority to the State for issues covered by the occupational safety and health program in the State plan. Phase II will be a comprehensive evaluation of the total State program, drawing upon all information collected during Phase I.


(d) Phase III of the system begins after an affirmative determination has been made under section 18(e) of the Act. The continuing evaluation responsibility will be exercised under Phase III, and will provide data concerning the total operations of a State program to enable the Assistant Secretary to determine whether or not the plan approval should be continued or withdrawn.


(e) The State program performance monitoring system provides for, but is not limited to, the following major data inputs:


(1) Quarterly and annual reports of State program activity;


(2) Visits to State agencies;


(3) On-the-job evaluation of State compliance officers; and


(4) Investigation of complaints about State program administration.


§ 1954.3 Exercise of Federal discretionary authority.

(a)(1) When a State plan is approved under section 18(c) of the Act, Federal authority for enforcement of standards continues in accordance with section 18(e) of the Act. That section prescribes a period of concurrent Federal-State enforcement authority which must last for at least three years, after which time the Assistant Secretary shall make a determination whether, based on actual operations, the State plan meets all the criteria set forth in section 18(c) of the Act and the implementing regulations in 29 CFR part 1902 and subpart A of 29 CFR part 1952. During this period of concurrent authority, the Assistant Secretary may, but shall not be required to, exercise his authority under sections 5(a)(2), 8, 9, 10, 13 and 17 of the Act with respect to standards promulgated under section 6 of the Act where the State has comparable standards. Accordingly, section 18(e) authorizes, but does not require, the Assistant Secretary to exercise his discretionary enforcement authority over all the issues covered by a State plan for the entire 18(e) period.


(2) Existing regulations at 29 CFR part 1902 set forth factors to be considered in determining how Federal enforcement authority should be exercised. These factors include:


(i) Whether the plan is developmental or complete;


(ii) Results of evaluations conducted by the Assistant Secretary;


(iii) The State’s schedule for meeting Federal standards; and


(iv) Any other relevant matters.


(29 CFR 1902.1(c)(2) and 1902.20(b)(1)(iii).

(3) Other relevant matters requiring consideration in the decision as to the level of Federal enforcement include:


(i) Coordinated utilization of Federal and State resources to provide effective worker protection throughout the Nation;


(ii) Necessity for clarifying the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees with respect to Federal and State authority;


(iii) Increasing responsibility for administration and enforcement by States under an approved plan for evaluation of their effectiveness; and


(iv) The need to react promptly to any failure of the States in providing effective enforcement of standards.


(b) Guidelines for determining the appropriate level of Federal enforcement. In light of the requirements of 29 CFR part 1902 as well as the factors mentioned in paragraph (a)(3) of this section, the following guidelines for the extent of the exercise of discretionary Federal authority have been determined to be reasonable and appropriate. When a State plan meets all of these guidelines it will be considered operational, and the State will conduct all enforcement activity including inspections in response to employee complaints, in all issues where the State is operational. Federal enforcement activity will be reduced accordingly and the emphasis will be placed on monitoring State activity in accordance with the provisions of this part.


(1) Enabling legislation. A State with an approved plan must have enacted enabling legislation substantially in conformance with the requirements of section 18(c) and 29 CFR part 1902 in order to be considered operational. This legislation must have been reviewed and approved under 29 CFR part 1902. States without such legislation, or where State legislation as enacted requires substantial amendments to meet the requirements of 29 CFR part 1902, will not be considered operational.


(2) Approved State standards. The State must have standards promulgated under State law which are identical to Federal standards; or have been found to be at least as effective as the comparable Federal standards; or have been reviewed by OSHA and found to provide overall protection equal to comparable Federal standards. Review of the effectiveness of State standards and their enforcement will be a continuing function of the evaluation process. Where State standards in an issue have not been promulgated by the State or have been promulgated and found not to provide overall protection equal to comparable Federal standards, the State will not be considered operational as to those issues.


(3) Personnel. The State must have a sufficient number of qualified personnel who are enforcing the standards in accordance with the State’s enabling legislation. Where a State lacks the qualified personnel to enforce in a particular issue; e.g., Occupational Health, the State will not be considered operational as to that issue even though it has enabling legislation and standards.


(4) Review of enforcement actions. Provisions for review of State citations and penalties, including the appointment of the reviewing authority and the promulgation of implementing regulations, must be in effect.


(c)(1) Evaluation reports. One of the factors to consider in determining the level of Federal enforcement is the result of evaluations conducted under the monitoring system described in this part. While completion of an initial comprehensive evaluation of State operations is not generally a prerequisite for a determination that a State is operational under paragraph (b) of this section, such evaluations will be used in determining the Federal enforcement responsibility in certain circumstances.


(2) Where evaluations have been completed prior to the time a determination as to the operational status of a State plan is made, the results of those evaluations will be included in the determination.


(3) Where the results of one or more evaluations conducted during the operation of a State plan and prior to an 18(e) determination reveal that actual operations as to one or more aspects of the plan fail in a substantial manner to be at least as effective as the Federal program, and the State does not adequately resolve the deficiencies in accordance with subpart C of part 1953, the appropriate level of Federal enforcement activity shall be reinstated. An example of such deficiency would be a finding that State standards and their enforcement in an issue are not at least as effective as comparable Federal standards and their enforcement. Federal enforcement activity may also be reinstated where the Assistant Secretary determines that such action is necessary to assure occupational safety and health protection to employees.


(d)(1) Recognition of State procedures. In order to resolve potential conflicting responsibilities of employers and employees, Federal authority will be exercised in a manner designed to recognize the implementation of State procedures in accordance with approved plans in areas such as variances, informing employees of their rights and obligations, and recordkeeping and reporting requirements.


(i) Subject to pertinent findings of effectiveness under this part, Federal enforcement proceedings will not be initiated where an employer is in compliance with a State standard which has been found to be at least as effective as the comparable Federal standard, or with any temporary or permanent variance granted to such employer with regard to the employment or place of employment from such State standard, or any order or interim order in connection therewith, or any modification or extension thereof: Provided such variance action was taken under the terms and procedures required under § 1902.4(b)(2)(iv) of this chapter, and the employer has certified that he has not filed for such variance on the same set of facts with the Assistant Secretary.


(ii) Subject to pertinent findings of effectiveness under this part, and approval under part 1953 of this chapter, Federal enforcement proceedings will not be initiated where an employer has posted the approved State poster in accordance with the applicable provisions of an approved State plan and § 1902.9 of this chapter.


(iii) Subject to pertinent findings of effectiveness under this part, and approval under part 1953 of this chapter, Federal enforcement proceedings will not be initiated where an employer is in compliance with the recordkeeping and reporting requirements of an approved State plan as provided in § 1902.7 of this chapter.


(2) [Reserved]


(e) Discrimination complaints. State plan provisions on employee discrimination do not divest the Secretary of Labor of any authority under section 11(c) of the Act. The Federal authority to investigate discrimination complaints exists even after an affirmative 18(e) determination. (See South Carolina decision 37 FR 25932, December 6, 1972). Employee complaints alleging discrimination under section 11(c) of the Act will be subject to Federal jurisdiction.


(f)(1) Procedural agreements. A determination as to the operational status of a State plan shall be accompanied by an agreement with the State setting forth the Federal-State responsibilities as follows:


(i) Scope of the State’s operational status including the issues excluded from the plan, the issues where State enforcement will not be operational at the time of the agreement and the dates for commencement of operations;


(ii) Procedures for referral, investigation and enforcement of employee requests for inspections;


(iii) Procedures for reporting fatalities and catastrophes by the agency which has received the report to the responsible enforcing authority both where the State has and has not adopted the requirement that employers report as provided in 29 CFR 1904.8;


(iv) Specifications as to when and by what means the operational guidelines of this section were met; and


(v) Provision for resumption of Federal enforcement activity for failure to substantially comply with this agreement, or as a result of evaluation or other relevant factors.


(2) Upon approval of these agreements, the Assistant Secretary shall cause to be published in the Federal Register, notice of the operational status of each approved State plan.


(3) Where subsequent changes in the level of Federal enforcement are made, similar Federal Register notices shall be published.


[39 FR 22126, June 20, 1974, as amended at 39 FR 29182, Aug. 14, 1974; 39 FR 39036, Nov. 5, 1974; 40 FR 25450, June 16, 1975; 67 FR 60129, Sept. 25, 2002; 80 FR 49908, Aug. 18, 2015]


Subpart B – State Monitoring Reports and Visits to State Agencies

§ 1954.10 Reports from the States.

(a) In addition to any other reports required by the Assistant Secretary under sections 18(c)(8) and 18(f) of the Act and § 1902.3(1) of this chapter, the State shall submit quarterly and annual reports as part of the evaluation and monitoring of State programs.
1




1 Such quarterly and annual reports forms may be obtained from the Office of the Assistant Regional Director in whose Region the State is located.


(b) Each State with an approved State plan shall submit to the appropriate Regional Office an annual occupational safety and health report in the form and detail provided for in the report and the instructions contained therein.


(c) Each State with an approved State plan shall submit to the appropriate Regional Office a quarterly occupational safety and health compliance and standards activity report in the form and detail provided for in the report and the instructions contained therein.


§ 1954.11 Visits to State agencies.

As a part of the continuing monitoring and evaluation process, the Assistant Secretary or his representative shall conduct visits to the designated agency or agencies of State with approved plans at least every 6 months. An opportunity may also be provided for discussion and comments on the effectiveness of the State plan from other interested persons. These visits will be scheduled as needed. Periodic audits will be conducted to assess the progress of the overall State program in meeting the goal of becoming at least as effective as the Federal program. These audits will include case file review and follow-up inspections of workplaces.


Subpart C – Complaints About State Program Administration (CASPA)

§ 1954.20 Complaints about State program administration.

(a) Any interested person or representative of such person or groups of persons may submit a complaint concerning the operation or administration of any aspect of a State plan. The complaint may be submitted orally or in writing to the Assistant Regional Director for Occupational Safety and Health (hereinafter referred to as the Assistant Regional Director) or his representative in the Region where the State is located.


(b) Any such complaint should describe the grounds for the complaint and specify the aspect or aspects of the administration or operation of the plan which is believed to be inadequate. A pattern of delays in processing cases, of inadequate workplace inspections, or the granting of variances without regard to the specifications in the State plans, are examples.


(c)(1) If upon receipt of the complaint, the Assistant Regional Director determines that there are reasonable grounds to believe that an investigation should be made, he shall cause such investigation, including any workplace inspection, to be made as soon as practicable.


(2) In determining whether an investigation shall be conducted and in determining the timing of such investigation, the Assistant Regional Director shall consider such factors as:


(i) The extent to which the complaint affects any substantial number of persons;


(ii) The number of complaints received on the same or similar issues and whether the complaints relate to safety and health conditions at a particular establishment;


(iii) Whether the complainant has exhausted applicable State remedies; and


(iv) The extent to which the subject matter of the complaint is pertinent to the effectuation of Federal policy.


§ 1954.21 Processing and investigating a complaint.

(a) Upon receipt of a complaint about State program administration, the Assistant Regional Director will acknowledge its receipt and may forward a copy of the complaint to the designee under the State plan and to such other person as may be necessary to complete the investigation. The complainant’s name and the names of other complainants mentioned therein will be deleted from the complaint and the names shall not appear in any record published, released or made available.


(b) In conducting the investigation, the Assistant Regional Director may obtain such supporting information as is appropriate to the complaint. Sources for this additional information may include “spot-check” follow-up inspections of workplaces, review of the relevant State files, and discussion with members of the public, employers, employees and the State.


(c) On the basis of the information obtained through the investigation, the Assistant Regional Director shall advise the complainant of the investigation findings and in general terms, any corrective action that may result. A copy of such notification shall be sent to the State and it shall be considered part of the evaluation of the State plan.


(d) If the Assistant Regional Director determines that there are no reasonable grounds for an investigation to be made with respect to a complaint under this Subpart, he shall notify the complaining party in writing of such determination. Upon request of the complainant, or the State, the Assistant Regional Director, at his discretion, may hold an informal conference. After considering all written and oral views presented the Assistant Regional Director shall affirm, modify, or reverse his original determination and furnish the complainant with written notification of his decision and the reasons therefore. Where appropriate the State may also receive such notification.


§ 1954.22 Notice provided by State.

(a)(1) In order to assure that employees, employers, and members of the public are informed of the procedures for complaints about State program administration, each State with an approved State plan shall adopt not later than July 1, 1974, a procedure not inconsistent with these regulations or the Act, for notifying employees, employers and the public of their right to complain to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration about State program administration.


(2) Such notification may be by posting of notices in the workplace as part of the requirement in § 1902.4(c)(2)(iv) of this chapter and other appropriate sources of information calculated to reach the public.


(b) [Reserved]


PART 1955 – PROCEDURES FOR WITHDRAWAL OF APPROVAL OF STATE PLANS


Authority:Secs. 8 and 18, 84 Stat. 1608 (29 U.S.C. 657, 667); Secretary of Labor’s Order No. 1-2012 (77 FR 3912, Jan. 25, 2012).


Source:40 FR 23467, May 30, 1975, unless otherwise noted.

Subpart A – General

§ 1955.1 Purpose and scope.

(a) This part contains rules of practice and procedure for formal administrative proceedings on the withdrawal of initial or final approval of State plans in accordance with section 18(f) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 667).


(b) These rules shall be construed to secure a prompt and just conclusion of the proceedings subject thereto.


§ 1955.2 Definitions.

(a) As used in this part unless the context clearly requires otherwise:


(1) Act means the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970;


(2) Assistant Secretary means Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health;


(3) Commencement of a case under section 18(f) of the Act means, for the purpose of determining State jurisdiction following a final decision withdrawing approval of a plan, the issuance of a citation.


(4) Developmental step includes, but is not limited to, those items listed in the published developmental schedule, or any revisions thereto, for each plan. A developmental step also includes those items in the plan as approved under section 18(c) of the Act, as well as those items in the approval decision which are subject to evaluations (see e.g., approval of Michigan plan), which were deemed necessary to make the State program at least as effective as the Federal program within the 3 year developmental period. (See part 1953 of this chapter.)


(5) Final approval means approval of the State plan, or any modification thereof under section 18(e) of the Act and subpart D of 29 CFR part 1902.


(6) Initial approval means approval of a State plan, or any modification thereof under section 18(c) of the Act and subpart C of 29 CFR part 1902;


(7) Party includes the State agency or agencies designated to administer and enforce the State plan that is the subject of withdrawal proceedings, the Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (hereinafter called OSHA), represented by the Office of the Solicitor and any person participating in the proceedings pursuant to § 1955.17;


(8) Person means an individual, partnership, association, corporation, business trust, legal representative, an organized group of individuals, or an agency, authority, or instrumentality of the United States or of a State;


(9) Secretary means Secretary of Labor;


(10) Separable portion of a plan for purposes of withdrawal of approval generally means an issue as defined in 29 CFR 1902.2(c), i.e., “an industrial, occupational or hazard grouping which is at least as comprehensive as a corresponding grouping contained in (i) one or more sections in subpart B or R of part 1910 of this chapter, or (ii) one or more of the remaining subparts of part 1910”: Provided, That wherever the Assistant Secretary has determined that other industrial, occupational or hazard groupings are administratively practicable, such groupings shall be considered separable portions of a plan.


(b) [Reserved]


[40 FR 23467, May 30, 1975, as amended at 67 FR 60129, Sept. 25, 2002; 80 FR 49908, Aug. 18, 2015]


§ 1955.3 General policy.

(a) The following circumstances shall be cause for initiation of proceedings under this part for withdrawal of approval of a State plan, or any portion thereof.


(1) Whenever the Assistant Secretary determines that under § 1902.2(b) of this chapter a State has not substantially completed the developmental steps of its plan at the end of three years from the date of commencement of operations, a withdrawal proceeding shall be instituted. Examples of a lack of substantial completion of developmental steps include but are not limited to the following:


(i) A failure to develop the necessary regulations and administrative guidelines for an “at least as effective” enforcement program;


(ii) Failure to promulgate all or a majority of the occupational safety and health standards in an issue covered by the plan; or


(iii) Failure to enact the required enabling legislation.


(2) Whenever the Assistant Secretary determines that there is no longer a reasonable expectation that a State plan will meet the criteria of § 1902.3 of this chapter involving the completion of developmental steps within the three year period immediately following commencement of operations, a withdrawal proceeding shall be instituted. Examples of a lack of reasonable expectation include but are not limited to the following:


(i) A failure to enact enabling legislation in the first two years following commencement of operations where the remaining developmental steps are dependent on the passage of enabling legislation and cannot be completed within one year; or


(ii) Repeal or substantial amendment of the enabling legislation by the State legislature so that the State program fails to meet the criteria in § 1902.3 of this chapter; or


(iii) Inability to complete the developmental steps within the indicated three year period.


(3) Whenever the Assistant Secretary determines that in the operation or administration of a State plan, or as a result of any modifications to a plan, there is a failure to comply substantially with any provision of the plan, including assurances contained in the plan, a withdrawal proceeding shall be instituted in a State which has received final approval under section 18(e) of the Act, and may be instituted in a State which has received initial approval under section 18(c) of the Act. Examples of a lack of substantial compliance include but are not limited to the following:


(i) Where a State over a period of time consistently fails to provide effective enforcement of standards;


(ii) Where the rights of employees are circumscribed in such a manner as to diminish the effectiveness of the program;


(iii) Where a State, without good cause, fails to continue to maintain its program in accordance with the appropriate changes in the Federal program;


(iv) Where a State fails to comply with the required assurances on a sufficient number of qualified personnel and/or adequate resources for administration and enforcement of the program; or


(v) Where, on the basis of actual operations, the Assistant Secretary determines that the criteria in section 18(c) of the Act are not being met, that the period of concurrent authority under section 18(e) of the Act should not be extended, and that final approval under section 18(e) of the Act should not be given.


(b) A State may, at any time both before or after a determination under section 18(e) of the Act, voluntarily withdraw its plan, or any portion thereof, by notifying the Assistant Secretary in writing setting forth the reasons for such withdrawal. Such notification shall be accompanied by a letter terminating the application for related grants authorized under section 23(g) of the Act in accordance with 29 CFR 1951.25(d). Upon receipt of the State notice the Assistant Secretary shall cause to be published in the Federal Register a notice of withdrawal of approval of the State plan or portion thereof (see Montana notice 39 FR 2361, June 27, 1974).


(c) Approval of a portion of a plan may be withdrawn under any of the paragraphs in this section when it is determined that that portion is reasonably separable from the remainder of the plan in a manner consistent with the provisions in § 1902.2(c) of this chapter defining the scope of a State plan. As an example, such a partial withdrawal of approval would be considered appropriate where a State fails to adopt, without good cause shown, Federal standards within a separable issue, such as occupational health.


[40 FR 23467, May 30, 1975, as amended at 67 FR 60129, Sept. 25, 2002]


§ 1955.4 Effect of withdrawal of approval.

(a) After receipt of notice of withdrawal of approval of a State plan, such plan, or any part thereof, shall cease to be in effect and the provisions of the Federal Act shall apply within that State. But the State, in accordance with section 18(f) of the Act, may retain jurisdiction in any case commenced before receipt of the notice of withdrawal of approval of the plan, in order to enforce standards under the plan, whenever the issues involved in the case or cases pending do not relate to the reasons for withdrawal of the plan.


(b) Such notice of withdrawal of approval shall operate constructively as notice of termination of all related grants authorized under section 23(g) of the Act in accordance with 29 CFR 1951.25(c).


§ 1955.5 Petitions for withdrawal of approval.

(a) At any time following the initial approval of a State plan under section 18(c) of the Act, any interested person may petition the Assistant Secretary in writing to initiate proceedings for withdrawal of approval of the plan under section 18(f) of the Act and this part. The petition shall contain a statement of the grounds for initiating a withdrawal proceeding, including facts to support the petition.


(b)(1) The Assistant Secretary may request the petitioner for additional facts and may take such other actions as are considered appropriate such as:


(i) Publishing the petition for public comment;


(ii) Holding informal discussion on the issues raised by the petition with the State and other persons affected; or


(iii) Holding an informal hearing in accordance with § 1902.13 of this chapter.


(2) Any such petition shall be considered and acted upon within a reasonable time. Prompt notice shall be given of the denial in whole or in part of any petition and the notice shall be accompanied by a brief statement of the grounds for the denial. A denial of a petition does not preclude future action on those issues or any other issues raised regarding a State plan.


Subpart B – Notice of Formal Proceeding

§ 1955.10 Publication of notice of formal proceeding.

(a) The Assistant Secretary, prior to any notice of a formal proceeding under this subpart, shall by letter, provide the State with an opportunity to show cause within 45 days why a proceeding should not be instituted for withdrawal of approval of a plan or any portion thereof. When a State fails to show cause why a formal proceeding for withdrawal of approval should not be instituted, the State shall be deemed to have waived its right to a formal proceeding under paragraph (b) of this section and the Assistant Secretary shall cause to be published in the Federal Register a notice of withdrawal of approval of the State plan.


(b)(1) Whenever the Assistant Secretary, on the basis of a petition under § 1955.5 or on his own initiative, determines that approval of a State plan or any portion thereof should be withdrawn, and the State has not waived its right under § 1955.3(b) or paragraph (a) of this section to a formal proceeding, he shall publish a notice of proposed withdrawal in the Federal Register as set out in § 1955.11 and cause such notice, in the form of a complaint, to be served on the State in accordance with § 1955.15.


(2) Not later than 5 days following the publication of the notice in the Federal Register, the State agency shall publish, or cause to be published, within the State reasonable notice containing a summary of the information in the Federal notice, as well as the location or locations where a copy of the full notice is available for inspection and public copying.


(3) Two copies of such notice shall be served on the Assistant Secretary in accordance with § 1955.15.


(c) Not less than 30 days following publication of the notice in the Federal Register, the State shall submit a statement of those items in the notice which are being contested and a brief statement of the facts relied upon, including whether the use of witnesses is intended. This statement shall be served on the Assistant Secretary in accordance with § 1955.15. When a State fails to respond to the notice of proposed withdrawal under paragraph (b)(1) of this section, the State shall be deemed to have waived its right to a formal proceeding and the Assistant Secretary shall cause to be published in the Federal Register a notice of withdrawal of approval.


§ 1955.11 Contents of notice of formal proceeding.

(a) A notice of a formal proceeding published under § 1955.10 shall include:


(1) A statement on the nature of the proceeding and addresses for filing all papers;


(2) The legal authority under which the proceeding is to be held;


(3) A description of the issues and the grounds for the Assistant Secretary’s proposed withdrawal of approval;


(4) A specified period, generally not less than 30 days after publication of the notice in the Federal Register, for the State to submit a response to the statement of issues in the notice;


(5) A provision for designation of an administrative law judge under 5 U.S.C. 3105 to preside over the proceeding.


(b) A copy of the notice of the proceeding stating the basis for the Assistant Secretary’s determination that approval of the plan, or any portion thereof, should be withdrawn shall be referred to the administrative law judge.


§ 1955.12 Administrative law judge; powers and duties.

(a) The administrative law judge appointed under 5 U.S.C. 3105 and designated by the Chief Administrative Law Judge to preside over a proceeding shall have all powers necessary and appropriate to conduct a fair, full, and impartial proceeding, including the following:


(1) To administer oaths and affirmations;


(2) To rule upon offers of proof and receive relevant evidence;


(3) To provide for discovery, including the issuance of subpoenas authorized by section 8(b) of the Act and 5 U.S.C. 555(d) and 556(c)(2), and to determine the scope and time limits of the discovery;


(4) To regulate the course of the proceeding and the conduct of the parties and their counsel;


(5) To consider and rule upon procedural requests, e.g. motions for extension of time;


(6) To hold preliminary conferences for the settlement or simplification of issues;


(7) To take official notice of material facts not appearing in the evidence in the record in accordance with § 1955.40(c);


(8) To render an initial decision;


(9) To examine and cross-examine witnesses;


(10) To take any other appropriate action authorized by the Act, the implementing regulations, or the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 554-557 (hereinafter called the APA).


(b) On any procedural question not otherwise regulated by this part, the Act, or the APA, the administrative law judge shall be guided to the extent practicable by the pertinent provisions of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.


§ 1955.13 Disqualification.

(a) If an administrative law judge deems himself disqualified to preside over a particular proceeding, he shall withdraw by notice on the record directed to the Chief Administrative Law Judge. Any party who deems an administrative law judge, for any reason, to be disqualified to preside, or to continue to preside, over a particular proceeding may file a motion to disqualify and remove the administrative law judge, provided the motion is filed prior to the time the administrative law judge files his decision. Such motion must be supported by affidavits setting forth the alleged ground for disqualification. The Chief Administrative Law Judge shall rule upon the motion.


(b) Contumacious conduct at any proceeding before the administrative law judge shall be ground for summary exclusion from the proceeding. If a witness or party refuses to answer a question after being so directed, or refuses to obey an order to provide or permit discovery, the administrative law judge may make such orders with regard to the refusal as are just and proper, including the striking of all testimony previously given by such witness on related matters.


§ 1955.14 Ex parte communications.

(a) Except to the extent required for the disposition of ex parte matters, the administrative law judge shall not consult any interested person or party or their representative on any fact in issue or on the merits of any matter before him except upon notice and opportunity for all parties to participate.


(b)(1) Written or oral communications from interested persons outside the Department of Labor involving any substantive or procedural issues in a proceeding directed to the administrative law judge, the Secretary of Labor, the Assistant Secretary, the Associate Assistant Secretary for Regional Programs, the Solicitor of Labor, or the Associate Solicitor for Occupational Safety and Health, or their staffs shall be deemed ex parte communications and are not to be considered part of any record or the basis for any official decision, unless the communication is made by motion to the administrative law judge and served upon all the parties.


(2) To facilitate implementation of this requirement, the above-mentioned offices shall keep a log of such communications which shall be made available to the public and which may, by motion, be entered into the record.


(c) No employee or agent of the Department of Labor engaged in the investigation or presentation of the withdrawal proceeding governed by this part shall participate or advise in the initial or final decision, except as a witness or counsel in the proceeding.


§ 1955.15 Manner of service and filing.

(a) Service of any document upon any party may be made by personal delivery of, or by mailing a copy of the document by certified mail, to the last known address of the party or his representative. The person serving the document shall certify to the manner and date of service.


(b) In addition to serving a copy of any documents upon the parties, the original and two copies of each document shall be filed with the administrative law judge. With respect to exhibits and transcripts, only originals or certified copies need be filed.


§ 1955.16 Time.

Computation of any period of time under these rules shall begin with the first business day following that on which the act, event or development initiating such period of time shall have occurred. When the last day of the period so computed is a Saturday, Sunday, or national holiday, or other day on which the Department of Labor is closed, the period shall run until the end of the next following business day. When such period of time is 7 days or less, each of the Saturdays, Sundays, and such holidays shall be excluded from the computation.


§ 1955.17 Determination of parties.

(a) The designated State agency or agencies and the Department of Labor, OSHA, shall be the initial parties to the proceedings. Other interested persons may, at the discretion of the administrative law judge, be granted the right to participate as parties if he determines that the final decision could substantially affect them or the class they represent or that they may contribute materially to the disposition of the proceedings.


(b)(1) Any person wishing to participate in any proceeding as a party under paragraph (a) of this section shall submit a petition to the administrative law judge within 30 days after the notice of such proceeding has been published in the Federal Register. The petition shall also be served upon the other parties. Such petition shall concisely state:


(i) Petitioner’s interest in the proceeding;


(ii) How his participation as a party will contribute materially to the disposition of the proceeding;


(iii) Who will appear for petitioner;


(iv) The issue or issues as set out in the notice published under § 1955.10 of this part on which petitioner wishes to participate; and


(v) Whether petitioner intends to present witnesses.


(2) The administrative law judge shall, within 5 days of receipt of the petition, ascertain what objections, if any, there are to the petition. He shall then determine whether the petitioner is qualified in his judgment to be a party in the proceedings and shall permit or deny participation accordingly. The administrative law judge shall give each petitioner written notice of the decision on his petition promptly. If the petition is denied, the notice shall briefly state the grounds for denial. Persons whose petition for party participation is denied may appeal the decision to the Secretary within 5 days of receipt of the notice of denial. The Secretary will make the final decision to grant or deny the petition no later than 20 days following receipt of the appeal.


(3) Where the petitions to participate as parties are made by individuals or groups with common interests, the administrative law judge may require all such petitioners to designate a single representative, or he may recognize one or more of such petitioners to represent all such petitioners.


§ 1955.18 Provision for written comments.

Any person who is not a party may submit a written statement of position with 4 copies to either the Assistant Secretary or the State at any time during the proceeding which statement shall be made available to all parties and may be introduced into evidence by a party. Mere statements of approval or opposition to the plan without any documentary support shall not be considered as falling within this provision.


Subpart C – Consent Findings and Summary Decisions

§ 1955.20 Consent findings and orders.

(a)(1) At any time during the proceeding a reasonable opportunity may be afforded to permit negotiation by the parties of an agreement containing consent findings and a rule or order disposing of the whole or any part of the proceeding. The allowance of such opportunity and the duration thereof shall be in the discretion of the administrative law judge, after consideration of the requirements of section 18 of the Act, the nature of the proceeding, the requirements of the public interest, the representations of the parties, and the probability of an agreement which will result in a just disposition of the issues.


(2) Any agreement containing consent findings and a rule or order disposing of a proceeding shall also provide:


(i) That the rule or order shall have the same force and effect as if made after a full hearing;


(ii) A waiver of any further procedural steps before the administrative law judge and the Secretary; and


(iii) A waiver of any right to challenge or contest the validity of the findings and of the rule or order made in accordance with the agreement.


(b)(1) On or before the expiration of the time granted for negotiations, the parties or their counsel may:


(i) Submit the proposed agreement to the administrative law judge for his consideration; or


(ii) Inform the administrative law judge that agreement cannot be reached.


(2) In the event an agreement containing consent findings and a rule or order is submitted within the time allowed therefor, the administrative law judge may accept such agreement by issuing his decision based upon the agreed findings. Such decision shall be published in the Federal Register.


§ 1955.21 Motion for a summary decision.

(a)(1) Any party may move, with or without supporting affidavits, for a summary decision on all or any part of the proceeding. Any other party may, within 10 days after service of the motion, serve opposing affidavits or file a cross motion for summary decision. The administrative law judge may, in his discretion, set the matter for argument and call for submission of briefs. The filing of any documents under this section shall be with the administrative law judge and copies of any such document shall be served on all the parties.


(2) The administrative law judge may grant such motion if the pleadings, affidavits, material obtained by discovery or otherwise obtained, or matters officially noticed, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that a party is entitled to summary decision. Affidavits shall set forth such facts as would be admissible in evidence in the hearing and shall show affirmatively that the affiant is competent to testify to the matters stated therein. When a motion for summary decision is made and supported as provided in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, the party opposing the motion may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of his pleading; his response must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue of fact for the hearing.


(3) Should it appear from the affidavits of a party opposing the motion that he cannot, for reasons stated, present by affidavit facts essential to justify his opposition, the administrative law judge may refuse the application for summary decision or may order a continuance to permit affidavits to be obtained, or depositions to be taken, or discovery to be had, or may make such other order as is just.


(b)(1) The denial of all or any part of a motion or cross motion for summary decision by the administrative law judge shall not be subject to interlocutory appeal to the Secretary unless the administrative law judge certifies in writing:


(i) That the ruling involves an important question of law or policy as to which there is substantial ground for difference of opinion; and


(ii) That an immediate appeal from the ruling may materially advance the ultimate termination of the proceeding.


(2) The allowance of such an interlocutory appeal shall not stay the proceeding before the administrative law judge unless the Secretary so orders.


§ 1955.22 Summary decision.

(a)(1) Where no genuine issue of material fact is found to have been raised, the administrative law judge shall issue an initial decision to become final 30 days after service thereof upon each party unless, within those 30 days, any party has filed written exceptions to the decision with the Secretary. Requests for extension of time to file exceptions may be granted if the requests are received by the Secretary no later than 25 days after service of the decision.


(2) If any timely exceptions are filed, the Secretary may set a time for filing any response to the exceptions with supporting reasons. All exceptions and responses thereto shall be served on all the parties.


(b)(1) The Secretary, after consideration of the decision, the exceptions, and any supporting briefs filed therewith and any responses to the exceptions with supporting reasons, shall issue a final decision.


(2) An initial decision and a final decision under this section shall include a statement of:


(i) Findings of fact and conclusions of law and the reasons and bases therefor on all issues presented;


(ii) Reference to any material fact based on official notice; and


(iii) The terms and conditions of the rule or order made.


The final decision shall be published in the Federal Register and served on all the parties.

(c) Where a genuine material question of fact is raised, the administrative law judge shall, and in any other case may, set the case for an evidentiary hearing. A notice of such hearing shall be published in the Federal Register at least 30 days prior to the hearing date.


Subpart D – Preliminary Conference and Discovery

§ 1955.30 Submission of documentary evidence.

(a) Where there has been no consent finding or summary decision under subpart C of this part and a formal hearing is necessary, the administrative law judge shall set a date by which all documentary evidence, which is to be offered during the hearing, shall be submitted to the administrative law judge and served on the other parties. Such submission date shall be sufficiently in advance of the hearing as to permit study and preparation for cross-examination and rebuttal evidence. Documentary evidence not submitted in advance may be received into evidence upon a clear showing that the offering party had good cause for failure to produce the evidence sooner.


(b) The authenticity of all documents submitted in advance shall be deemed admitted unless written objections are filed prior to the hearing, except that a party will be permitted to challenge such authenticity at a later date upon clear showing of good cause for failure to have filed such written objections.


§ 1955.31 Preliminary conference.

(a) Upon his own motion, or the motion of a party, the administrative law judge may direct the parties to meet with him for a conference or conferences to consider:


(1) Simplification of the issues;


(2) The necessity or desirability of amendments to documents for purposes of clarification, simplification, or limitation;


(3) Stipulations of fact, and of the authenticity, of the contents of documents;


(4) Limitations on the number of parties and of witnesses;


(5) Scope of participation of petitioners under § 1955.17 of this part;


(6) Establishment of dates for discovery; and


(7) Such other matters as may tend to expedite the disposition of the proceedings, and to assure a just conclusion thereof.


(b) The administrative law judge shall enter an order which recites the action taken at the conference, the amendments allowed to any documents which have been filed, and the agreements made between the parties as to any of the matters considered. Such order shall limit the issues for hearing to those not disposed of by admissions or agreements, and control the subsequent course of the hearing, unless modified at the hearing to prevent manifest injustice.


§ 1955.32 Discovery.

(a)(1) At any time after the commencement of a proceeding under this part, but generally before the preliminary conference, if any, a party may request of any other party admissions that relate to statements or opinions of fact, or of the application of law to fact, including the genuineness of any document described in the request. Copies of documents shall be served with the request unless they have been or are otherwise furnished or made available for inspection or copying. The matter shall be deemed admitted unless within 30 days after service of the request, or within such shorter or longer time as the administrative law judge may prescribe, the party to whom the request is directed serves upon the party requesting the admission a specific written response.


(2) If objection is made, the reasons therefor shall be stated. The answer shall specifically deny the matter or set forth in detail the reasons why the answering party cannot truthfully admit or deny the matter. A denial shall fairly meet the substance of the requested admission and when good faith requires that a party qualify his answer or deny only a part of the matter on which an admission is requested, he shall specify so much of it as is true and qualify or deny the remainder. An answering party may not give lack of information or knowledge as the reason for failure to admit or deny unless he states that he has made reasonable inquiry and that the information known or readily obtainable by him is insufficient to enable him to admit or deny.


(3) The party who has requested the admission may move to determine the sufficiency of the answers or objections. Unless the administrative law judge determines that an objection is justified, he may order either that the matter is admitted or that an amended answer be served. The administrative law judge may, in lieu of these orders, determine that final disposition of the requests be made at a preliminary conference, or at a designated time prior to the hearing. Any matter admitted under this section is conclusively established unless the administrative law judge on motion permits withdrawal or amendment of the admission. Copies of all requests and responses shall be served on all parties and filed with the administrative law judge.


(b)(1) The testimony of any witness may be taken by deposition. Depositions may be taken orally or upon written interrogatories before any person designated by the administrative law judge or having power to administer oaths.


(2) Any party desiring to take the deposition of a witness may make application in writing to the administrative law judge setting forth:


(i) The time when, the place where, and the name and post office address of the person before whom the deposition is to be taken;


(ii) The name and address of each witness; and


(iii) The subject matter concerning which each witness is expected to testify.


(3) Such notice as the administrative law judge may order shall be given by the party taking the deposition to every other party.


(c)(1) Each witness testifying upon deposition shall be sworn, and the parties not calling him shall have the right to cross-examine him. The questions propounded and the answers thereto, together with all objections made, shall be reduced to writing and shall be read to or by the witness unless such examination and reading are waived by the witness and the parties. Any changes in form or substance which the witness desires to make shall be entered upon the deposition by the officer with a statement of the reasons given by the witness for making them. The deposition shall then be signed by the witness and certified by the officer before whom the deposition was taken. Thereafter, the officer shall seal the deposition, with copies thereof, in an envelope and mail the same by registered or certified mail to the administrative law judge.


(2) Subject to such objections to the questions and answers as were noted at the time of taking the deposition, and to the provisions in § 1955.40(b)(1), any part or all of a deposition may be offered into evidence by the party taking it as against any party who was present, represented at the taking of the deposition, or who had due notice thereof.


(d) Whenever appropriate to a just disposition of any issue in the proceeding the administrative law judge may allow discovery by any other appropriate procedure, such as by interrogatories upon a party or request for production of documents by a party.


(e) Upon motion by a party or by the person from whom discovery is sought, and for good cause shown, the administrative law judge may make any order which justice requires to limit or condition discovery in order to protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense.


§ 1955.33 Sanctions for failure to comply with orders.

(a) If a party or an official or agent of a party fails, without good cause, to comply with an order including, but not limited to, an order for the taking of a deposition, written interrogatories, the production of documents, or an order to comply with a subpoena, the administrative law judge or the Secretary or both, for the purpose of permitting resolution of relevant issues and disposition of the proceeding without unnecessary delay despite such failure, may take such action as is just, including but not limited to the following:


(1) Infer that the admission, testimony, documents, or other evidence would have been adverse to the party;


(2) Rule that for the purposes of the proceeding, the matter or matters concerning which the order or subpoena was issued be taken as established adversely to the party;


(3) Rule that the party may not introduce into evidence or otherwise rely, in support of any claim or defense, upon testimony by such party, officer or agent, or the documents or other evidence;


(4) Rule that the party may not be heard to object to introduction and use of secondary evidence to show what the withheld admission, testimony, documents, or other evidence would have shown;


(5) Rule that a pleading, or part of a pleading, on a motion or other submission by the party, concerning which the order or subpoena was issued, be stricken or that decision on the pleading be rendered against the party, or both.


(b) Any such action may be taken by written or oral order issued in the course of the proceeding or by inclusion in the initial decision of the administrative law judge or an order or opinion of the Secretary. The parties may seek, and the administrative law judge may grant, such of the foregoing means of relief or other appropriate relief as may be sufficient to compensate for the lack of withheld testimony, documents, or other evidence.


§ 1955.34 Fees of witnesses.

Witnesses, including witnesses for depositions, shall be paid the same fees and mileage that are paid witnesses in the courts of the United States. Fees shall be paid by the party at whose instance the witness appears, and the person taking a deposition shall be paid by the party at whose instance the deposition is taken.


Subpart E – Hearing and Decision

§ 1955.40 Hearings.

(a)(1) Except as may be ordered otherwise by the administrative law judge, the Department of Labor shall proceed first at the hearing.


(2) The Department of Labor shall have the burden of proof to sustain the contentions alleged in the notice of proposed withdrawal, published under § 1955.10(b)(1) but the proponent of any factual proposition shall be required to sustain the burden of proof with respect thereto.


(b)(1) A party shall be entitled to present his case or defense by oral or documentary evidence, to submit rebuttal evidence, and to conduct such cross-examination as may be required for a full and true disclosure of the facts. Any oral or documentary evidence may be received, but the administrative law judge shall exclude evidence which is irrelevant, immaterial, or unduly repetitious.


(2) The testimony of a witness shall be upon oath or affirmation administered by the administrative law judge.


(3) If a party objects to the admission or rejection of any evidence, or to the limitation of the scope of any examination or cross-examination, or to the failure to limit such scope, he shall state briefly the grounds for such objection. Rulings on all objections shall appear in the record. Only objections made before the administrative law judge may be relied upon subsequently in the proceeding.


(4) Formal exception to an adverse ruling is not required.


(c) Official notice may be taken of any material fact not appearing in evidence in the record, which is among the traditional matters of judicial notice, or concerning which the Department of Labor by reason of its functions is presumed to be expert: Provided, that the parties shall be given adequate notice, at the hearing or by reference in the administrative law judge’s and the Secretary’s decision of the matters so noticed and shall be given adequate opportunity to show the contrary.


(d) When an objection to a question propounded to a witness is sustained, the examining party may make a specific offer of proof of what the party expects to prove by the answer of the witness orally or in writing. Written offers of proof, adequately marked for identification, shall be retained in the record so as to be available for consideration by any reviewing authority.


(e) Hearings shall be stenographically reported. Copies of the transcript may be obtained by the parties and the public upon payment of the actual cost of duplication to the Department of Labor in accordance with 29 CFR 70.62(c).


(f) Corrections of the official transcript may be made only when they involve errors affecting substance and then only in the manner herein provided. Corrections may be ordered by the administrative law judge or agreed to in a written stipulation by all parties or their representatives. Where the parties are in disagreement, the administrative law judge shall determine the corrections to be made and so order. Corrections may be interlineated in the official transcript so as not to obliterate the original text.


§ 1955.41 Decision of the administrative law judge.

(a) Within 30 days after receipt of notice that the transcript of the testimony has been filed with the administrative law judge, or such additional time as the administrative law judge may allow, each party may file with the administrative law judge proposed findings of fact, conclusions of law, and rules or orders, together with a supporting brief expressing the reasons for such proposals. Such proposals and brief shall be served on all other parties and shall refer to all portions of the record and to all authorities relied upon in support of each proposal.


(b)(1) Within a reasonable time after the time allowed for the filing of proposed findings of fact, conclusions of law, and rules or orders, the administrative law judge shall make and serve upon each party his initial decision which shall become final upon the 30th day after service thereof unless exceptions are filed thereto.


(2) The decision of the administrative law judge shall be based solely upon substantial evidence on the record as a whole and shall state all facts officially noticed and relied upon. The decision of the administrative law judge shall include:


(i) A statement of the findings of fact and conclusions of law, with reasons and bases therefor upon each material issue of fact, law, or discretion presented on the record;


(ii) Reference to any material fact based on official notice; and


(iii) The appropriate rule, order, relief, or denial thereof.


§ 1955.42 Exceptions.

(a) Within 30 days after service of the decision of the administrative law judge, any party may file with the Secretary written exceptions thereto with supporting reasons. Such exceptions shall refer to the specific findings of fact, conclusions of law, or terms of the rule or order excepted to; and shall suggest corrected findings of fact, conclusions of law, or terms of the rule or order referencing the specific pages of the transcript relevant to the suggestions. Requests for extension of time to file exceptions may be granted if the requests are received by the Secretary no later than 25 days after service of the decision.


(b) If any timely exceptions are filed, the Secretary may set a time for filing any response to the exceptions with supporting reasons. All exceptions and responses thereto shall be served on all the parties.


§ 1955.43 Transmission of the record.

If exceptions are filed, the Secretary shall request the administrative law judge to transmit the record of the proceeding to the Secretary for review. The record shall include the State plan; a copy of the Assistant Secretary’s notice of proposed withdrawal; the State’s statement of items in contention; the notice of the hearing if any; any motions and requests filed in written form and rulings thereon; the transcript of the testimony taken at the hearing, together with any documents or papers filed in connection with the preliminary conference and the hearing itself; such proposed findings of fact, conclusions of law, rules or orders, and supporting reasons as may have been filed; the administrative law judge’s decision; and such exceptions, responses, and briefs in support thereof as may have been filed in the proceedings.


§ 1955.44 Final decision.

(a) After review of any exceptions, together with the record references and authorities cited in support thereof, the Secretary shall issue a final decision ruling upon each exception and objection filed. The final decision may affirm, modify, or set aside in whole or in part the findings, conclusions, and the rule or order contained in the decision of the administrative law judge. The final decision shall also include reference to any material fact based on official notice.


(b) The Secretary’s final decision shall be served upon all the parties and shall become final upon the 30th day after service thereof unless the Secretary grants a stay pending judicial review.


§ 1955.45 Effect of appeal of administrative law judge’s decision.

An administrative law judge’s decision shall be stayed pending a decision on appeal to the Secretary. If there are no exceptions filed to the decisions of the administrative law judge, the administrative law judge’s decision shall be published in the Federal Register as a final decision and served upon the parties.


§ 1955.46 Finality for purposes of judicial review.

Only a final decision by the Secretary under § 1955.44 shall be deemed final agency action for purposes of judicial review. A decision of an administrative law judge which becomes final for lack of appeal is not deemed final agency action for purposes of 5 U.S.C. 704.


§ 1955.47 Judicial review.

The State may obtain judicial review of a decision by the Secretary in accordance with section 18(g) of the Act.


PART 1956 – STATE PLANS FOR THE DEVELOPMENT AND ENFORCEMENT OF STATE STANDARDS APPLICABLE TO STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES IN STATES WITHOUT APPROVED PRIVATE EMPLOYEE PLANS


Authority:Section 18 (29 U.S.C. 667), 29 CFR parts 1902 and 1955, and Secretary of Labor’s Order No. 1-2012 (77 FR 3912, Jan. 25, 2012).



Source:41 FR 12429, Mar. 4, 1977, unless otherwise noted.

Subpart A – General

§ 1956.1 Purpose and scope.

(a) This part sets forth procedures and requirements for approval, continued evaluation, and operation of State plans submitted under section 18 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 667) (hereinafter called the Act) for the development and enforcement of State standards applicable to State and local government employees in States without approved private employee plans. Although section 2(b) of the Act sets forth the policy of assuring every working man and woman safe and healthful working conditions, State and local government agencies are excluded from the definition of “employer” in section 3(5). Only under section 18 of the Act are such public employees ensured protection under the provisions of an approved State plan. Where no such plan is in effect with regard to private employees, State and local government employees have not heretofore been assured any protections under the Act. Section 18(b), however, permits States to submit plans with respect to any occupational safety and health issue with respect to which a Federal standard has been promulgated under section 6 of the Act. Under § 1902.2(c) of this chapter, an issue is defined as “any * * * industrial, occupational, or hazard grouping that is found to be administratively practicable and * * * not in conflict with the purposes of the Act.” Since Federal standards are in effect with regard to hazards found in public employment, a State plan covering this occupational category meets the definition of section 18 and the regulations. It is the purpose of this part to assure the availability of the protections of the Act to public employees, where no State plan covering private employees is in effect, by adapting the requirements and procedures applicable to State plans covering private employees to the situation where State coverage under section 18(b) is proposed for public employees only.


(b) In adopting these requirements and procedures, consideration should be given to differences between public and private employment. For instance, a system of monetary penalties applicable to violations of public employers may not in all cases be necessarily the most appropriate method of achieving compliance. Further, the impact of the lack of Federal enforcement authority application to public employers requires certain adjustments of private employer plan procedures in adapting them to plans covering only public employees in a State.


§ 1956.2 General policies.

(a) Policy. The Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health (hereinafter referred to as the Assistant Secretary) will approve a State plan which provides an occupational safety and health program for the protection of State and local government employees (hereinafter State and local government employees are referred to as public employees) that in his judgment meets or will meet the criteria set forth in § 1956.10. Included among these criteria is the requirement that the State plan for public employees (hereinafter such a plan will be referred to as the plan) provides for the development and enforcement of standards relating to hazards in employment covered by the plan which are or will be at least as effective in providing safe and healthful employment and places of employment for public employees as standards promulgated and enforced under section 6 of the Act. In determining whether a plan satisfies the requirement of effectiveness, the Assistant Secretary will measure the plan against the indices of effectiveness, set forth in § 1956.11.


(b) Developmental plan. (1) A State plan for an occupational safety and health program for public employees may be approved although, upon submission, it does ot fully meet the criteria set forth in § 1956.10, if it includes satisfactory assurances by the State that it will take the necessary steps to bring the program into conformity with these criteria within the 3-year period immediately following the commencement of the plan’s operation. In such a case, the plan shall include the specific actions the State proposes to take, and a time schedule for their accomplishment which is not to exceed 3 years, at the end of which the plan will meet the criteria in § 1956.10. A developmental plan shall include the dates within which intermediate and final action will be accomplished. Although administrative actions, such as stages for application of standards and enforcement, related staffing, development of regulations may be developmental, to be considered for approval, a State plan for public employees must contain at time of plan approval basic State legislative and/or executive authority under which these actions will be taken. If necessary program changes require further implementing executive action by the Governor or supplementary legislative action by the State, a copy of the appropriate order, or the bill or a draft of legislation that will be or has been proposed for enactment shall be submitted, accompanied by:


(i) A statement of the Governor’s support of the legislation or order and


(ii) A statement of legal opinion that the proposed legislation or executive action will meet the requirements of the Act and this part in a manner consistent with the State’s constitution and laws.


(2) On the basis of the State’s submission, the Assistant Secretary will approve the plan if he finds that there is a reasonable expectation that the plan for public employees will meet the criteria in § 1956.10 within the indicated 3 year period. In such a case, the Assistant Secretary shall not make a determination that a State is fully applying the criteria in § 1956.10 until the State has completed all the developmental steps specified in the plan which are designed to make it at least as effective as the Federal program for the private sector, and the Assistant Secretary has had at least 1 year to evaluate the plan on the basis of actual operations following the completion of all developmental steps. If at the end of 3 years from the date of commencement of the plan’s operation, the State is found by the Assistant Secretary, after affording the State notice and an opportunity for a hearing, not to have substantially completed the developmental steps of the plan, he shall withdraw the approval of the plan.


(3) Where a State plan approved under part 1902 of this chapter is discontinued, except for its public employee component, or becomes approved after approval of a plan under this part, the developmental period applicable to the public employee component of the earlier plan will be controlling with regard to any such public employee coverage. For good cause, a State may demonstrate that an additional period of time is required to make adjustments on account of the transfer from one type of plan to another.


(c) Scope of a State plan for public employees. (1) A State plan for public employees must provide for the coverage of both State and local government employees to the full extent permitted by the State laws and constitution. The qualification “to the extent permitted by its law” means only that where a State may not constitutionally regulate occupational safety and health conditions in certain political subdivisions, the plan may exclude such political subdivision employees from coverage.


(2) The State shall not exclude any occupational, industrial, or hazard grouping from coverage under its plan unless the Assistant Secretary finds that the State has shown there is no necessity for such coverage.


Subpart B – Criteria

§ 1956.10 Specific criteria.

(a) General. A State plan for public employees must meet the specific criteria set forth in this section.


(b) Designation of State agency. (1) The plan shall designate a State agency or agencies which will be responsible for administering the plan throughout the State.


(2) The plan shall also describe the authority and responsibilities vested in such agency or agencies. The plan shall contain assurances that any other responsibilities of the designated agency shall not detract significantly from the resources and priorities assigned to the administration of the plan.


(3) A State agency or agencies must be designated with overall responsibility for administering the plan throughout the State. Subject to this overall responsibility, enforcement of standards may be delegated to an appropriate agency having occupational safety and health responsibilities or expertise throughout the State. Included in this overall responsibility are the requirements that the designated agency have, or assure the provision of necessary qualified personnel, legal authority necessary for the enforcement of the standards and make reports as required by the Assistant Secretary.


(c) Standards. The State plan for public employees shall include, or provide for the development or adoption of, standards which are or will be at least as effective as those promulgated under section 6 of the Act. The plan shall also contain assurances that the State will continue to develop or adopt such standards. Indices of the effectiveness of standards and procedures for the development or adoption of standards against which the Assistant Secretary will measure the plan in determining whether it is approvable are set forth in § 1956.11(b).


(d) Enforcement. (1) The State plan for public employees shall provide a program for the enforcement of the State standards which is, or will be, at least as effective in assuring safe and healthful employment and places of employment as the standards promulgated by section 6 of the Act; and provide assurances that the State’s enforcement program for public employees will continue to be at least as effective in this regard as the Federal program in the private sector. Indices of the effectiveness of a State’s enforcement plan against which the Assistant Secretary will measure the plan in determining whether it is approvable are set forth in § 1956.11(c).


(2) The plan shall require State and local government agencies to comply with all applicable State occupational safety and health standards included in the plan and all applicable rules issued thereunder, and employees to comply with all standards, rules, and orders applicable to their conduct.


(e) Right of entry and inspection. The plan shall contain adequate assurances that inspectors will have a right to enter covered workplaces which is at least as effective as that provided in section 8 of the Act for the purpose of inspection or monitoring. Where such entry is refused, the State agency or agencies shall have the authority through appropriate legal process to compel such entry.


(f) Prohibition against advance notice. The State plan shall contain a prohibition against advance notice of inspections. Any exceptions must be expressly authorized by the head of the designated agency or agencies or his representative and such exceptions may be no broader than those authorized under the Act and the rules published in part 1903 of this chapter relating to advance notice.


(g) Personnel. The plan shall provide assurances that the designated agency or agencies and all government agencies to which authority has been delegated, have, or will have, a sufficient number of adequately trained and qualified personnel necessary for the enforcement of standards. For this purpose, qualified personnel means persons employed on a merit basis, including all persons engaged in the development of standards and the administration of the plan. Subject to the results of evaluations, conformity with the Standards for a Merit System of Personnel Administration, 45 CFR part 70, issued by the Secretary of Labor, including any amendments thereto, and any standards prescribed by the U.S. Civil Service Commission, pursuant to section 208 of the Intergovernmental Personnel Act of 1970, modifying or superseding such standards, and guidelines on “at least as effective as” staffing derived from the Federal private employee program will be deemed to meet this requirement.


(h) Resources. The plan shall contain satisfactory assurances through the use of budget, organizational description, and any other appropriate means, that the State will devote adequate funds to the administration and enforcement of the public employee program. The Assistant Secretary will make the periodic evaluations of the adequacy of the resources the State has devoted to the plan.


(i) Employer records and reports. The plan shall provide assurances that public employers covered by the plan will maintain records and make reports on occupational injuries and illnesses in a manner similar to that required of private employers under the Act.


(j) State agency reports to the Assistant Secretary. The plan shall provide assurances that the designated agency or agencies shall make such reasonable reports to the Assistant Secretary in such form and containing such information as he may from time to time require. The agency or agencies shall establish specific goals consistent with the goals of the Act, including measures of performance, output, and results which will determine the efficiency and effectiveness of the State program for public employees, and shall make periodic reports to the Assistant Secretary on the extent to which the State, in implementation of its plan, has attained these goals. Reports will also include data and information on the implementation of the specific inspection and voluntary compliance activities included within the plan. Further, these reports shall contain such statistical information pertaining to work-related deaths, injuries and illnesses in employments and places of employment covered by the plan as the Assistant Secretary may from time to time require.


§ 1956.11 Indices of effectiveness.

(a) General. In order to satisfy the requirements of effectiveness under § 1956.10 (c)(1) and (d)(1), the State plan for public employees shall:


(1) Establish the same standards, procedures, criteria, and rules as have been established by the Assistant Secretary under the act; or


(2) Establish alternative standards, procedures, criteria, and rules which will be measured against each of the indices of effectiveness in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section to determine whether the alternatives are at least as effective as the Federal program for private employees, where applicable, with respect to the subject of each index. For each index the State must demonstrate by the presentation of factual or other appropriate information that its plan for public employees will, to the extent practicable, be at least as effective as the Federal program for private employees.


(b) Standards. (1) The indices for measurement of a State plan for public employees with regard to standards follow in paragraph (b)(2) of this section. The Assistant Secretary will determine whether the State plan for public employees satisfies the requirements of effectiveness with regard to each index as provided in paragraph (a) of this section.


(2) The Assistant Secretary will determine whether the State plan for public employees:


(i) Provides for State standards which are or will be at least as effective as the standards promulgated under section 6 of the Act. In the case of any State standards dealing with toxic materials or harmful physical agents, they should adequately assure, to the extent feasible, that no employee will suffer material impairment of health or functional capacity, even if such employee has regular exposure to the hazard dealt with by such standard for the period of his working life, by such means as, in the development and promulgation of standards, obtaining the best available evidence through research, demonstration, experiments, and experience under this and any other safety and health laws.


(ii) Provides an adequate method to assure that its standards will continue to be at least as effective as Federal standards, including Federal standards which become effective subsequent to any approval of the plan.


(iii) Provides a procedure for the development and promulgation of standards which allows for the consideration of pertinent factual information and affords interested persons, including employees, employers and the public, an opportunity to participate in such processes, by such means as establishing procedures for consideration of expert technical knowledge, and providing interested persons, including employers, employees, recognized standards-producing organizations, and the public, an opportunity to submit information requesting the development or promulgation of new standards or the modification or revocation of existing standards and to participate in any hearings. This index may also be satisfied by such means as the adoption of Federal standards, in which case the procedures at the Federal level before adoption of a standard under section 6 may be considered to meet the conditions of this index.


(iv) Provides authority for the granting of variances from State standards upon application of a public employer or employers which correspond to variances authorized under the Act, and for consideration of the views of interested parties, by such means as giving affected employees notice of each application and an opportunity to request and participate in hearings or other appropriate proceedings relating to applications for variances.


(v) Provides for prompt and effective standards setting actions for the protection of employees against new and unforeseen hazards, by such means as the authority to promulgate emergency temporary standards. Such authority is particularly appropriate for those situations where public employees are exposed to unique hazards for which existing standards do not provide adequate protection.


(vi) Provides that State standards contain appropriate provision for the furnishing to employees of information regarding hazards in the workplace, including information about suitable precautions, relevant symptoms, and emergency treatment in case of exposure; by such means as labelling, posting, and, where appropriate, results of medical examinations, being furnished only to appropriate State officials and, if the employee so requests, to his physician.


(vii) Provides that State standards where appropriate, contain specific provision for the protection of employees from exposure to hazards, by such means as containing appropriate provision for the use of suitable protective equipment and for control or technological procedures with respect to such hazards, including monitoring or measuring such exposure.


(c) Enforcement. (1) The indices for measurement of a State plan for public employees with regard to enforcement follow in paragraph (c)(2) of this section. The Assistant Secretary will determine whether the plan satisfies the requirements of effectiveness with regard to each index as provided in paragraph (a) of this section.


(2) The Assistant Secretary will determine whether the State plan for public employees:


(i) Provides for inspection of covered workplaces in the State by the designated agency or agencies or any other agency which is duly delegated authority, including inspections in response to complaints where there are reasonable grounds to believe a hazard exists, in order to assure, so far as possible, safe and healthful working conditions for covered employees by such means as providing for inspections under conditions such as those provided in section 8 of the Act.


(ii) Provides an opportunity for employees and their representative, before, during, and after inspections, to bring possible violations to the attention of the State or local agency with enforcement responsibility in order to aid inspections, by such means as affording a representative of the employer, and a representative authorized by employees, an opportunity to accompany the inspector during the physical inspection of the workplace, or where there is no authorized representative, provide for consultation by the inspector with a reasonable number of employees.


(iii) Provides for notification of employees, or their representatives, when the State decides not to take compliance action as a result of violations alleged by such employees or their representative, and further provides for informal review of such decisions, by such means as written notification of decisions not to take compliance action and the reasons therefor, and procedures for informal review of such decisions and written statements of the disposition of such review.


(iv) Provides that public employees be informed of their protections and obligations under the Act, including the provisions of applicable standards, by such means as the posting of notices or other appropriate sources of information.


(v) Provides necessary and appropriate protection to an employee against discharge or discrimination in terms and conditions of employment because he has filed a complaint, testified, or otherwise acted to exercise rights under the State program for public employees for himself or others, by such means as providing for appropriate sanctions against the State or local agency for such actions, and by providing for the withholding, upon request, of the names of complainants from the employer.


(vi) Provides that public employees have access to information on their exposure to toxic materials or harmful physical agents and receive prompt information when they have been or are being exposed to such materials or agents in concentrations or at levels in excess of those prescribed by the applicable safety and health standards, by such means as the observation by employees of the monitoring or measuring of such materials or agents, employee access to the records of such monitoring or measuring, prompt notification by a public employer to any employee who has been or is being exposed to such agents or materials in excess of the applicable standards, and information to such employee of corrective action being taken.


(vii) Provides procedures for the prompt restraint or elimination of any conditions or practices in covered places of employment which could reasonably be expected to cause death or serious physical harm immediately or before the imminence of such danger can be eliminated through the enforcement procedures otherwise provided for in the plan, by such means as immediately informing employees and employers of such hazards, taking steps to obtain immediate abatement of the hazard by the employer, and, where appropriate, authority to initiate necessary legal proceedings to require such abatement.


(viii) Provides that the designated agency (or agencies) and any agency to which it has duly delegated authority, will have the necessary legal authority for the enforcement of standards by such means as provisions for appropriate compulsory process to obtain necessary evidence or testimony in connection with inspection and enforcement proceedings.


(ix) Provides for prompt notice to public employers and employees when an alleged violation of standards has occurred, including the proposed abatement requirements, by such means as the issuance of a written citation to the public employer and posting of the citation at or near the site of the violation; further provides for advising the public employer of any proposed sanctions, wherever appropriate, by such means as a notice to the employer by certified mail within a reasonable time of any proposed sanctions.


(x) Provides effective sanctions against public employers who violate State standards and orders, or applicable public agency standards, such as those prescribed in the Act. In lieu of monetary penalties a complex of enforcement tools and rights, such as various forms of equitable remedies available to the designee including administrative orders; availability of employee rights such as right to contest citations, and provisions for strengthened employee participation in enforcement may be demonstrated to be as effective as monetary penalties in achieving complianace in public employment. In evaluating the effectiveness of an alternate system for compelling compliance, elements of the enforcement educational program such as a system of agency self inspection procedures, and in-house training programs, and employee complaint procedures may be taken into consideration.


(xi) Provides for an employer to have the right of review of violations alleged by the State or any agency to which it has duly delegated authority, abatement periods and proposed penalties, where appropriate, for employees or their representatives to challenge the reasonableness of the period of time fixed in the citation for the abatement of the hazard, and for employees or their representatives to have an opportunity to participate in review, proceedings, by such means as providing for admininistrative review, with an opportunity for a full hearing on the issues.


(xii) Provides that the State will undertake programs to encourage voluntary compliance by public employers and employees by such means as conducting training and consultation with such employers and employees, and encouraging agency self-inspection programs.


(d) Additional indices. Upon his own motion, or after consideration of data, views, and arguments received in any proceedings held under subpart C of this part, the Assistant Secretary may prescribe additional indices for any State plan for public employees which shall be in furtherance of the purpose of this section.


Subpart C – Approval, Change, Evaluation and Withdrawal of Approval Procedures

§ 1956.20 Procedures for submission, approval and rejection.

The procedures contained in subpart C of part 1902 of this chapter shall be applicable to submission, approval, and rejection of State plans submitted under this part, except that the information required in § 1902.20(b)(1)(iii) would not be included in decisions of approval.


§ 1956.21 Procedures for submitting changes.

The procedures contained in part 1953 of this chapter shall be applicable to submission and consideration of developmental, Federal program, evaluation, and State-initiated change supplements to plans approved under this part.


§ 1956.22 Procedures for evaluation and monitoring.

The procedures contained in part 1954 of this chapter shall be applicable to evaluation and monitoring of State plans approved under this part, except that the decision to relinquish Federal enforcement authority under section 18(e) of the Act is not relevant to Phase II and III monitoring under § 1954.2 and the guidelines of exercise of Federal discretionary enforcement authority provided in § 1954.3 are not applicable to plans approved under this part. The factors listed in § 1902.37(b) of this chapter, except those specified in § 1902.37(b)(11) and (12), which would be adapted to the State compliance program, provide the basis for monitoring.


§ 1956.23 Procedures for certification of completion of development and determination on application of criteria.

The procedures contained in §§ 1902.33 and 1902.34 of this chapter shall be applicable to certification of completion of developmental steps under plans approved in accordance with this part. Such certification shall initiate intensive monitoring of actual operations of the developed plan, which shall continue for at least a year after certification, at which time a determination shall be made under the procedures and criteria of §§ 1902.38, 1902.39, 1902.40 and 1902.41, that on the basis of actual operations, the criteria set forth in §§ 1956.10 and 1956.11 of this part are being applied under the plan. The factors listed in § 1902.37(b) of this chapter, except those specified in § 1902.37(b)(11) and (12) which would be adapted to the State’s compliance program provide the basis for making the determination of operational effectiveness.


§ 1956.24 Procedures for withdrawal of approval.

The procedures and standards contained in part 1955 of this chapter shall be applicable to the withdrawal of approval of plans approved under this part 1956, except that (because these plans, as do public employee programs aproved and financed in connection with a State plan covering private employees, must cover all employees of State and local agencies in a State whenever a State is constitutionally able to do so, at least developmentally), no industrial or occupational issues may be considered a separable portion of a plan under § 1955.2(a)(10); and, as Federal standards and enforcement do not apply to State and local government employers, withdrawal of approval of a plan approved under this part 1956 could not bring about application of the provisions of the Federal Act to such employers as set out in § 1955.4 of this chapter.


Subpart D – General Provisions and Conditions [Reserved]

PART 1960 – BASIC PROGRAM ELEMENTS FOR FEDERAL EMPLOYEE OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH PROGRAMS AND RELATED MATTERS


Authority:Sections 19 and 24 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (84 Stat. 1609, 1614; 29 U.S.C. 668, 673), 5 U.S.C. 553, Secretary of Labor’s Order No. 1-90 (55 FR 9033), and Executive Order 12196.


Source:45 FR 69798, Oct. 21, 1980, unless otherwise noted.

Subpart A – General

§ 1960.1 Purpose and scope.

(a) Section 19 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (the Act) contains special provisions to assure safe and healthful working conditions for Federal employees. Under that section, it is the responsibility of the head of each Federal agency to establish and maintain an effective and comprehensive occupational safety and health program which is consistent with the standards promulgated under section 6 of the Act. The Secretary of Labor (the Secretary), under section 19, is to report to the President certain evaluations and recommendations with respect to the programs of the various agencies, and the duties which section 24 of the Act imposes on the Secretary of Labor necessarily extend to the collection, compilation and analysis of occupational safety and health statistics from the Federal Government. The role of the General Services Administration in this area stems from its duties as the Government’s principal landlord and from its specific safety and health responsibilities under 41 CFR part 101, subchapter D, Federal Property Management Regulations.


(b) Executive Order 12196, Occupational Safety and Health Programs for Federal Employees, issued February 26, 1980, prescribes additional responsibilities for the heads of agencies, the Secretary, and the General Services Administrator. Among other duties, the Secretary is required to issue basic program elements in accordance with which the heads of agencies shall operate their safety and health programs. The purpose of this part is to issue these basic program elements. Although agency heads are required to operate a program in accordance with the basic program elements, those elements contain numerous provisions which, by their terms, permit agency heads the flexibility necessary to implement their programs in a manner consistent with their respective missions, sizes, and organizations. Moreover, an agency head, after consultation with agency employees or their representatives and with appropriate safety and health committees may request the Secretary to consider approval of alternate program elements; the Secretary, after consultation with the Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health, may approve such alternate program elements.


(c) Under Executive Order 12196, the Secretary is required to perform various services for the agencies, including consultation, training, recordkeeping, inspections, and evaluations. Agencies are encouraged to seek such assistance from the Secretary as well as advice on how to comply with the basic program elements and operate effective occupational safety and health programs. Upon the request of an Agency, the Office of Federal Agency Safety and Health Programs will review proposed agency plans for the implementation of program elements.


(d) Section 19 of the Act and the Executive Order require specific opportunities for employee participation in the operation of agency safety and health programs. The manner of fulfilling these requirements is set forth in part in these program elements. These requirements are separate from but consistent with the Federal Service Labor Management Relations Statute (5 U.S.C. 71) and regulations dealing with labor-management relations within the Federal Government.


(e) Executive Order 12196 and these basic program elements apply to all agencies of the Executive Branch. They apply to all Federal employees. They apply to all working conditions of Federal employees except those involving uniquely military equipment, systems, and operations.


(f) No provision of the Executive Order or this part shall be construed in any manner to relieve any private employer, including Federal contractors, or their employees of any rights or responsibilities under the provisions of the Act, including compliance activities conducted by the Department of Labor or other appropriate authority.


(g) Federal employees who work in establishments of private employers are covered by their agencies’ occupational safety and health programs. Although an agency may not have the authority to require abatement of hazardous conditions in a private sector workplace, the agency head must assure safe and healthful working conditions for his/her employees. This shall be accomplished by administrative controls, personal protective equipment, or withdrawal of Federal employees from the private sector facility to the extent necessary to assure that the employees are protected.


[45 FR 69798, Oct. 21, 1980, as amended at 60 FR 34852, July 5, 1995]


§ 1960.2 Definitions.

(a) The term Act means the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (84 Stat. 1590 et seq., 29 U.S.C. 651 et seq.).


(b) The term agency for the purposes of this part means an Executive Department, as defined in 5 U.S.C. 101, or any employing unit of authority of the Executive Branch of the Government. For the purposes of this part to the extent it implements section 19 of the Act, the term agency does not include the United States Postal Service. By agreement between the Secretary of Labor and the head of an agency of the Legislative or Judicial Branches of the Government, these regulations may be applicable to such agencies.


(c) The term agency liaison means an agency person appointed with full authority and reponsibility to represent the occupant agency management with the official in charge of a facility or installation such as a GSA Building Manager.


(d) The term building manager means the person who manages one or several buildings under the authority of a Federal agency. For example, a building manager may be the GSA person who manages building(s) for GSA.


(e) As used in Executive Order 12196, the term consultation with representatives of the employees thereof shall include such consultation, conference, or negotiation with representatives of agency employees as is consistent with the Federal Service Labor Management Relations Statute (5 U.S.C. 71), or collective bargaining or other labor-management arrangements. As used in this part, the term representative of employees shall be interpreted with due regard for any obligation imposed by the aforementioned statute and any other labor-management arrangement that may cover the employees involved.


(f) The term Designated Agency Safety and Health Official means the individual who is responsible for the management of the safety and health program within an agency, and is so designated or appointed by the head of the agency pursuant to § 1960.6 and the provisions of Executive Order 12196.


(g) The term employee as used in this part means any person, other than members of the Armed Forces, employed or otherwise suffered, permitted, or required to work by an agency as the latter term is defined in paragraph (b) of this section.


(h) The term establishment means a single physical location where business is conducted or where services or operations are performed. Where distinctly separate activities are performed at a single physical location, each activity shall be treated as a separate establishment. Typically, an establishment as used in this part refers to a field activity, regional office, area office, installation, or facility.


(i) The term uniquely military equipment, systems, and operations excludes from the scope of the order the design of Department of Defense equipment and systems that are unique to the national defense mission, such as military aircraft, ships, submarines, missiles, and missile sites, early warning systems, military space systems, artillery, tanks, and tactical vehicles; and excludes operations that are uniquely military such as field maneuvers, naval operations, military flight operations, associated research test and development activities, and actions required under emergency conditions. The term includes within the scope of the Order Department of Defense workplaces and operations comparable to those of industry in the private sector such as: Vessel, aircraft, and vehicle repair, overhaul, and modification (except for equipment trials); construction; supply services; civil engineering or public works; medical services; and office work.


(j) The term incidence rates means the number of injuries and illnesses, or lost workdays, per 100 full-time workers. Rates are calculated as


N × 200,000 ÷ EH


N = number of injuries and illnesses, or number of lost workdays.

EH = total hours worked by all employees during a month, a quarter, or fiscal year.

200,000 = base for 100 full-time equivalent workers (working 40 hours per week, 50 weeks per year).

(k) The term inspection means a comprehensive survey of all or part of a workplace in order to detect safety and health hazards. Inspections are normally performed during the regular work hours of the agency, except as special circumstances may require. Inspections do not include routine, day-to-day visits by agency occupational safety and health personnel, or routine workplace surveillance of occupational health conditions.


(l) Injury or illness. An injury or illness is an abnormal condition or disorder. Injuries include cases such as, but not limited to, a cut, fracture, sprain, or amputation. Illness includes both acute and chronic illnesses, such as, but not limited to, a skin disease, respiratory disorder, or poisoning.


(m) The term representative of management means a supervisor or management official as defined in the applicable labor-management relations program covering the affected employees.


(n)-(p) [Reserved]


(q) The term Safety and Health Inspector means a safety and/or occupational health specialist or other person authorized pursuant to Executive Order 12196, section 1-201(g), to carry out inspections for the purpose of subpart D of this part, a person having equipment and competence to recognize safety and/or health hazards in the workplace.


(r) The term Safety and Health Official means an individual who manages the occupational safety and/or occupational health program at organizational levels below the Designated Agency Safety and Health Official.


(s) The term Safety and Health Specialist means a person or persons meeting the Office of Personnel Management standards for such occupations, which include but are not limited to:



Safety and Occupational Health Manager/Specialist GS-018

Safety Engineer GS-803

Fire Prevention Engineer GS-804

Industrial Hygienist GS-690

Fire Protection and Prevention Specialist/Marshal GS-081

Health Physicist GS-1306

Occupational Medicine Physician GS-602

Occupational Health Nurse GS-610

Safety Technician GS-019

Physical Science Technician GS-1311

Environmental Health Technician GS-699

Air Safety Investigation Officer GS-1815

Aviation Safety Specialist GS-1825

Chemist GS-1320

Health Technician GS-645

Highway Safety Manager GS-2125

or equally qualified military, agency, or nongovernment personnel. The agency head shall be responsible for determination and certification of equally qualified personnel.

(t) The term workplace means a physical location where the agency’s work or operations are performed.


(u) The term imminent danger means any conditions or practices in any workplace which are such that a danger exists which could reasonably be expected to cause death or serious physical harm immediately or before the imminence of such danger can be eliminated through normal procedures.


(v) The word serious as used in serious hazard, serious violation or serious condition means a hazard, violation or condition such that there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result.


(w) The term certified safety and health committee means an agency safety and health committee that meets the provisions of section 1-3 of Executive Order 12196 and of this part, as listed and attested to by the head of each agency in writing to the Secretary.


(x) The term reprisal as used in this part means any act of restraint, interference, coercion or discrimination against an employee for exercising his or her rights under Executive Order 12196 and this part, or for participating in the agency’s safety and health program.


[45 FR 69798, Oct. 21, 1980, as amended at 49 FR 3078, Jan. 25, 1984; 50 FR 40269, Oct. 2, 1985; 51 FR 28378, Aug. 7, 1986; 69 FR 68804, Nov. 26, 2004; 78 FR 47190, Aug. 5, 2013]


Subpart B – Administration

§ 1960.6 Designation of agency safety and health officials.

(a) The head of each agency shall designate an official with sufficient authority and responsibility to represent effectively the interest and support of the agency head in the management and administration of the agency occupational safety and health program. This Designated Agency Safety and Health Official should be of the rank of Assistant Secretary, or of equivalent rank, or equivalent degree of responsibility, and shall have sufficient headquarters staff with the necessary training and experience. The headquarters staff should report directly to, or have appropriate access to, the Designated Agency Safety and Health Official, in order to carry out the responsibilities under this part.


(b) The Designated Agency Safety and Health Official shall assist the agency head in establishing:


(1) An agency occupational safety and health policy and program to carry out the provisions of section 19 of the Act, Executive Order 12196, and this part;


(2) An organization, including provision for the designation of safety and health officials at appropriate levels, with adequate budgets and staffs to implement the occupational safety and health program at all operational levels;


(3) A set of procedures that ensures effective implementation of the agency policy and program as required by section 19 of the Act, Executive Order 12196, and the program elements of this part, considering the mission, size, and organization of the agency;


(4) Goals and objectives for reducing and eliminating occupational accidents, injuries, and illnesses;


(5) Plans and procedures for evaluating the agency’s occupational safety and health program effectiveness at all operational levels; and


(6) Priorities with respect to the factors which cause occupational accidents, injuries, and illnesses in the agency’s workplaces so that appropriate corrective actions can be taken.


(c) The agency head shall assure that safety and health officials are designated at each appropriate level with sufficient authority and responsibility to plan for and assure funds for necessary safety and health staff, equipment, materials, and training required to ensure implementation of an effective occupational safety and health program.


§ 1960.7 Financial management.

(a) The head of each agency shall ensure that the agency budget submission includes appropriate financial and other resources to effectively implement and administer the agency’s occupational safety and health program.


(b) The Designated Agency Safety and Health Official, management officials in charge of each establishment, safety and health officials at all appropriate levels, and other management officials shall be responsible for planning, requesting resources, implementing, and evaluating the occupational safety and health program budget in accordance with all relevant Office of Management and Budget regulations and documents.


(c) Appropriate resources for an agency’s occupational safety and health program shall include, but not be limited to:


(1) Sufficient personnel to implement and administer the program at all levels, including necessary administrative costs such as training, travel, and personal protective equipment;


(2) Abatement of unsafe or unhealthful working conditions related to agency operations or facilities;


(3) Safety and health sampling, testing, and diagnostic and analytical tools and equipment, including laboratory analyses;


(4) Any necessary contracts to identify, analyze, or evaluate unsafe or unhealthful working conditions and operations;


(5) Program promotional costs such as publications, posters, or films;


(6) Technical information, documents, books, standards, codes, periodicals, and publications; and


(7) Medical surveillance programs for employees.


[45 FR 69798, Oct. 21, 1980, as amended at 78 FR 47190, Aug. 5, 2013]


§ 1960.8 Agency responsibilities.

(a) The head of each agency shall furnish to each employee employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm.


(b) The head of each agency shall comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards applicable to the agency.


(c) The head of each agency shall develop, implement, and evaluate an occupational safety and health program in accordance with the requirements of section 19 of the Act, Executive Order 12196, and the basic program elements prescribed in this part, or approved alternate program elements.


(d) The head of each agency shall acquire, maintain, and require the use of approved personal protective equipment, approved safety equipment, and other devices necessary to protect employees.


(e) In order to provide essential specialized expertise, agency heads shall authorize safety and health personnel to utilize such expertise from whatever source available, including but not limited to other agencies, professional groups, consultants, universities, labor organizations, and safety and health committees.


§ 1960.9 Supervisory responsibilities.

Employees who exercise supervisory functions shall, to the extent of their authority, furnish employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm. They shall also comply with the occupational safety and health standards applicable to their agency and with all rules, regulations, and orders issued by the head of the agency with respect to the agency occupational safety and health program.


§ 1960.10 Employee responsibilities and rights.

(a) Each employee shall comply with the standards, rules, regulations, and orders issued by his/her agency in accordance with section 19 of the Act, Executive Order 12196, and this part which are applicable to his/her own actions and conduct.


(b) Employees shall use safety equipment, personal protective equipment, and other devices and procedures provided or directed by the agency and necessary for their protection.


(c) Employees shall have the right to report unsafe and unhealthful working conditions to appropriate officials.


(d) Employees shall be authorized official time to participate in the activities provided for in section 19 of the Act, Executive Order 12196, this part, and the agency occupational safety and health program.


§ 1960.11 Evaluation of occupational safety and health performance.

Each agency head shall ensure that any performance evaluation of any management official in charge of an establishment, any supervisory employee, or other appropriate management official, measures that employee’s performance in meeting requirements of the agency occupational safety and health program, consistent with the employee’s assigned responsibilities and authority, and taking into consideration any applicable regulations of the Office of Personnel Management or other appropriate authority. The recognition of superior performance in discharging safety and health responsibilities by an individual or group should be encouraged and noted.


§ 1960.12 Dissemination of occupational safety and health program information.

(a) Copies of the Act, Executive Order 12196, program elements published in this part, details of the agency’s occupational safety and health program, and applicable safety and health standards shall be made available upon request to employees or employee representatives for review.


(b) A copy of the agency’s written occupational safety and health program applicable to the establishment shall be made available to each supervisor, each occupational safety and health committee member, and to employee representatives.


(c) Each agency shall post conspicuously in each establishment, and keep posted, a poster informing employees of the provisions of the Act, Executive Order 12196, and the agency occupational safety and health program under this part. The Department of Labor will furnish the core text of a poster to agencies. Each agency shall add the following items:


(1) Details of the agency’s procedures for responding to reports by employees of unsafe or unhealthful working conditions, and to allegations of discrimination or reprisal due to participation in safety and/or health activities;


(2) The location where employees may obtain information about the agency’s occupational safety and health program, including the full text of agency occupational safety and health standards, and


(3) Relevant information about any agency safety and health committees.


Such posters and additions shall not be altered, defaced, or covered by other material.

(d) A copy of the agency’s poster shall be provided to the Secretary. If the agency needs assistance and advice on the content and development of the poster, such shall be requested of the Secretary prior to printing and distribution.


(e) Agency heads shall promote employee awareness of occupational safety and health matters through their ordinary information channels, such as newsletters, bulletins and handbooks.


Subpart C – Standards

§ 1960.16 Compliance with OSHA standards.

Each agency head shall comply with all occupational safety and health standards issued under section 6 of the Act, or with alternate standards issued pursuant to this subpart. In complying with section 6 standards, an agency may, upon prior notification to the Secretary, prescribe and enforce more stringent permissible exposure levels or threshold limit values and may require more frequent monitoring of exposures without recourse to the approval procedures for alternate standards described in § 1960.17. In addition, after consultation with employees and safety and health committees and prior notification to the Secretary, an agency may utilize the latest edition of a reference standard if it is more stringent than the section 6 standard. After notification, the Secretary may require the use of the approval procedures for alternate standards for any of the situations described in this paragraph.


§ 1960.17 Alternate standards.

An agency head may apply an alternate standard where deemed necessary, and shall, after consultation with employees or their representatives, including appropriate occupational safety and health committees, notify the Secretary and request approval of such alternate standards.


(a) Any request by the head of the agency for an alternate standard shall be transmitted to the Secretary.


(b) Any such request for an alternate standard shall not be approved by the Secretary unless it provides equivalent or greater protection for affected employees. Any such request shall include:


(1) A statement of why the agency cannot comply with the OSHA standard or wants to adopt an alternate standard;


(2) A description of the alternate standard;


(3) An explanation of how the alternate standard provides equivalent or greater protection for the affected employees;


(4) A description of interim protective measures afforded employees until a decision is rendered by the Secretary of Labor; and


(5) A summary of written comments, if any, from interested employees, employee representatives, and occupational safety and health committees.


§ 1960.18 Supplementary standards.

(a) In addition to complying with emergency temporary standards issued under section 6 of the Act, an agency head shall adopt such emergency temporary and permanent supplementary standards as necessary and appropriate for application to working conditions of agency employees for which there exists no appropriate OSHA standards. In order to avoid any possible duplication of effort, the agency head should notify the Secretary of the subject matter of such standard when the development of the standard begins.


(b) The agency head shall send a copy of the final draft of the permanent supplementary standard to the Secretary prior to official adoption by the agency, along with any written comments on the standard from interested employees, employee representatives, and occupational safety and health committees. If the Secretary finds the permanent supplementary standard to be adopted inconsistent with OSHA standards, or inconsistent with OSHA enforcement practices under section 5(a)(1) of the Act, the Secretary shall have 15 working days in which to notify the head of the agency of this finding. In such a case, the supplementary standard shall not be adopted, but the agency will be afforded an opportunity to resubmit a revised standard that is designed to provide adequate protection and is consistent with OSHA standards. Upon request of the agency head, the Secretary shall offer to the agency technical assistance in the development of the supplemental standard.


§ 1960.19 Other Federal agency standards affecting occupational safety and health.

(a) Where employees of different agencies engage in joint operations, and/or primarily report to work or carry out operations in the same establishment, the standards adopted under § 1960.17 or § 1960.18 of the host agency shall govern.


(b) There are situations in which the head of an agency is required to comply with standards affecting occupational safety and health issued by a Federal agency other than OSHA. For example, standards issued by the Federal Aviation Administration, the Department of Energy, or the General Services Administration may be applicable to certain Federal workplaces. Nothing in this subpart affects the duty of any agency head to comply with such standards. In addition, agency heads should comply with other standards issued by Federal agencies which deal with hazardous working conditions, but for which OSHA has no standards.


(c) Although it is not anticipated that standards of other Federal agencies will conflict with OSHA standards, should such conflict occur, the head of the agency shall inform the other Federal agency and the Secretary so that joint efforts to resolve the issues may be undertaken. However, until conflicts are resolved, agencies shall comply with the more protective of the conflicting standards.


Subpart D – Inspection and Abatement

§ 1960.25 Qualifications of safety and health inspectors and agency inspections.

(a) Executive Order 12196 requires that each agency utilize as inspectors “personnel with equipment and competence to recognize hazards.” Inspections shall be conducted by inspectors qualified to recognize and evaluate hazards of the working environment and to suggest general abatement procedures. Safety and health specialists as defined in § 1960.2(s), with experience and/or up-to-date training in occupational safety and health hazard recognition and evaluation are considered as meeting the qualifications of safety and health inspectors. For those working environments where there are less complex hazards, such safety and health specializations as cited above may not be required, but inspectors in such environments shall have sufficient documented training and/or experience in the safety and health hazards of the workplace involved to recognize and evaluate those particular hazards and to suggest general abatement procedures. All inspection personnel must be provided the equipment necessary to conduct a thorough inspection of the workplace involved.


(b) Each agency which has workplaces containing information classified in the interest of national security shall provide access to safety and health inspectors who have obtained the appropriate security clearance.


(c) All areas and operations of each workplace, including office operations, shall be inspected at least annually. More frequent inspections shall be conducted in all workplaces where there is an increased risk of accident, injury, or illness due to the nature of the work performed. Sufficient unannounced inspections and unannounced follow-up inspections should be conducted by the agency to ensure the identification and abatement of hazardous conditions.


(d) When situations arise involving multiple agencies’ responsibilities for conditions affecting employee safety and health, coordination of inspection functions is encouraged.


§ 1960.26 Conduct of inspections.

(a) Preparation. (1) Prior to commencement of the inspection, the Safety and Health Inspector shall be provided all available relevant information which pertains to the occupational safety and health of the workplace to be inspected, including safety and health hazard reports, injury and illness records, previous inspection reports, and reports of unsafe and unhealthful working conditions.


(2) The Safety and Health Inspector shall determine in advance, where possible, the actual work procedures and conditions to be inspected, in order to have the proper equipment available to conduct an effective inspection.


(b) Inspection. (1) For the purpose of assuring safe and healthful working conditions for employees of agencies, the head of the agency shall authorize safety and/or health inspectors: To enter without delay, and at reasonable times, any building, installation, facility, construction site, or other area, workplace, or environment where work is performed by employees of the agency; to inspect and investigate during regular working hours and at other reasonable times, and within reasonable limits and in a reasonable manner, any such place of employment and all pertinent conditions, structures, machines, apparatus, devices, equipment, and materials therein, and to question privately any agency employee, and/or any agency supervisory employee, and/or any official in charge of an establishment.


(2) If there are no authorized representatives of employees, the inspector shall consult with a reasonable number of employees during the walkaround.


(3) When, in the opinion of the inspector, it is necessary to conduct personal monitoring (sampling) of employee’s work environments, the inspector may request employees to wear reasonable and necessary personal monitoring devices, e.g., noise dosimeters and air sampling pumps, for periods determined by the inspector to be necessary for complete and effective sampling of the environment.


(4) Upon request of the inspector, the employer shall encourage employees to wear the personal environmental monitoring devices during an inspection.


(5) Whenever and as soon as it is concluded on the basis of an inspection that a danger exists which could reasonably be expected to cause death or serious physical harm immediately, the inspector shall inform the affected employees and official in charge of the workplace of the danger. The official in charge of the workplace, or a person empowered to act for that official, shall undertake immediate abatement and the withdrawal of employees who are not necessary for abatement of the dangerous conditions. In the event the official in charge of the workplace needs assistance to undertake full abatement, that official shall promptly contact the Designated Agency Safety and Health Official and other responsible agency officials, who shall assist the abatement effort. Safety and health committees shall be informed of all relevant actions and representatives of the employees shall be so informed.


(6) At the conclusion of an inspection, the Safety and Health Inspector shall confer with the official in charge of the workplace or that official’s representative, and with an appropriate representative of the employees of the establishment, and informally advise them of any apparent unsafe or unhealthful working conditions disclosed by the inspection. During any such conference, the official in charge of the workplace and the employee representative shall be afforded an opportunity to bring to the attention of the Safety and Health Inspector any pertinent information regarding conditions in the workplace.


(c) Written reports and notices of unsafe or unhealthful working conditions. (1) The inspector shall, in writing, describe with particularity the procedures followed in the inspection and the findings which form the basis for the issuance of any Notice of Unsafe or Unhealthful Working Conditions.


(2) Each agency shall establish a procedure for the prompt issuance of a Notice of Unsafe or Unhealthful Working Conditions. Such notices shall be issued not later than 15 days after completion of the inspection for safety violations or not later than 30 days for health violations. If there are compelling reasons why such notice cannot be issued within the 15 days or 30 days indicated, the persons described in paragraph (c)(2)(iii) of this section shall be informed of the reasons for the delay. Such procedure shall include the following:


(i) Notices shall be in writing and shall describe with particularity the nature and degree of seriousness of the unsafe or unhealthful working condition, including a reference to the standard or other requirement involved;


(ii) The notice shall fix a reasonable time for the abatement of the unsafe or unhealthful working condition; and


(iii) A copy of the notice shall be sent to the official in charge of the workplace, the employee representative who participated in the closing conference, and/or the safety and health committee of the workplace, if any.


(3) Upon receipt of any notice of an unsafe or unhealthful working condition, the official in charge of a workplace shall immediately post such notice, or copy thereof, unedited, except for reason of national security, at or near each place an unsafe or unhealthful working condition referred to in the notice exists or existed. In addition, a notice shall be posted if any special procedures are in effect. Where, because of the nature of the workplace operations, it is not practicable to post the notice at or near each such place, such notice shall be posted, unedited, except for reason of national security, in a prominent place where it will be readily observable by all affected employees. For example, where workplace activities are physically dispersed, the notice may be posted at the location to which employees report each day. Where employees do not primarily work at or report to a single location, the notice may be posted at the location from which the employees operate to carry out their activities.


(4) Each notice of an unsafe or unhealthful working condition, or a copy thereof, shall remain posted until the unsafe or unhealthful working condition has been abated or for 3 working days whichever is later. A copy of the notice will be filed and maintained for a period of five years after abatement at the establishment and made available to the Secretary upon request.


[45 FR 69798, Oct. 21, 1980; 45 FR 77003, Nov. 21, 1980]


§ 1960.27 Representatives of officials in charge and representatives of employees.

(a) Safety and health inspectors shall be in charge of inspections and may interview any employee in private if the inspector deems it necessary. A representative of the official in charge of a workplace and a representative of employees shall be given an opportunity to accompany Safety and Health Inspectors during the physical inspection of any workplace, both to aid the inspection and to provide such representatives with more detailed knowledge of any existing or potential unsafe or unhealthful working conditions. The representative of employees shall be selected by the employees. Additional representatives of the official in charge and additional representatives of employees may accompany the Safety and Health Inspectors if it is determined by the inspector that such additional representatives will further aid the inspection. Different representatives of the employer and employees may be allowed to accompany the Inspector during each different phase of an inspection.


(b) Safety and health inspectors shall be authorized to deny the right of accompaniment under this section to any person whose participation interferes with a fair and orderly inspection.


(c) With regard to facilities classified in the interest of national security, only persons authorized to have access to such facilities shall be allowed to accompany a Safety and Health Inspector in such areas.


(d) Safety and health inspectors shall consult with employees concerning matters of occupational safety and health to the extent deemed necessary for the conduct of an effective and thorough inspection. During the course of an inspection, any employee shall be afforded an opportunity to bring to the attention of the Safety and Health Inspector any unsafe or unhealthful working condition which the employee has reason to believe exists in the workplace.


§ 1960.28 Employee reports of unsafe or unhealthful working conditions.

(a) The purpose of employee reports is to inform agencies of the existence of, or potential for, unsafe or unhealthful working conditions. A report under this part is not a grievance.


(b) This section provides guidance in establishing a channel of communication between agency employees and those with responsibilities for safety and health matters, e.g., their supervisor, the agency safety and health officials, safety and health committees, safety and health inspectors, the head of the agency, or the Secretary. These channels of communication are intended to assure prompt analysis and response to reports of unsafe or unhealthful working conditions in accordance with the requirements of Executive Order 12196. Since many safety and health problems can be eliminated as soon as they are identified, the existence of a formal channel of communication shall not preclude immediate corrective action by an employee’s supervisor in response to oral reports of unsafe or unhealthful working conditions where such action is possible. Nor should an employee be required to await the outcome of such an oral report before filing a written report pursuant to the provisions of this section.


(c) Any employee or representative of employees, who believes that an unsafe or unhealthful working condition exists in any workplace where such employee is employed, shall have the right and is encouraged to make a report of the unsafe or unhealthful working condition to an appropriate agency safety and health official and request an inspection of such workplace for this purpose. The report shall be reduced to writing either by the individual submitting the report or, in the case of an oral notification, by the above official or other person designated to receive the reports in the workplace. Any such report shall set forth the grounds for the report and shall contain the name of the employee or representative of employees. Upon the request of the individual making such report, no person shall disclose the name of the individual making the report or the names of individual employees referred to in the report, to anyone other than authorized representatives of the Secretary. In the case of imminent danger situations, employees shall make reports by the most expeditious means available.


(d) Reports received by the agency. (1) Each report of an existing or potential unsafe or unhealthful working condition should be recorded on a log maintained at the establishment. If an agency finds it inappropriate to maintain a log of written reports at the establishment level, it may avail itself of procedures set forth in § 1960.71. A copy of each report received shall be sent to the appropriate establishment safety and health committee.


(2) A sequentially numbered case file, coded for identification, should be assigned for purposes of maintaining an accurate record of the report and the response thereto. As a minimum, each establishment’s log should contain the following information: date, time, code/reference/file number, location of condition, brief description of the condition, classification (imminent danger, serious or other), and date and nature of action taken.


(3) Executive Order 12196 requires that agency inspections be conducted within 24 hours for employee reports of imminent danger conditions, within three working days for potentially serious conditions, and within 20 working days for other than serious safety and health conditions. However, an inspection may not be necessary if, through normal management action and with prompt notification to employees and safety and health committees, the hazardous condition(s) identified can be abated immediately.


(4) An employee submitting a report of unsafe or unhealthful conditions shall be notified in writing within 15 days if the official receiving the report determines there are not reasonable grounds to believe such a hazard exists and does not plan to make an inspection based on such report. A copy of each such notification shall be provided by the agency to the appropriate certified safety and health committee, where established under Executive Order 12196. An agency’s inspection or investigation report, if any, shall be made available to the employee making the report within 15 days after completion of the inspection, for safety violations or within 30 days for health violations, unless there are compelling reasons, and shall be made available to the Secretary or the Secretary’s authorized representative on request.


(e) Reports received by the Secretary of Labor. (1) Agency safety and health programs must have provisions for responding to employees’ reports of unsafe or unhealthful working conditions and the Secretary encourages employees to use agency procedures as the most expeditious means of achieving abatement of hazardous conditions. It is recognized, however, that employee reports may be received directly by the Secretary.


(2) When such reports are received directly from an employee or employee representative, the Secretary shall, where a certified safety and health committee exists, forward the report to the agency for handling in accordance with procedures outlined in § 1960.28(d). A copy of the response to the originator shall be sent to the Secretary.


(3) Where there is no certified safety and health committee, or when requested by half the members of a committee, the Secretary may initiate an inspection or other appropriate action. When the Secretary determines that an inspection is warranted, the Secretary shall observe the same response times as required of the agencies under the Executive Order and § 1960.28(d)(3). When the Secretary determines not to make an inspection, the report shall be forwarded to the agency for handling in accordance with procedures outlined in § 1960.28(d). A copy of the response to the originator shall be sent to the Secretary.


§ 1960.29 Accident investigation.

(a) While all accidents should be investigated, including accidents involving property damage only, the extent of such investigation shall be reflective of the seriousness of the accident.


(b) In any case, each accident which results in a fatality or the hospitalization of three or more employees shall be investigated to determine the causal factors involved. Except to the extent necessary to protect employees and the public, evidence at the scene of an accident shall be left untouched until inspectors have an opportunity to examine it.


(c) Any information or evidence uncovered during accident investigations which would be of benefit in developing a new OSHA standard or in modifying or revoking an existing standard should be promptly transmitted to the Secretary.


(d) The investigative report of the accident shall include appropriate documentation on date, time, location, description of operations, description of accident, photographs, interviews of employees and witnesses, measurements, and other pertinent information. A copy of the investigative report required by this section shall be forwarded to the official in charge of the workplace, the appropriate safety and health committee, and the exclusive employee representative, if any. The investigative report shall be made available to the Secretary or his authorized representative on request.


[45 FR 69798, Oct. 21, 1980, as amended at 69 FR 68804, Nov. 26, 2004]


§ 1960.30 Abatement of unsafe or unhealthful working conditions.

(a) The agency shall ensure the prompt abatement of unsafe and unhealthful conditions. Where a Notice of an Unsafe or Unhealthful Working Condition has been issued, abatement shall be within the time set forth in the notice, or in accordance with the established abatement plan.


(b) The procedures for correcting unsafe or unhealthful working conditions shall include a follow-up, to the extent necessary, to determine whether the correction was made. If, upon the follow-up, it appears that the correction was not made, or was not carried out in accordance with an abatement plan prepared pursuant to paragraph (c) of this section, the official in charge of the establishment and the appropriate safety and health committee shall be notified of the failure to abate.


(c) The official in charge of the establishment shall promptly prepare an abatement plan with the appropriate participation of the establishment’s Safety and Health Official or a designee, if in the judgment of the establishment official the abatement of an unsafe or unhealthful working condition will not be possible within 30 calendar days. Such plan shall contain an explanation of the circumstances of the delay in abatement, a proposed timetable for the abatement, and a summary of steps being taken in the interim to protect employees from being injured as a result of the unsafe or unhealthful working condition. A copy of the plan shall be sent to the safety and health committee, and, if no committee exists, to the representative of the employees. Any changes in an abatement plan will require the preparation of a new plan in accordance with the provisions of this section.


(d) When a hazard cannot be abated within the authority and resources of the official in charge of the establishment, that official shall request assistance from appropriate higher authority. The local safety and health official, any established committee and/or employee representatives, and all personnel subject to the hazard shall be advised of this action and of interim protective measures in effect, and shall be kept informed of subsequent progress on the abatement plan.


(e) When a hazard cannot be abated without assistance of the General Services Administration or other Federal lessor agency, the occupant agency shall act with the lessor agency to secure abatement. Procedures for coordination with the General Services Administration are contained in subpart E of this part.


(f) The procedures OSHA will use to verify Federal agency abatement are included in the private sector guidelines at 29 CFR 1903.19.


[45 FR 69798, Oct. 21, 1980, as amended at 78 FR 47190, Aug. 5, 2013]


§ 1960.31 Inspections by OSHA.

(a) The Secretary or the Secretary’s representatives are authorized to conduct, when the Secretary deems necessary, announced or unannounced inspections in the following situations:


(1) Where an agency has not established occupational safety and health committees or where committees no longer operate in conformance to the requirements of subpart F of this part;


(2) In response to a request from half the membership of record of any certified safety and health committee; and


(3) In response to an employee’s report of an imminent danger situation, where there is a certified committee, but where the Secretary determines that neither the agency nor the committee has responded to the employee.


(b) The Secretary’s inspectors or evaluators are authorized: to enter without delay, and at reasonable times, any building, installation, facility, construction site, or other area, workplace, or environment where work is performed by employees of the agency; to inspect and investigate during regular working hours and at other reasonable times, and within reasonable limits and in a reasonable manner, any such place of employment, and all pertinent conditions, structures, machines, apparatus, devices, equipment, and materials therein, and to question privately any employee, any supervisory employee, and/or any official in charge of an establishment.


(c) The Secretary may also make scheduled inspections as an integral part of OSHA’s evaluation of an agency’s safety and health program in accordance with subpart J of this part.


(d) OSHA inspections shall follow the general format set forth for agency inspections in other applicable parts of this subpart.


Subpart E – General Services Administration and Other Federal Agencies

§ 1960.34 General provisions.

Within six months of the effective date of this part, the Secretary of Labor and the Administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA) shall initiate a study of conflicts that may exist in their standards concerning Federal buildings, leased space, products purchased or supplied, and other requirements affecting Federal employee safety and health. Both agencies shall establish and publish a joint procedure for resolving conflicting standards. All other Federal agencies that have authority for purchasing equipment, supplies, and materials, and for controlling Government space, as well as the leasing of space, shall also be subject to the requirements of this subpart, including publication of a procedure for resolving conflicting standards.


(a) In order to assist agencies in carrying out their duties under section 19 of the Act, Executive Order 12196, and this part, the Administrator or the Administrator’s designee shall:


(1) Upon an agency’s request, furnish for any owned or leased space offered to a Federal agency for occupancy:


(i) A report of a recent pre-occupancy inspection to identify serious hazards or serious violations of OSHA standards or approved alternate standards, and


(ii) A plan for abatement of the hazards and violations discovered;


(2) Provide space which:


(i) Meets any special safety and health requirements submitted by the requesting agency, and


(ii) Does not contain either serious hazards or serious violations of OSHA standards or approved alternate standards which cannot be abated;


(3) Repair, renovate, or alter, upon an agency’s request, owned or leased space in a planned and controlled manner to reduce or eliminate, whenever possible, any hazardous exposure to the occupant agency’s employees;


(4) Accompany, upon request, the Secretary or the Secretary’s designee on any inspection or investigation of a facility subject to the authority of the General Services Administration. Requests made for this purpose shall, whenever possible, be made at the GSA regional level in order to facilitate prompt assistance;


(5) Investigate, upon an official agency request, reports of unsafe or unhealthful conditions within the scope of GSA’s responsibility. Such investigation, when requiring an on-site inspection, shall be completed within 24 hours for imminent danger situations, within three working days for potentially serious conditions, and within 20 working days for other safety and health risk conditions;


(6) Abate unsafe or unhealthful conditions disclosed by reports, investigation or inspection within 30 calendar days or submit to the occupant agency’s designated liaison official an abatement plan. Such abatement plan shall give priority to the allocation of resources to bring about prompt abatement of the conditions. (GSA shall publish procedures for abatement of hazards in the Federal Property Management Regulations – 41 CFR part 101);


(7) Establish an occupancy permit program which will regulate the types of activities and occupancies in facilities in order to avoid incompatible groupings, e.g., chemical or biological laboratories in office space. GSA shall seek to consolidate Federal laboratory operations in facilities designed for such purposes;


(8) Ensure, insofar as possible, that agency safety and health problems still outstanding are resolved, or otherwise answered by acceptable alternatives prior to renegotiation of leases; and


(9) Ensure that GSA or other Federal lessor agencies’ building managers maintain a log of reports of unsafe or unhealthful conditions submitted by tenants to include: date of receipt of report, action taken, and final resolution.


(b) Product safety. Agencies such as GSA, DOD, and others which procure and provide supplies, equipment, devices, and material for their own use or use by other agencies, except for the design of uniquely military products as set forth in § 1960.2(i), shall establish and maintain a product safety program which:


(1) Ensures that items procured will allow user agencies to use such products safely for their designed purpose and will facilitate user compliance with all applicable standards.


(2) Requires that products meet the applicable safety and health requirements of Federal law and regulations issued thereunder;


(3) Ensures that hazardous material will be labelled in accordance with current law or regulation to alert users, shippers, occupational safety and health, and emergency action personnel, and others, to basic information concerning flammability, toxicity, compatibility, first aid procedures, and normal as well as emergency handling and disposal procedures;


(4) Ensures availability of appropriate safety rescue and personal protective equipment to supply user agencies. The writing of Federal procurement specifications will be coordinated by GSA with OSHA/NIOSH as needed to assure purchase of approved products;


(5) Ensures that products recalled by the manufacturer, either voluntarily or by order from a regulatory authority, are removed from inventory. Each recall notice or order shall be forwarded to all agencies which have ordered such product from or through the procuring/supplying Federal agency, e.g., GSA, DOD, etc.;


(6) Includes preparation of FEDSTD 313, Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), involving all interested agencies in review to keep the standard current. MSDS provided by agencies or contractors shall meet the requirements of FEDSTD 313 and be furnished to DOD for filing and distribution.


(c) In order to assist agencies in carrying out their duties under section 19 of the Act, Executive Order 12196, and this part, the DOD operates and maintains an automated system to receive, file, reproduce, and make available MSDS data to other Federal agencies through the Government Printing Office or the National Technical Information Services.


(d) All Federal agencies shall use MSDS either provided by DOD, or acquired directly from suppliers, when purchasing hazardous materials (as defined in FEDSTD 313) for local use. These data will be used to develop detailed procedures to advise employees in the workplace of the hazards involved with the materials and to protect them therefrom.


(e) Safety and health services. GSA will operate and maintain for user agencies the following services:


(1) Listings in the “Federal Supply Schedule” of safety and health services and equipment which are approved for use by agencies when needed. Examples of such services are: Workplace inspections, training, industrial hygiene surveys, asbestos bulk sampling, and mobile health testing; examples of such equipment are: personal protective equipment and apparel, safety devices, and environmental monitoring equipment;


(2) Rules for assistance in the preparation of agency “Occupant Emergency Plans” (formerly called “Facility Self-Protection Plans”), to be published by GSA at 41 CFR part 101;


(3) An effective maintenance program in the Interagency Motorpool System which will ensure the safety and health of Federal employees utilizing the vehicles. Critical items to be included are: Exhaust systems, brakes, tires, lights, steering, and passenger restraint or other crash protection systems; and


(4) A rapid response system whereby agencies can alert GSA to unsafe or unhealthful items purchased or contracted for by GSA, which in turn will evaluate the reports, initiate corrective action, as appropriate, and advise use agencies of interim protective measures.


§ 1960.35 National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

(a) The Director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) shall, upon request by the Secretary, assist in:


(1) Evaluations of Federal agency safety and health programs;


(2) Investigations of possible safety and health hazards and


(3) Inspections resulting from employee or committee reports of unsafe or unhealthful working conditions.


(b) The Director of NIOSH shall provide a Hazard Evaluation (HE) program for Federal agencies. This program shall be designed to respond to requests for assistance in determining whether or not safety or health hazards are present in a Federal workplace. Requests for such Hazard Evaluations may be submitted to the Director by:


(1) The Secretary of Labor;


(2) The Head of a Federal agency;


(3) An agency safety and health committee if half the committee requests such service; and


(4) Employees who are not covered by a certified safety and health committee.


(c) The Director of NIOSH may assist agencies by providing hazard alerts, technical services, training materials and conducting training programs upon request by an agency and with reimbursement.


Subpart F – Occupational Safety and Health Committees

§ 1960.36 General provisions.

(a) The occupational safety and health committees described in this subpart are organized and maintained basically to monitor and assist an agency’s safety and health program. These committees assist agencies to maintain an open channel of communication between employees and management concerning safety and health matters in agency workplaces. The committees provide a method by which employees can utilize their knowledge of workplace operations to assist agency management to improve policies, conditions, and practices.


(b) Agencies may elect to establish safety and health committees meeting the minimum requirements contained in this subpart. Where such committees are not established or fail to meet the minimum requirements established by the Secretary, the Secretary is authorized by section 1-401(i) of Executive Order 12196 to conduct unannounced inspections of agency workplaces when the Secretary determines them necessary.


§ 1960.37 Committee organization.

(a) For agencies which elect to utilize the committee concept, safety and health committees shall be formed at both the national level and, for agencies with field or regional offices, at appropriate levels within the agency. To realize exemption from unannounced OSHA inspections, an agency must form a committee at the national level and at any establishment or grouping of establishments that is to be exempt, keeping the Secretary advised of the locations and activities where such committees are functioning.


(1) The principal function of the national level committee shall be to consult and provide policy advice on, and monitor the performance of, the agency-wide safety and health program.


(2) Committees at other appropriate levels shall be established at agency establishments or groupings of establishments consistent with the mission, size and organization of the agency and its collective bargaining configuration. The agency shall form committees at the lowest practicable local level. The principal function of the establishment (or local) committees is to monitor and assist in the execution of the agency’s safety and health policies and program at the workplaces within their jurisdiction. Any dispute over the meaning of the term “appropriate levels” shall be resolved by the Secretary.


(b) Committees shall have equal representation of management and nonmanagement employees, who shall be members of record.


(1) Management members of both national level and establishment level committees shall be appointed in writing by the person empowered to make such appointments.


(2) Nonmanagement members of establishment level committees shall represent all employees of the establishment and shall be determined according to the following rules:


(i) Where employees are represented under collective bargaining arrangements, members shall be appointed from among those recommended by the exclusive bargaining representative;


(ii) Where employees are not represented under collective bargaining arrangements, members shall be determined through procedures devised by the agency which provide for effective representation of all employees; and


(iii) Where some employees of an establishment are covered under collective bargaining arrangements and others are not, members shall be representative of both groups.


(3) Nonmanagement members of national level committees shall be determined according to the following rules:


(i) Where employees are represented by organizations having exclusive recognition on an agency basis or by organizations having national consultation rights, some members shall be determined in accordance with the terms of collective bargaining agreements and some members shall be selected from those organizations having consultation rights, and


(ii) Where employees are not represented by organizations meeting the criteria of paragraph (b)(3)(i) of this section, members shall be determined through procedures devised by the agency which provide for effective representation of all employees.


(c) Committee members should serve overlapping terms. Such terms should be of at least two years duration, except when the committee is initially organized.


(d) The committee chairperson shall be nominated from among the committee’s members and shall be elected by the committee members. Management and nonmanagement members should alternate in this position. Maximum service time as chairperson should be two consecutive years.


(e) Committees shall establish a regular schedule of meetings and special meetings shall be held as necessary; establishment level committees shall meet at least quarterly and national committees shall meet at least annually.


(f) Adequate advance notice of committee meetings shall be furnished to employees and each meeting shall be conducted pursuant to a prepared agenda.


(g) Written minutes of each committee meeting shall be maintained and distributed to each committee member, and upon request, shall be made available to employees and to the Secretary.


§ 1960.38 Committee formation.

(a) Upon forming such committees, heads of agencies shall submit information to the Secretary concerning the existence, location, and coverage, in terms of establishments and population, of such committees, certifying to the Secretary that such committees meet the requirements of this subpart. The information submitted should include the name and telephone numbers of the chairperson of each committee, and should be updated annually as part of the annual report required by § 1960.74 to reflect any changes that may have occurred.


(b) If, upon evaluation, the Secretary determines that the operations of a committee do not meet the requirements of this subpart, the Secretary shall notify the agency and identify the deficiencies to be remedied. If the agency does not satisfy the Secretary within 90 days that the committee meets the requirements of this subpart, the committee shall not be deemed a committee under Executive Order 12196 and this part.


[45 FR 69798, Oct. 21, 1980; 45 FR 77003, Nov. 21, 1980, as amended at 49 FR 3080, Jan. 24, 1984]


§ 1960.39 Agency responsibilities.

(a) Agencies shall make available to committees all agency information relevant and necessary to their duties, except where prohibited by law. Examples of such information include, but are not limited to: The agency’s safety and health policies and program; human and financial resources available to implement the program; accident, injury, and illness data; epidemiological data; employee exposure monitoring data; Material Safety Data Sheets; inspection reports; reprisal investigation reports; abatement plans; NIOSH hazard evaluation reports; and internal and external evaluation reports.


(b) Agencies shall provide all committee members appropriate training as required by subpart H of this part.


§ 1960.40 Establishment committee duties.

(a) The safety and health committee is an integral part of the safety and health program, and helps ensure effective implementation of the program at the establishment level.


(b) An establishment committee formed under this subpart shall, except where prohibited by law:


(1) Monitor and assist the safety and health program at establishments under its jurisdiction and make recommendations to the official in charge on the operation of the program;


(2) Monitor findings and reports of workplace inspections to confirm that appropriate corrective measures are implemented;


(3) When requested by the agency Safety and Health Official, or when the committee deems it necessary for effective monitoring of agency establishment inspection procedures, participate in inspections of the establishment;


(4) Review internal and external evaluation reports and make recommendations concerning the establishment safety and health program;


(5) Review, and recommend changes, as appropriate, to procedures for handling safety and health suggestions and recommendations from employees;


(6) When requested by the Designated Agency Safety and Health Official, or when the committee deems it necessary, comment on standards proposed pursuant to the provisions of subpart C of this part;


(7) Monitor and recommend changes, as required, in the level of resources allocated and spent on the establishment safety and health program;


(8) Review agency responses to reports of hazardous conditions, safety and health program deficiencies, and allegations of reprisal;


(9) Report their dissatisfaction to the Secretary if half a committee determines there are deficiencies in the establishment’s safety and health program or is not satisfied with the agency’s reports of reprisal investigations; and


(10) Request the Secretary to conduct an evaluation or inspection if half the members of record are not satisfied with an agency’s response to a report of hazardous working conditions.


§ 1960.41 National committee duties.

National committees established under this subpart shall, except where prohibited by law:


(a) Monitor performance of the agency safety and health program and make policy recommendations to the head of the agency on the operation of the program;


(b) Monitor and assist in the development and operation of the agency’s establishment committees. As the committee deems appropriate, monitor and review: Reports of inspections; internal and external evaluation reports; agency safety and health training programs; proposed agency standards; agency plans for abating hazards; and responses to reports of hazardous conditions; safety and health program deficiencies; and allegations of reprisal;


(c) Monitor and recommend changes in the resources allocated to the entire agency safety and health program;


(d) Report their dissatisfaction to the Secretary if half a committee determines there are deficiencies in the agency’s safety and health program or is not satisfied with the agency’s reports of reprisal investigations; and


(e) Request the Secretary to conduct an evaluation or inspection if half the members of record are not satisfied with an agency’s response to a report of hazardous working conditions.


Subpart G – Allegations of Reprisal

§ 1960.46 Agency responsibility.

(a) The head of each agency shall establish procedures to assure that no employee is subject to restraint, interference, coercion, discrimination or reprisal for filing a report of an unsafe or unhealthful working condition, or other participation in agency occupational safety and health program activities, or because of the exercise by such employee on behalf of himself or herself or others of any right afforded by section 19 of the Act, Executive Order 12196, or this part. These rights include, among other, the right of an employee to decline to perform his or her assigned task because of a reasonable belief that, under the circumstances the task poses an imminent risk of death or serious bodily harm coupled with a reasonable belief that there is insufficient time to seek effective redress through normal hazard reporting and abatement procedures established in accordance with this part.


(b) Based on the Secretary’s evaluation of agencies’ procedures for protecting employees from reprisal, the Secretary shall report to the President by September 30, 1982 his findings and recommendations for improvements in procedures for the investigation and resolution of allegations of reprisal.


§ 1960.47 Results of investigations.

Each agency shall keep occupational safety and health committees advised of agency activity regarding allegations of reprisal and any agency determinations thereof. Agency officials shall provide copies of reprisal investigation findings, if any, to the Secretary and to the appropriate safety and health committee.


Subpart H – Training

§ 1960.54 Training of top management officials.

Each agency shall provide top management officials with orientation and other learning experiences which will enable them to manage the occupational safety and health programs of their agencies. Such orientation should include coverage of section 19 of the Act, Executive Order 12196, the requirements of this part, and the agency safety and health program.


§ 1960.55 Training of supervisors.

(a) Each agency shall provide occupational safety and health training for supervisory employees that includes: supervisory responsibility for providing and maintaining safe and healthful working conditions for employees, the agency occupational safety and health program, section 19 of the Act, Executive Order 12196, this part, occupational safety and health standards applicable to the assigned workplaces, agency procedures for reporting hazards, agency procedures for reporting and investigating allegations of reprisal, and agency procedures for the abatement of hazards, as well as other appropriate rules and regulations.


(b) This supervisory training should include introductory and specialized courses and materials which will enable supervisors to recognize and eliminate, or reduce, occupational safety and health hazards in their working units. Such training shall also include the development of requisite skills in managing the agency’s safety and health program within the work unit, including the training and motivation of subordinates toward assuring safe and healthful work practices.


§ 1960.56 Training of safety and health specialists.

(a) Each agency shall provide occupational safety and health training for safety and health specialists through courses, laboratory experiences, field study, and other formal learning experiences to prepare them to perform the necessary technical monitoring, consulting, testing, inspecting, designing, and other tasks related to program development and implementation, as well as hazard recognition, evaluation and control, equipment and facility design, standards, analysis of accident, injury, and illness data, and other related tasks.


(b) Each agency shall implement career development programs for their occupational safety and health specialists to enable the staff to meet present and future program needs of the agency.


§ 1960.57 Training of safety and health inspectors.

Each agency shall provide training for safety and health inspectors with respect to appropriate standards, and the use of appropriate equipment and testing procedures necessary to identify and evaluate hazards and suggest general abatement procedures during or following their assigned inspections, as well as preparation of reports and other documentation to support the inspection findings.


§ 1960.58 Training of collateral duty safety and health personnel and committee members.

Within six months after October 1, 1980, or on appointment of an employee to a collateral duty position or to a committee, each agency shall provide training for collateral duty safety and health personnel and all members of certified occupational safety and health committees commensurate with the scope of their assigned responsibilities. Such training shall include: The agency occupational safety and health program; section 19 of the Act; Executive Order 12196; this part; agency procedures for the reporting, evaluation and abatement of hazards; agency procedures for reporting and investigating allegations of reprisal, the recognition of hazardous conditions and environments; identification and use of occupational safety and health standards, and other appropriate rules and regulations.


§ 1960.59 Training of employees and employee representatives.

(a) Each agency shall provide appropriate safety and health training for employees including specialized job safety and health training appropriate to the work performed by the employee, for example: Clerical; printing; welding; crane operation; chemical analysis, and computer operations. Such training also shall inform employees of the agency occupational safety and health program, with emphasis on their rights and responsibilities.


(b) Occupational safety and health training for employees of the agency who are representatives of employee groups, such as labor organizations which are recognized by the agency, shall include both introductory and specialized courses and materials that will enable such groups to function appropriately in ensuring safe and healthful working conditions and practices in the workplace and enable them to effectively assist in conducting workplace safety and health inspections. Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to alter training provisions provided by law, Executive Order, or collective bargaining arrangements.


§ 1960.60 Training assistance.

(a) Agency heads may seek training assistance from the Secretary of Labor, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and other appropriate sources.


(b) After the effective date of Executive Order 12196, the Secretary shall, upon request and with reimbursement, conduct orientation for Designated Agency Safety and Health Officials and/or their designees which will enable them to manage the occupational safety and health programs of their agencies. Such orientation shall include coverage of section 19 of the Act, Executive Order 12196, and the requirements of this part.


(c) Upon request and with reimbursement, the Department of Labor shall provide each agency with training materials to assist in fulfilling the training needs of this subpart, including resident and field training courses designed to meet selected training needs of agency safety and health specialists, safety and health inspectors, and collateral duty safety and health personnel. These materials and courses in no way reduce each agency’s responsibility to provide whatever specialized training is required by the unique characteristics of its work.


(d) In cooperation with OPM, the Secretary will develop guidelines and/or provide materials for the safety and health training programs for high-level managers, supervisors, members of committees, and employee representatives.


Subpart I – Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements


Source:69 FR 68804, Nov. 26, 2004, unless otherwise noted.

§ 1960.66 Purpose, scope and general provisions.

(a) The purpose of this subpart is to establish uniform requirements for collecting and compiling by agencies of occupational safety and health data, for proper evaluation and necessary corrective action, and to assist the Secretary in meeting the requirement to develop and maintain an effective program of collection, compilation, and analysis of occupational safety and health statistics.


(b) Except as modified by this subpart, Federal agency injury and illness recording and reporting requirements shall comply with the requirements under 29 CFR part 1904, subparts C, D, E, and G, except that the definition of “establishment” found in 29 CFR 1960.2(h) will remain applicable to Federal agencies.


(c) Each agency shall utilize the information collected through its management information system to identify unsafe and unhealthful working conditions, and to establish program priorities.


(d) The provisions of this subpart are not intended to discourage agencies from utilizing recordkeeping and reporting forms which contain a more detailed breakdown of information than the recordkeeping and reporting forms provided by the Department of Labor. Because of the unique nature of the national recordkeeping program, Federal agencies must have recording and reporting requirements that are the same as 29 CFR part 1904 for determining which injuries and illnesses will be entered into the records and how they are entered. All other injury and illness recording and reporting requirements used by any Federal agency may be more stringent than, or supplemental to, the requirements of 29 CFR part 1904, but must not interfere with the agency’s ability to provide the injury and illness information required by 29 CFR part 1904.


(e) Information concerning occupational injuries and illnesses or accidents which, pursuant to statute or Executive Order, must be kept secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy shall be recorded on separate forms. Such records shall not be submitted to the Department of Labor but may be used by the appropriate Federal agency in evaluating the agency’s program to reduce occupational injuries, illnesses and accidents.



Note to § 1960.66:

The recording or reporting of a work-related injury, illness or fatality does not constitute an admission that the Federal agency, or other individual was at fault or otherwise responsible for purposes of liability. Such recording or reporting does not constitute an admission of the existence of an employer/employee relationship between the individual recording the injury and the injured individual. The recording or reporting of any such injury, illness or fatality does not mean that an OSHA rule has been violated or that the individual in question is eligible for workers’ compensation or any other benefits. The requirements of this part do not diminish or modify in any way a Federal agency’s responsibilities to report or record injuries and illnesses as required by the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA), 5 U.S.C. 8101 et seq.


(f) Retention and access of employee exposure and medical records shall be in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.1020.


[69 FR 68804, Nov. 26, 2004, as amended at 78 FR 47190, Aug. 5, 2013]


§ 1960.67 Federal agency certification of the injury and illness annual summary (OSHA 300-A or equivalent).

As required by 29 CFR 1904.32, a company executive must certify that he or she has examined the OSHA 300 Log and that he or she believes, based on his or her knowledge of the process by which the information was recorded, that the annual summary is correct and complete. For Federal establishments, the person who performs the certification shall be one of the following:


(a) The senior establishment management official,


(b) The head of the Agency for which the senior establishment management official works, or


(c) Any management official who is in the direct chain of command between the senior establishment management official and the head of the Agency.



Note to § 1960.67:

The requirement for certification of Federal agency injury and illness records in this section is necessary because the private sector position titles contained in 29 CFR part 1904 do not fit the Federal agency position titles for agency executives. The Federal officials listed in this section are intended to be the equivalent of the private sector officials who are required to certify records under § 1904.32(b)(4).


§ 1960.68 Prohibition against discrimination.

Section 1904.36 of this chapter refers to Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. For Federal agencies, the words “Section 11(c)” shall be read as “Executive Order 12196 Section 1-201(f).”



Note to § 1960.68:

Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act only applies to private sector employers and the U.S. Postal Service. The corresponding prohibitions against discrimination applicable to Federal employers are contained in Section 1-201(f) of Executive Order 12196, 45 FR 12769, 3 CFR, 1980 Comp. p. 145.


§ 1960.69 Retention and updating of old forms.

Federal agencies must retain copies of the recordkeeping records utilized under the system in effect prior to January 1, 2005 for five years following the year to which they relate and continue to provide access to the data as though these forms were the OSHA Form 300 Log and Form 301 Incident Report. Agencies are not required to update the old forms.


§ 1960.70 Reporting of serious accidents.

Agencies must provide the Office of Federal Agency Programs with a summary report of each fatal and catastrophic accident investigation. The summaries shall address the date/time of accident, agency/establishment named and location, and consequences, description of operation and the accident, causal factors, applicable standards and their effectiveness, and agency corrective/preventive actions.



Note to § 1960.70:

The requirements of this section are in addition to the requirements for reporting fatalities and multiple hospitalization incidents to OSHA under 29 CFR 1904.39.


§ 1960.71 Agency annual reports.

(a) The Act and E.O. 12196 require all Federal agency heads to submit to the Secretary an annual report on their agency’s occupational safety and health program, containing such information as the Secretary prescribes.


(1) Each agency must submit to the Secretary by May 1 of each year a report describing the agency’s occupational safety and health program of the previous calendar year and objectives for the current fiscal year. The report shall include a summary of the agency’s self-evaluation finding as required by § 1960.78(b).


(2) The Secretary must provide the agencies with the guidelines and format for the reports at the time they are requested.


(3) The agency reports will be used in preparing the Secretary’s report to the President.


(b) The Secretary will submit to the President by January 1 of each year a summary report of the status of the occupational safety and health of Federal employees based on agency reports, evaluations of individual agency progress and problems in correcting unsafe or unhealthful working conditions, and recommendations for improving their performance.


[69 FR 68804, Nov. 26, 2004, as amended at 78 FR 47190, Aug. 5, 2013]


§ 1960.72 Reporting Federal Agency Injury and Illness Information.

(a) Each agency must submit to the Secretary by May 1 of each year all information included on the agency’s previous calendar year’s occupational injury and illness recordkeeping forms. The information submitted must include all data entered on the OSHA Form 300, Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (or equivalent); OSHA Form 301, Injury and Illness Incident Report (or equivalent); and OSHA Form 300A, Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (or equivalent).


(b) The Secretary must provide each agency by January 15 of each year with the format and guidelines for electronically submitting the agency’s occupational injury and illness recordkeeping information.


(c) Each agency must submit to the Secretary by May 1, 2014, a list of all establishments. The list must include information about the department/agency affiliation, NAICS code, a street address, city, state and zip code. Federal agencies are also responsible for updating their list of establishments by May 1 of each year when they submit the annual report to the Secretary required by § 1960.71(a)(1).


[78 FR 47190, Aug. 5, 2013]


§ 1960.73 Federal agency injury and illness recordkeeping forms.

(a) When filling out the OSHA Form 300 or equivalent, each agency must enter the employee’s OPM job series number and job title in Column (c).


(b) When recording the injuries and illnesses of uncompensated volunteers, each agency must enter a “V” before the OPM job series number in Column (c) of the OSH Form 300 log or equivalent.


(c) Each agency must calculate the total number of hours worked by uncompensated volunteers.


[78 FR 47191, Aug. 5, 2013]


§ 1960.74 [Reserved]

Subpart J – Evaluation of Federal Occupational Safety and Health Programs

§ 1960.78 Purpose and scope.

(a) The purpose of this subpart is to establish a comprehensive program for the evaluation of Federal employee occupational safety and health programs. This subpart includes the responsibilities of agency heads in conducting self-evaluations of the effectiveness of their occupational safety and health programs, and the responsibilities of the Secretary in evaluating the extent to which each agency head has developed and implemented agency programs in accordance with the requirements of Executive Order 12196 and this part.


(b) Agency heads shall develop and implement a program for evaluating the effectiveness of their agency’s occupational safety and health program. An annual summary report shall be submitted to the Secretary covering self-evaluations conducted during the previous year.


(c) The Secretary shall conduct a comprehensive evaluation of each Federal agency’s occupational safety and health program. Evaluations shall be conducted on a regular schedule to determine the performance levels of each agency’s program. The Secretary shall submit to the President each year: A summary report of the status of the occupational safety and health of Federal employees; Department of Labor evaluations, together with agency responses, of individual agency progress and problems in correcting unsafe and unhealthful working conditions, and recommendations for improving agency’s performance.


§ 1960.79 Self-evaluations of occupational safety and health programs.

Agency heads shall develop and implement a program of self-evaluations to determine the effectiveness of their occupational safety and health programs. The self-evaluations are to include qualitative assessments of the extent to which their agency safety and health programs are:


(a) Developed in accordance with the requirements set forth in Executive Order 12196 and this part and,


(b) Implemented effectively in all agency field activities.


Agencies needing assistance in developing a self-evaluation program should contact the Secretary.


§ 1960.80 Secretary’s evaluations of agency occupational safety and health programs.

(a) In accordance with section 1-401(h), the Secretary shall develop a comprehensive program for evaluating an agency’s occupational safety and health program. To accomplish this, the Secretary shall conduct:


(1) A complete and extensive evaluation of all elements of an agency’s occupational safety and health program on a regular basis;


(2) Special studies of limited areas of an agency’s occupational safety and health program as deemed necessary by the Secretary; and


(3) Field reviews and scheduled inspections of agency workplaces as deemed necessary by the Secretary.


(b) The Secretary shall develop and distribute to Federal agencies detailed information on the Department of Labor’s evaluation program. The information shall include, but is not limited to:


(1) The major program elements included in a complete and extensive evaluation of an agency’s occupational safety and health program;


(2) The methods and factors used to determine the effectiveness of each element of an agency’s program;


(3) The factors used to define “large” or “more hazardous” Federal agencies, establishments, or operations;


(4) The procedures for conducting evaluations including field visits and scheduled inspections; and


(5) The reporting format for agency heads in submitting annual summaries of their self-evaluation programs.


(c) Prior to the initiation of an agency evaluation, the Department of Labor will review the annual agency self-evaluation summary report. The Secretary will then develop a program evaluation plan before the initiation of an agency evaluation. A copy of the plan shall be furnished to the agency to be evaluated at the time of the notification of the evaluation.


(d) To facilitate the evaluation process and to insure full understanding of the procedures to be followed and the support required from the agency, the Secretary, or the Secretary’s representative, shall conduct an opening conference with the agency head or designee. At the opening conference, the Secretary’s authority and evaluation plan will be explained.


(e) The agency evaluation should be completed within 90 calendar days of the date of the opening conference.


(f) A report of the evaluation shall be submitted to the agency head by the Secretary within 90 calendar days from the date of the closing conference.


(g) Agency heads shall respond to the evaluation report within 60 calendar days of receipt of the report.


[45 FR 69798, Oct. 21, 1980; 45 FR 77003, Nov. 21, 1980]


Subpart K – Field Federal Safety and Health Councils

§ 1960.84 Purpose.

(a) Executive Order 12196 provides that the Secretary shall “facilitate the exchange of ideas and information throughout the Government about occupational safety and health.”


(b) Consistent with this objective, the Secretary will continue to sponsor and/or provide guidance for those Field Federal Safety and Health Councils now established and in operation, and establish new field councils as necessary. The field councils will consist primarily of qualified representatives of local area Federal field activities whose duties pertain to occupational safety and health, and also of representatives of recognized local labor organizations, or other civilian employee organizations, at local area Federal field activities. For the purpose of this subpart the definition of field activity will be provided by each agency.


§ 1960.85 Role of the Secretary.

(a) The Secretary shall maintain liaison with agency heads to ensure that they encourage their field activities to participate actively in field council programs. To ensure maximum participation, the field councils’ annual reports to the Secretary shall provide descriptions of the degree of management and employee participation by the defined Federal field activities. The Secretary shall annually furnish each agency head with a report consolidating the information received as to the participation of the agency’s several field installations in field council activities.


(b) The Secretary shall provide leadership and guidance and make available necessary equipment, supplies, and staff services to the Field Federal Safety and Health Councils to assist them in carrying out their responsibilities. The Secretary shall also provide consultative and technical services to field councils. These services shall involve aid in any phase of developing and planning programs; and in sponsoring, conducting or supporting safety and health training courses.


§ 1960.86 Establishing councils.

(a) Those field councils established and in operation prior to the effective date of this subpart will continue to function without interruption provided they are operating in accordance with the provision of their charter and this subpart.


(b) The Secretary may establish a council in any area where ten or more Federal establishments totaling 300 or more employees are located within an area having a radius of 50 miles, and there is substantial agreement among the agencies that such a council would be useful. In any such area where there is no council already established, a field representative of the Secretary may, upon his own initiative or at the request of any establishment within the area, contact representatives of all establishments within the area and encourage the organization of a field council.


(c) After a new council has been organized, officers elected, and articles of organization drafted and accepted by the council membership, a formal request for recognition as a field council shall be sent to the Secretary. Upon approval of the Articles of Organization, a charter will be issued.


(d) At the first general meeting of the council, committees should be appointed and the cooperation of all participants should be solicited to aid the functioning of committees and the successful accomplishment of the council’s objectives.


§ 1960.87 Objectives.

The basic objective of field councils is to facilitate the exchange of ideas and information to assist agencies to reduce the incidence, severity and cost of occupational accidents, injuries, and illnesses. Field councils shall act on behalf of the Secretary or his designees on occupational safety and health activities in carrying out within their respective geographic areas the following functions:


(a) To act as a clearinghouse on information and data on occupational accidents, injuries, and illnesses and their prevention.


(b) To plan, organize and conduct field council meetings or programs which will give technical advice and information on occupational safety and health to representatives of participating agencies and employee organizations.


(c) To promote improvement of safety and health programs and organizations in each Federal agency represented or participating in council activities.


(d) To promote coordination, cooperation, and sharing of resources and expertise to aid agencies with inadequate or limited resources. These objectives can be accomplished in a variety of ways. For example, field councils could organize and conduct training programs for employee representatives, collateral duty and professional safety and health personnel, coordinate or promote programs for inspections, or, on request, conduct inspections and evaluations of the agencies’ safety and health programs.


(e) To provide Federal Executive Boards, Federal Executive Associations, labor union organizations and other employee representatives with information on the administrative and technical aspects of safety and health programs.


(f) To evaluate the safety and health problems peculiar to local conditions and facilitate solutions to these problems through council activities.


(g) To develop a cooperative relationship with local community leaders by informing them of the existing functions and objectives of the council and by calling on them for support and participation in council meetings and activities.


§ 1960.88 Membership and participation.

(a) Each field council shall consist of the designated representatives of local Federal activities appointed by their respective activity heads, after consultation with appropriate employee representatives and appropriate certified safety and health committees.


(b) Federal agency heads should encourage each field activity having responsibility for the safety and health of agency employees to participate in the programs of these councils.


(c) Each activity head shall appoint an equal number of officially designated representatives (with designated alternates), from management and from nonmanagement employees, consistent with applicable collective bargaining arrangements.


(d) Representatives shall be selected from individuals in the following categories:


(1) Federal occupational safety and health professionals.


(2) Related Federal professionals, or collateral duty personnel. This includes persons employed in professions or occupations related to or concerned with safety and health of employees.


(3) Line management officials.


(4) Representatives of recognized Federal labor or other employee organizations.


(i) Where certified occupational safety and health committees exist, nonmanagement members of the committees shall be given the opportunity to select one individual for official appointment to field councils by the activity head.


(ii) Where employees are represented by collective bargaining arrangements, but no committee exists, nonmanagement members of field councils shall be selected from among those recommended by the exclusive bargaining representatives for official appointment to field councils by the activity head.


(iii) Where some employees in an activity are represented by collective bargaining arrangements and others are not, the agency head should solicit nominations for the agency’s designated nonmanagement representative and alternate both from lawful labor organization(s) with collective bargaining status and from employees not represented through collective bargaining and should select from the nominees for official appointment as designated employee representatives on the field council.


(e) Representatives from non-Federal organizations. Associate membership may be granted to any non-Federally employed person who demonstrated interest in occupational safety and health. An associate member has no voting rights and may not hold any office.


(f) No maximum limitation shall be imposed by a council on itself, in regard to the numbers of personnel in any of the above categories that may attend meetings and/or participate in field council activities. An agency is free to have any number of individuals, in addition to the officially designated representatives participate in council activities.


(g) Only officially designated agency representatives or their alternates shall have voting privileges. All representatives and participants shall serve without additional compensation.


(h) Travel funds shall be made available equally to management and nonmanagement employee representatives.


§ 1960.89 Organization.

(a) Field council officers shall include, as a minimum, a chairperson, vice chairperson, and secretary. Officers shall be elected for a one or two-year term on a calendar year basis by a majority vote of the designated representatives. Election of officers shall be held at least 60 days before the beginning of a calendar year. The election may be conducted at a regularly scheduled meeting or by letter ballot.


(b) Each council shall notify the appropriate OSHA Regional Office and the Office of Federal Agency Safety and Health Programs of the name, agency address, and telephone number of each newly elected official.


(c) Each council shall have an Executive Committee consisting of all elected officers, chairpersons of appointed committees and the immediate past chairperson of the field council.


(d) In addition to the Executive Committee, each council shall have either a membership committee, a program committee and a finance committee, or a council official designated responsibility in these areas. Additional committees may be appointed by the chairperson for specific purposes as warranted.


§ 1960.90 Operating procedures.

(a) The Executive Committee of each council shall meet at least 45 days before the beginning of each calendar year to approve an annual program for the council designed to accomplish the objectives and functions stated in § 1960.87. In addition, the Executive Committee shall meet periodically to ensure that the meetings and other activities of the council are being conducted as outlined in the council schedule.


(b) The council program shall include at least four meetings or activities per year dealing with occupational safety and health issues.


(c) Each field council shall submit to the Secretary or his designee by March 15 of each year a report describing the activities and programs of the previous calendar year and plans for the current year. In addition, the report shall address the participation and attendance of designated representatives of the council. The Office of Federal Agency Safety and Health Programs, OSHA, shall furnish guidelines to field councils concerning the preparation of this report.


(d) Upon determination that a council is not operating in accordance with its charter and the provisions of this subpart, and after consultation with appropriate OSHA regional officials, the Secretary shall revoke the council’s charter. Upon revocation of a charter, the council shall surrender all its government property to the appropriate OSHA regional official. Any continuing or future organization in the same geographical area shall not use the title Field Federal Safety and Health Council, or any derivation thereof, unless formally rechartered by the Secretary. Notification of revocation of a council’s charter shall be sent to the chairperson, where identifiable, and to the appropriate OSHA Regional Office.


PART 1975 – COVERAGE OF EMPLOYERS UNDER THE WILLIAMS-STEIGER OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ACT OF 1970


Authority:Secs. 2, 3, 4, 8, Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 651, 652, 653, 657); Secretary of Labor’s Order No. 12-71 (36 FR 8754).


Source:37 FR 929, Jan. 21, 1972, unless otherwise noted.

§ 1975.1 Purpose and scope.

(a) Among other things, the Williams-Steiger Act poses certain duties on employers. This part has the limited purpose and scope of clarifying which persons are considered to be employers either as a matter of interpretation of the intent and terms of the Act or as a matter of policy appropriate to administering and enforcing the Act. In short, the purpose and scope of this part is to indicate which persons are covered by the Act as employers and, as such, subject to the requirements of the Act.


(b) It is not the purpose of this part to indicate the legal effect of the Act, once coverage is determined. Section 4(b)(1) of the Act provides that the statute shall be inapplicable to working conditions to the extent they are subject to another Federal agency’s exercise of different statutory authority affecting the occupational safety and health aspects of those conditions. Therefore, a person may be considered an employer covered by the Act, and yet standards issued under the Act respecting certain working conditions would not be applicable to the extent those conditions were subject to another agency’s authority.


§ 1975.2 Basis of authority.

The power of Congress to regulate employment conditions under the Williams-Steiger Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, is derived mainly from the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. (section 2(b), Pub. L. 91-596; U.S. Constitution, Art. I, Sec. 8, Cl. 3; “United States v. Darby,” 312 U.S. 100.) The reach of the Commerce Clause extends beyond Federal regulation of the channels and instrumentalities of interstate commerce so as to empower Congress to regulate conditions or activities which affect commerce even though the activity or condition may itself not be commerce and may be purely intrastate in character. (“Gibbons v. Ogden,” 9 Wheat. 1, 195; “United States v. Darby,” supra; “Wickard v. Filburn,” 317 U.S. 111, 117; and “Perez v. United States,” 91 S. Ct. 1357 (1971).) And it is not necessary to prove that any particular intrastate activity affects commerce, if the activity is included in a class of activities which Congress intended to regulate because the class affects commerce. (“Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. v. United States,” 379 U.S. 241; “Katzenbach v. McClung,” 379 U.S. 294; and “Perez v. United States,” supra.) Generally speaking, the class of activities which Congress may regulate under the commerce power may be as broad and as inclusive as Congress intends, since the commerce power is plenary and has no restrictions placed on it except specific constitutional prohibitions and those restrictions Congress, itself, places on it. (“United States v. Wrightwood Dairy Co.,” 315 U.S. 110; and “United States v. Darby,” supra.) Since there are no specific constitutional prohibitions involved, the issue is reduced to the question: How inclusive did Congress intend the class of activities to be under the Williams-Steiger Act?


§ 1975.3 Extent of coverage.

(a) Section 2(b) of the Williams-Steiger Occupational Safety and Health Act (Public Law 91-596) sets forth the purpose and policy of Congress in enacting this legislation. In pertinent part, that section reads as follows:



(b) Congress declares it to be its purpose and policy, through the exercise of its powers to regulate commerce among the several States and with foreign nations and to provide for the general welfare, to assure so far as possible every working man and woman in the Nation safe and healthful working conditions and to preserve our human resources * * *


Congressman William Steiger described the scope of the Act’s coverage in the following words during a discussion of the legislation on the floor of the House of Representatives:


The coverage of this bill is as broad, generally speaking, as the authority vested in the Federal Government by the commerce clause of the Constitution (Cong. Rec., vol. 116, p. H-11899, Dec. 17, 1970)


The legislative history, as a whole, clearly shows that every amendment or other proposal which would have resulted in any employee’s being left outside the protections afforded by the Act was rejected. The reason for excluding no employee, either by exemption or limitation on coverage, lies in the most fundamental of social purposes of this legislation which is to protect the lives and health of human beings in the context of their employment.

(b) The Williams-Steiger Act includes special provisions (sections 19 and 18(c)(6)) for the protection of Federal and State employees to whom the Act’s other provisions are made inapplicable under section 3(5), which excludes from the definition of the term “employer” both the United States and any State or political subdivision of a State.


(c) In the case of section 4(b)(1) of the Act, which makes the Act inapplicable to working conditions to the extent they are protected under laws administered by other Federal agencies, Congress did not intend to grant any general exemptions under the Act; its sole purpose was to avoid duplication of effort by Federal agencies in establishing a national policy of occupational safety and health protection.


(d) Interpretation of the provisions and terms of the Williams-Steiger Act must of necessity be consistent with the express intent of Congress to exercise its commerce power to the extent that, “so far as possible, every working man and woman in the Nation” would be protected as provided for in the Act. The words “so far as possible” refer to the practical extent to which governmental regulation and expended resources are capable of achieving safe and healthful working conditions; the words are not ones of limitation on coverage. The controlling definition for the purpose of coverage under the Act is that of “employer” contained in section 3(5). This term is defined as follows:



(5) The term “employer” means any person engaged in a business affecting commerce who has employees, but does not include the United States or any State or political subdivision of a State.


In carrying out the broad coverage mandate of Congress, we interpret the term “business” in the above definition as including any commercial or noncommercial activity affecting commerce and involving the employment of one or more employees; the term “commerce” is defined in the Act itself, in section 3(3). Since the legislative history and the words of the statute, itself, indicate that Congress intended the full exercise of its commerce power in order to reduce employment-related hazards which, as a whole impose a substantial burden on commerce, it follows that all employments where such hazards exist or could exist (that is, those involving the employment of one or more employees) were intended to be regulated as a class of activities which affects commerce.


§ 1975.4 Coverage.

(a) General. Any employer employing one or more employees would be an “employer engaged in a business affecting commerce who has employees” and, therefore, he is covered by the Act as such.


(b) Clarification as to certain employers – (1) The professions, such as physicians, attorneys, etc. Where a member of a profession, such as an attorney or physician, employs one or more employees such member comes within the definition of an employer as defined in the Act and interpreted thereunder and, therefore, such member is covered as an employer under the Act and required to comply with its provisions and with the regulations issued thereunder to the extent applicable.


(2) Agricultural employers. Any person engaged in an agricultural activity employing one or more employees comes within the definition of an employer under the Act, and therefore, is covered by its provisions. However, members of the immediate family of the farm employer are not regarded as employees for the purposes of this definition.


(3) Indians. The Williams-Steiger Act contains no special provisions with respect to different treatment in the case of Indians. It is well settled that under statutes of general application, such as the Williams-Steiger Act, Indians are treated as any other person, unless Congress expressly provided for special treatment. “FPC v. Tuscarora Indian Nation,” 362 U.S. 99, 115-118 (1960); “Navajo Tribe v. N.L.R.B.,” 288 F.2d 162, 164-165 (D.C. Cir. 1961), cert. den. 366 U.S. 928 (1961). Therefore, provided they otherwise come within the definition of the term “employer” as interpreted in this part, Indians and Indian tribes, whether on or off reservations, and non-Indians on reservations, will be treated as employers subject to the requirements of the Act.


(4) Nonprofit and charitable organizations. The basic purpose of the Williams-Steiger Act is to improve working environments in the sense that they impair, or could impair, the lives and health of employees. Therefore, certain economic tests such as whether the employer’s business is operated for the purpose of making a profit or has other economic ends, may not properly be used as tests for coverage of an employer’s activity under the Williams-Steiger Act. To permit such economic tests to serve as criteria for excluding certain employers, such as nonprofit and charitable organizations which employ one or more employees, would result in thousands of employees being left outside the protections of the Williams-Steiger Act in disregard of the clear mandate of Congress to assure “every working man and woman in the Nation safe and healthful working conditions * * *”. Therefore, any charitable or non-profit organization which employs one or more employees is covered under the Williams-Steiger Act and is required to comply with its provisions and the regulations issued thereunder. (Some examples of covered charitable or non-profit organizations would be disaster relief organizations, philanthropic organizations, trade associations, private educational institutions, labor organizations, and private hospitals.)


(c) Coverage of churches and special policy as to certain church activities – (1) Churches. Churches or religious organizations, like charitable and nonprofit organizations, are considered employers under the Act where they employ one or more persons in secular activities. As a matter of enforcement policy, the performance of, or participation in, religious services (as distinguished from secular or proprietary activities whether for charitable or religion-related purposes) will be regarded as not constituting employment under the Act. Any person, while performing religious services or participating in them in any degree is not regarded as an employer or employee under the Act, notwithstanding the fact that such person may be regarded as an employer or employee for other purposes – for example, giving or receiving remuneration in connection with the performance of religious services.


(2) Examples. Some examples of coverage of religious organizations as employers would be: A private hospital owned or operated by a religious organization; a private school or orphanage owned or operated by a religious organization; commercial establishments of religious organizations engaged in producing or selling products such as alcoholic beverages, bakery goods, religious goods, etc.; and administrative, executive, and other office personnel employed by religious organizations. Some examples of noncoverage in the case of religious organizations would be: Clergymen while performing or participating in religious services; and other participants in religious services; namely, choir masters, organists, other musicians, choir members, ushers, and the like.


§ 1975.5 States and political subdivisions thereof.

(a) General. The definition of the term “employer” in section 3(5) of the Act excludes the United States and States and political subdivisions of a State:



(5) The term “employer” means a person engaged in a business affecting commerce who has employees, but does not include the United States or any State or political subdivision of a State.


The term “State” is defined as follows in section 3(7) of the Act:


(7) The term “State” includes a State of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.


Since States, as defined in section 3(7) of the Act, and political subdivisions thereof are not regarded as employers under section 3(5) of the Act, they would not be covered as employers under the Act, except to the extent that section 18(c)(6), and the pertinent regulations thereunder, require as a condition of approval by the Secretary of Labor of a State plan that such plan:


(6) Contain[s] satisfactory assurances that such State will, to the extent permitted by its law, establish and maintain an effective and comprehensive occupational safety and health program applicable to all employees of public agencies of the State and its political subdivisions, which program is as effective as the standards contained in an approved plan.


(b) Tests. Any entity which has been (1) created directly by the State, so as to constitute a department or administrative arm of the government, or (2) administered by individuals who are controlled by public officials and responsible to such officials or to the general electorate, shall be deemed to be a “State or political subdivision thereof” under section 3(5) of the Act and, therefore, not within the definition of employer, and, consequently, not subject to the Act as an employer.


(c) Factors for meeting the tests. Various factors will be taken into consideration in determining whether an entity meets the test discussed above. Some examples of these factors are:



Are the individuals who administer the entity appointed by a public official or elected by the general electorate?


What are the terms and conditions of the appointment?


Who may dismiss such individuals and under what procedures?


What is the financial source of the salary of these individuals?


Does the entity earn a profit? Are such profits treated as revenue?


How are the entity’s functions financed? What are the powers of the entity and are they usually characteristic of a government rather than a private instrumentality like the power of eminent domain?


How is the entity regarded under State and local law as well as under other Federal laws?


Is the entity exempted from State and local tax laws?


Are the entity’s bonds, if any, tax-exempt? As to the entity’s employees, are they regarded like employees of other State and political subdivisions?


What is the financial source of the employee-payroll?


How do employee fringe benefits, rights, obligations, and restrictions of the entity’s employees compare to those of the employees of other State and local departments and agencies?


In evaluating these factors, due regard will be given to whether any occupational safety and health program exists to protect the entity’s employees.

(d) Weight of the factors. The above list of factors is not exhaustive and no factor, isolated from the particular facts of a case, is assigned any particular weight for the purpose of a determination by the Secretary of Labor as to whether a given entity is a “State or political subdivision of a State” and, as such, not subject to the Act as an “employer”. Each case must be viewed on its merits; and whether a single factor will be decisive, or whether the factors must be viewed in their relationship to each other as part of a sum total, also depends on the merits of each case.


(e) Examples. (1) The following types of entities would normally be regarded as not being employers under section 3(5) of the Act: the State Department of Labor and Industry; the State Highway and Motor Vehicle Department; State, county, and municipal law enforcement agencies as well as penal institutions; State, county, and municipal judicial bodies; State University Boards of Trustees; State, county, and municipal public school boards and commissions; and public libraries.


(2) Depending on the facts in the particular situation, the following types of entities would probably be excluded as employers under section 3(5) of the Act: harbor districts, irrigation districts, port authorities, bi-State authorities over bridges, highways, rivers, harbors, etc.; municipal transit entities; and State, county, and local hospitals and related institutions.


(3) The following examples are of entities which would normally not be regarded as a “State or political subdivision of a State”, but unusual factors to the contrary in a particular case may indicate otherwise: Public utility companies, merely regulated by State or local bodies; businesses, such as alcoholic beverage distributors, licensed under State or local law; other business entities which under agreement perform certain functions for the State, such as gasoline stations conducting automobile inspections for State and county governments.


§ 1975.6 Policy as to domestic household employment activities in private residences.

As a matter of policy, individuals who, in their own residences, privately employ persons for the purpose of performing for the benefit of such individuals what are commonly regarded as ordinary domestic household tasks, such as house cleaning, cooking, and caring for children, shall not be subject to the requirements of the Act with respect to such employment.


PART 1977 – DISCRIMINATION AGAINST EMPLOYEES EXERCISING RIGHTS UNDER THE WILLIAMS-STEIGER OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ACT OF 1970


Authority:29 U.S.C. 657, 660; 5 U.S.C. 553; and Secretary of Labor’s Order No. 08-2020 (85 FR 58393), 9-83 (48 FR 35736), or 12-71 (36 FR 8754), as applicable.



Source:38 FR 2681, Jan. 29, 1973, unless otherwise noted.

General

§ 1977.1 Introductory statement.

(a) The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 651, et seq.), hereinafter referred to as the Act, is a Federal statute of general application designed to regulate employment conditions relating to occupational safety and health and to achieve safer and healthier workplaces throughout the Nation. By terms of the Act, every person engaged in a business affecting commerce who has employees is required to furnish each of his employees employment and a place of employment free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm, and, further, to comply with occupational safety and health standards promulgated under the Act. See part 1975 of this chapter concerning coverage of the Act.


(b) The Act provides, among other things, for the adoption of occupational safety and health standards, research and development activities, inspections and investigations of workplaces, and recordkeeping requirements. Enforcement procedures initiated by the Department of Labor, review proceedings before an independent quasi-judicial agency (the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission), and express judicial review are provided by the Act. In addition, States which desire to assume responsibility for development and enforcement of standards which are at least as effective as the Federal standards published in this chapter may submit plans for such development and enforcement of the Secretary of Labor.


(c) Employees and representatives of employees are afforded a wide range of substantive and procedural rights under the Act. Moreover, effective implementation of the Act and achievement of its goals depend in large part upon the active but orderly participation of employees, individually and through their representatives, at every level of safety and health activity.


(d) This part deals essentially with the rights of employees afforded under section 11(c) of the Act. Section 11(c) of the Act prohibits reprisals, in any form, against employees who exercise rights under the Act.


§ 1977.2 Purpose of this part.

The purpose of this part is to make available in one place interpretations of the various provisions of section 11(c) of the Act which will guide the Secretary of Labor in the performance of his duties thereunder unless and until otherwise directed by authoritative decisions of the courts, or concluding, upon reexamination of an interpretation, that it is incorrect.


§ 1977.3 General requirements of section 11(c) of the Act.

Section 11(c) provides in general that no person shall discharge or in any manner discriminate against any employee because the employee has:


(a) Filed any complaint under or related to the Act;


(b) Instituted or caused to be instituted any proceeding under or related to the Act;


(c) Testified or is about to testify in any proceeding under the Act or related to the Act; or


(d) Exercised on his own behalf or on behalf of others any right afforded by the Act.


Any employee who believes that he has been discriminated against in violation of section 11(c) of the Act may, within 30 days after such violation occurs, lodge a complaint with the Secretary of Labor alleging such violation. The Secretary shall then cause appropriate investigation to be made. If, as a result of such investigation, the Secretary determines that the provisions of section 11(c) have been violated civil action may be instituted in any appropriate United States district court, to restrain violations of section 11(c)(1) and to obtain other appropriate relief, including rehiring or reinstatement of the employee to his former position with back pay. Section 11(c) further provides for notification of complainants by the Secretary of determinations made pursuant to their complaints.


§ 1977.4 Persons prohibited from discriminating.

Section 11(c) specifically states that “no person shall discharge or in any manner discriminate against any employee” because the employee has exercised rights under the Act. Section 3(4) of the Act defines “person” as “one or more individuals, partnerships, associations, corporations, business trusts, legal representatives, or any group of persons.” Consequently, the prohibitions of section 11(c) are not limited to actions taken by employers against their own employees. A person may be chargeable with discriminatory action against an employee of another person. Section 11(c) would extend to such entities as organizations representing employees for collective bargaining purposes, employment agencies, or any other person in a position to discriminate against an employee. See, Meek v. United States, 136 F. 2d 679 (6th Cir., 1943); Bowe v. Judson C. Burns, 137 F. 2d 37 (3rd Cir., 1943).


§ 1977.5 Persons protected by section 11(c).

(a) All employees are afforded the full protection of section 11(c). For purposes of the Act, an employee is defined as “an employee of an employer who is employed in a business of his employer which affects commerce.” The Act does not define the term “employ.” However, the broad remedial nature of this legislation demonstrates a clear congressional intent that the existence of an employment relationship, for purposes of section 11(c), is to be based upon economic realities rather than upon common law doctrines and concepts. See, U.S. v. Silk, 331 U.S. 704 (1947); Rutherford Food Corporation v. McComb, 331 U.S. 722 (1947).


(b) For purposes of section 11(c), even an applicant for employment could be considered an employee. See, NLRB v. Lamar Creamery, 246 F. 2d 8 (5th Cir., 1957). Further, because section 11(c) speaks in terms of any employee, it is also clear that the employee need not be an employee of the discriminator. The principal consideration would be whether the person alleging discrimination was an “employee” at the time of engaging in protected activity.


(c) In view of the definitions of “employer” and “employee” contained in the Act, employees of a State or political subdivision thereof would not ordinarily be within the contemplated coverage of section 11(c).


§ 1977.6 Unprotected activities distinguished.

(a) Actions taken by an employer, or others, which adversely affect an employee may be predicated upon nondiscriminatory grounds. The proscriptions of section 11(c) apply when the adverse action occurs because the employee has engaged in protected activities. An employee’s engagement in activities protected by the Act does not automatically render him immune from discharge or discipline for legitimate reasons, or from adverse action dictated by non-prohibited considerations. See, NLRB v. Dixie Motor Coach Corp., 128 F. 2d 201 (5th Cir., 1942).


(b) At the same time, to establish a violation of section 11(c), the employee’s engagement in protected activity need not be the sole or primary consideration behind discharge or other adverse action. If the discharge or other adverse action would not have taken place “but for” engagement in protected activity, section 11(c) has been violated. See Bostock v. Clay County, Ga., 140 S Ct. 1731, 1739 (2020); Univ. of Tex. Sw. Med. Ctr. v. Nassar, 570 U.S. 338 (2013). Ultimately, the issue as to whether a discharge or other adverse action was because of protected activity will have to be determined on the basis of the facts in the particular case.


[38 FR 2681, Jan. 29, 1973, as amended at 86 FR 49476, Sept. 3, 2021]


Specific Protections

§ 1977.9 Complaints under or related to the Act.

(a) Discharge of, or discrimination against, an employee because the employee has filed “any complaint * * * under or related to this Act * * *” is prohibited by section 11(c). An example of a complaint made “under” the Act would be an employee request for inspection pursuant to section 8(f). However, this would not be the only type of complaint protected by section 11(c). The range of complaints “related to” the Act is commensurate with the broad remedial purposes of this legislation and the sweeping scope of its application, which entails the full extent of the commerce power. (See Cong. Rec., vol. 116 p. P. 42206 Dec. 17, 1970).


(b) Complaints registered with other Federal agencies which have the authority to regulate or investigate occupational safety and health conditions are complaints “related to” this Act. Likewise, complaints made to State or local agencies regarding occupational safety and health conditions would be “related to” the Act. Such complaints, however, must relate to conditions at the workplace, as distinguished from complaints touching only upon general public safety and health.


(c) Further, the salutary principles of the Act would be seriously undermined if employees were discouraged from lodging complaints about occupational safety and health matters with their employers. (Section 2(1), (2), and (3)). Such complaints to employers, if made in good faith, therefore would be related to the Act, and an employee would be protected against discharge or discrimination caused by a complaint to the employer.


§ 1977.10 Proceedings under or related to the Act.

(a) Discharge of, or discrimination against, any employee because the employee has “instituted or caused to be instituted any proceeding under or related to this Act” is also prohibited by section 11(c). Examples of proceedings which could arise specifically under the Act would be inspections of worksites under section 8 of the Act, employee contest of abatement date under section 10(c) of the Act, employee initiation of proceedings for promulgation of an occupational safety and health standard under section 6(b) of the Act and part 1911 of this chapter, employee application for modification of revocation of a variance under section 6(d) of the Act and part 1905 of this chapter, employee judicial challenge to a standard under section 6(f) of the Act and employee appeal of an Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission order under section 11(a) of the Act. In determining whether a “proceeding” is “related to” the Act, the considerations discussed in § 1977.9 would also be applicable.


(b) An employee need not himself directly institute the proceedings. It is sufficient if he sets into motion activities of others which result in proceedings under or related to the Act.


§ 1977.11 Testimony.

Discharge of, or discrimination against, any employee because the employee “has testified or is about to testify” in proceedings under or related to the Act is also prohibited by section 11(c). This protection would of course not be limited to testimony in proceedings instituted or caused to be instituted by the employee, but would extend to any statements given in the course of judicial, quasi-judicial, and administrative proceedings, including inspections, investigations, and administrative rule making or adjudicative functions. If the employee is giving or is about to give testimony in any proceeding under or related to the Act, he would be protected against discrimination resulting from such testimony.


§ 1977.12 Exercise of any right afforded by the Act.

(a) In addition to protecting employees who file complaints, institute proceedings, or testify in proceedings under or related to the Act, section 11(c) also protects employees from discrimination occurring because of the exercise “of any right afforded by this Act.” Certain rights are explicitly provided in the Act; for example, there is a right to participate as a party in enforcement proceedings (section 10). Certain other rights exist by necessary implication. For example, employees may request information from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration; such requests would constitute the exercise of a right afforded by the Act. Likewise, employees interviewed by agents of the Secretary in the course of inspections or investigations could not subsequently be discriminated against because of their cooperation.


(b)(1) On the other hand, review of the Act and examination of the legislative history discloses that, as a general matter, there is no right afforded by the Act which would entitle employees to walk off the job because of potential unsafe conditions at the workplace. Hazardous conditions which may be violative of the Act will ordinarily be corrected by the employer, once brought to his attention. If corrections are not accomplished, or if there is dispute about the existence of a hazard, the employee will normally have opportunity to request inspection of the workplace pursuant to section 8(f) of the Act, or to seek the assistance of other public agencies which have responsibility in the field of safety and health. Under such circumstances, therefore, an employer would not ordinarily be in violation of section 11(c) by taking action to discipline an employee for refusing to perform normal job activities because of alleged safety or health hazards.


(2) However, occasions might arise when an employee is confronted with a choice between not performing assigned tasks or subjecting himself to serious injury or death arising from a hazardous condition at the workplace. If the employee, with no reasonable alternative, refuses in good faith to expose himself to the dangerous condition, he would be protected against subsequent discrimination. The condition causing the employee’s apprehension of death or injury must be of such a nature that a reasonable person, under the circumstances then confronting the employee, would conclude that there is a real danger of death or serious injury and that there is insufficient time, due to the urgency of the situation, to eliminate the danger through resort to regular statutory enforcement channels. In addition, in such circumstances, the employee, where possible, must also have sought from his employer, and been unable to obtain, a correction of the dangerous condition.


[38 FR 2681, Jan. 29, 1973, as amended at 38 FR 4577, Feb. 16, 1973]


Procedures

§ 1977.15 Filing of complaint for discrimination.

(a) Who may file. A complaint of section 11(c) discrimination may be filed by the employee himself, or by a representative authorized to do so on his behalf.


(b) Nature of filing. No particular form of complaint is required.


(c) Place of filing. Complaint should be filed with the Area Director (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) responsible for enforcement activities in the geographical area where the employee resides or was employed.


(d) Time for filing. (1) Section 11(c)(2) provides that an employee who believes that he has been discriminated against in violation of section 11(c)(1) “may, within 30 days after such violation occurs,” file a complaint with the Secretary of Labor.


(2) A major purpose of the 30-day period in this provision is to allow the Secretary to decline to entertain complaints which have become stale. Accordingly, complaints not filed within 30 days of an alleged violation will ordinarily be presumed to be untimely.


(3) However, there may be circumstances which would justify tolling of the 30-day period on recognized equitable principles or because of strongly extenuating circumstances, e.g., where the employer has concealed, or misled the employee regarding the grounds for discharge or other adverse action; or where the discrimination is in the nature of a continuing violation. The pendency of grievance-arbitration proceedings or filing with another agency, among others, are circumstances which do not justify tolling the 30-day period. In the absence of circumstances justifying a tolling of the 30-day period, untimely complaints will not be processed.


[38 FR 2681, Jan. 29, 1973, as amended at 50 FR 32846, Aug. 15, 1985]


§ 1977.16 Notification of Secretary of Labor’s determination.

Section 11(c)(3) provides that the Secretary is to notify a complainant within 90 days of the complaint of his determination whether prohibited discrimination has occurred. This 90-day provision is considered directory in nature. While every effort will be made to notify complainants of the Secretary’s determination within 90 days, there may be instances when it is not possible to meet the directory period set forth in section 11(c)(3).


§ 1977.17 Withdrawal of complaint.

Enforcement of the provisions of section 11(c) is not only a matter of protecting rights of individual employees, but also of public interest. Attempts by an employee to withdraw a previously filed complaint will not necessarily result in termination of the Secretary’s investigation. The Secretary’s jurisdiction cannot be foreclosed as a matter of law by unilateral action of the employee. However, a voluntary and uncoerced request from a complainant to withdraw his complaint will be given careful consideration and substantial weight as a matter of policy and sound enforcement procedure.


§ 1977.18 Arbitration or other agency proceedings.

(a) General. (1) An employee who files a complaint under section 11(c) of the Act may also pursue remedies under grievance arbitration proceedings in collective bargaining agreements. In addition, the complainant may concurrently resort to other agencies for relief, such as the National Labor Relations Board. The Secretary’s jurisdiction to entertain section 11(c) complaints, to investigate, and to determine whether discrimination has occurred, is independent of the jurisdiction of other agencies or bodies. The Secretary may file action in U.S. district court regardless of the pendency of other proceedings.


(2) However, the Secretary also recognizes the national policy favoring voluntary resolution of disputes under procedures in collective bargaining agreements. See, e.g., Boy’s Markets, Inc. v. Retail Clerks, 398 U.S. 235 (1970); Republic Steel Corp. v. Maddox, 379 U.S. 650 (1965); Carey v. Westinghouse Electric Co., 375 U.S. 261 (1964); Collier Insulated Wire, 192 NLRB No. 150 (1971). By the same token, due deference should be paid to the jurisdiction of other forums established to resolve disputes which may also be related to section 11(c) complaints.


(3) Where a complainant is in fact pursuing remedies other than those provided by section 11(c), postponement of the Secretary’s determination and deferral to the results of such proceedings may be in order. See, Burlington Truck Lines, Inc., v. U.S., 371 U.S. 156 (1962).


(b) Postponement of determination. Postponement of determination would be justified where the rights asserted in other proceedings are substantially the same as rights under section 11(c) and those proceedings are not likely to violate the rights guaranteed by section 11(c). The factual issues in such proceedings must be substantially the same as those raised by section 11(c) complaint, and the forum hearing the matter must have the power to determine the ultimate issue of discrimination. See Rios v. Reynolds Metals Co., F.2d (5th Cir., 1972), 41 U.S.L.W. 1049 (Oct. 10, 1972); Newman v. Avco Corp., 451 F.2d 743 (6th Cir., 1971).


(c) Deferral to outcome of other proceedings. A determination to defer to the outcome of other proceedings initiated by a complainant must necessarily be made on a case-to-case basis, after careful scrutiny of all available information. Before deferring to the results of other proceedings, it must be clear that those proceedings dealt adequately with all factual issues, that the proceedings were fair, regular, and free of procedural infirmities, and that the outcome of the proceedings was not repugnant to the purpose and policy of the Act. In this regard, if such other actions initiated by a complainant are dismissed without adjudicatory hearing thereof, such dismissal will not ordinarily be regarded as determinative of the section 11(c) complaint.


Some Specific Subjects

§ 1977.22 Employee refusal to comply with safety rules.

Employees who refuse to comply with occupational safety and health standards or valid safety rules implemented by the employer in furtherance of the Act are not exercising any rights afforded by the Act. Disciplinary measures taken by employers solely in response to employee refusal to comply with appropriate safety rules and regulations, will not ordinarily be regarded as discriminatory action prohibited by section 11(c). This situation should be distinguished from refusals to work, as discussed in § 1977.12.


§ 1977.23 State plans.

A State which is implementing its own occupational safety and health enforcement program pursuant to section 18 of the Act and parts 1902 and 1952 of this chapter must have provisions as effective as those of section 11(c) to protect employees from discharge or discrimination. Such provisions do not divest either the Secretary of Labor or Federal district courts of jurisdiction over employee complaints of discrimination. However, the Secretary of Labor may refer complaints of employees adequately protected by State Plans’ provisions to the appropriate state agency. The basic principles outlined in § 1977.18, supra will be observed as to deferrals to findings of state agencies.


PART 1978 – PROCEDURES FOR THE HANDLING OF RETALIATION COMPLAINTS UNDER THE EMPLOYEE PROTECTION PROVISION OF THE SURFACE TRANSPORTATION ASSISTANCE ACT OF 1982 (STAA), AS AMENDED


Authority:49 U.S.C. 31101 and 31105; Secretary’s Order 1-2012 (Jan. 18, 2012), 77 FR 3912 (Jan. 25, 2012); Secretary’s Order 01-2020, 85 FR 13186 (March 6, 2020).



Source:77 FR 44134, July 27, 2012, unless otherwise noted.

Subpart A – Complaints, Investigations, Findings, and Preliminary Orders

§ 1978.100 Purpose and scope.

(a) This part sets forth, the procedures for, and interpretations of, the employee protection (whistleblower) provision of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 (STAA), 49 U.S.C. 31105, as amended, which protects employees from retaliation because the employee has engaged in, or is perceived to have engaged in, protected activity pertaining to commercial motor vehicle safety, health, or security matters.


(b) This part establishes procedures under STAA for the expeditious handling of retaliation complaints filed by employees, or by persons acting on their behalf. These rules, together with those rules codified at 29 CFR part 18, set forth the procedures for submission of complaints, investigations, issuance of findings and preliminary orders, objections to findings and orders, litigation before administrative law judges (ALJs), post-hearing administrative review, and withdrawals and settlements. This part also sets forth interpretations of STAA.


§ 1978.101 Definitions.

(a) Act means the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 (STAA), as amended.


(b) Assistant Secretary means the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health or the person or persons to whom he or she delegates authority under the Act.


(c) Business days means days other than Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays.


(d) Commercial motor carrier means any person engaged in a business affecting commerce between States or between a State and a place outside thereof who owns or leases a commercial motor vehicle in connection with that business, or assigns employees to operate such a vehicle.


(e) Commercial motor vehicle means a vehicle as defined by 49 U.S.C. 31101(1).


(f) Complainant means the employee who filed a STAA complaint or on whose behalf a complaint was filed.


(g) Complaint, for purposes of § 1978.102(b)(1) and (e)(1), includes both written and oral complaints to employers, government agencies, and others.


(h) Employee means a driver of a commercial motor vehicle (including an independent contractor when personally operating a commercial motor vehicle), a mechanic, a freight handler, or an individual not an employer, who:


(1) Directly affects commercial motor vehicle safety or security in the course of employment by a commercial motor carrier; and


(2) Is not an employee of the United States Government, a State, or a political subdivision of a State acting in the course of employment.


(3) The term includes an individual formerly performing the work described above or an applicant for such work.


(i) Employer means a person engaged in a business affecting commerce that owns or leases a commercial motor vehicle in connection with that business, or assigns an employee to operate the vehicle in commerce, but does not include the Government, a State, or a political subdivision of a State.


(j) OSHA means the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the United States Department of Labor.


(k) Person means one or more individuals, partnerships, associations, corporations, business trusts, legal representatives, or any other organized group of individuals.


(l) Respondent means the person alleged to have violated 49 U.S.C. 31105.


(m) Secretary means the Secretary of Labor or persons to whom authority under the Act has been delegated.


(n) State means a State of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands.


(o) Any future statutory amendments that affect the definition of a term or terms listed in this section will apply in lieu of the definition stated herein.


§ 1978.102 Obligations and prohibited acts.

(a) No person may discharge or otherwise retaliate against any employee with respect to the employee’s compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because the employee engaged in any of the activities specified in paragraphs (b) or (c) of this section. In addition, no person may discharge or otherwise retaliate against any employee with respect to the employee’s compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because a person acting pursuant to the employee’s request engaged in any of the activities specified in paragraph (b).


(b) It is a violation for any person to intimidate, threaten, restrain, coerce, blacklist, discharge, discipline, harass, suspend, demote, or in any other manner retaliate against any employee because the employee or a person acting pursuant to the employee’s request has:


(1) Filed orally or in writing a complaint with an employer, government agency, or others or begun a proceeding related to a violation of a commercial motor vehicle safety or security regulation, standard, or order; or


(2) Testified or will testify at any proceeding related to a violation of a commercial motor vehicle safety or security regulation, standard, or order.


(c) It is a violation for any person to intimidate, threaten, restrain, coerce, blacklist, discharge, discipline, harass, suspend, demote, or in any other manner retaliate against any employee because the employee:


(1) Refuses to operate a vehicle because:


(i) The operation violates a regulation, standard, or order of the United States related to commercial motor vehicle safety, health, or security; or


(ii) He or she has a reasonable apprehension of serious injury to himself or herself or the public because of the vehicle’s hazardous safety or security condition;


(2) Accurately reports hours on duty pursuant to Chapter 315 of Title 49 of the United States Code; or


(3) Cooperates with a safety or security investigation by the Secretary of Transportation, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or the National Transportation Safety Board; or


(4) Furnishes information to the Secretary of Transportation, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the National Transportation Safety Board, or any Federal, State, or local regulatory or law enforcement agency as to the facts relating to any accident or incident resulting in injury or death to an individual or damage to property occurring in connection with commercial motor vehicle transportation.


(d) No person may discharge or otherwise retaliate against any employee with respect to the employee’s compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because the person perceives that the employee has engaged in any of the activities specified in paragraph (e) of this section.


(e) It is a violation for any person to intimidate, threaten, restrain, coerce, blacklist, discharge, discipline, harass, suspend, demote, or in any other manner retaliate against any employee because the employer perceives that:


(1) The employee has filed orally or in writing or is about to file orally or in writing a complaint with an employer, government agency, or others or has begun or is about to begin a proceeding related to a violation of a commercial motor vehicle safety or security regulation, standard or order;


(2) The employee is about to cooperate with a safety or security investigation by the Secretary of Transportation, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or the National Transportation Safety Board; or


(3) The employee has furnished or is about to furnish information to the Secretary of Transportation, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the National Transportation Safety Board, or any Federal, State, or local regulatory or law enforcement agency as to the facts relating to any accident or incident resulting in injury or death to an individual or damage to property occurring in connection with commercial motor vehicle transportation.


(f) For purposes of this section, an employee’s apprehension of serious injury is reasonable only if a reasonable individual in the circumstances then confronting the employee would conclude that the hazardous safety or security condition establishes a real danger of accident, injury or serious impairment to health. To qualify for protection, the employee must have sought from the employer, and been unable to obtain, correction of the hazardous safety or security condition.


§ 1978.103 Filing of retaliation complaints.

(a) Who may file. An employee who believes that he or she has been retaliated against by an employer in violation of STAA may file, or have filed by any person on the employee’s behalf, a complaint alleging such retaliation.


(b) Nature of filing. No particular form of complaint is required. A complaint may be filed orally or in writing. Oral complaints will be reduced to writing by OSHA. If the complainant is unable to file a complaint in English, OSHA will accept the complaint in any other language.


(c) Place of filing. The complaint should be filed with the OSHA office responsible for enforcement activities in the geographical area where the employee resides or was employed, but may be filed with any OSHA officer or employee. Addresses and telephone numbers for these officials are set forth in local directories and at the following Internet address: http://www.osha.gov.


(d) Time for filing. Within 180 days after an alleged violation of STAA occurs, any employee who believes that he or she has been retaliated against in violation of STAA may file, or have filed by any person on the employee’s behalf, a complaint alleging such retaliation. The date of the postmark, facsimile transmittal, electronic communication transmittal, telephone call, hand-delivery, delivery to a third-party commercial carrier, or in-person filing at an OSHA office will be considered the date of filing. The time for filing a complaint may be tolled for reasons warranted by applicable case law.


(e) Relationship to section 11(c) complaints. A complaint filed under STAA alleging facts that would also constitute a violation of section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, 29 U.S.C. 660(c), will be deemed to be a complaint under both STAA and section 11(c). Similarly, a complaint filed under section 11(c) that alleges facts that would also constitute a violation of STAA will be deemed to be a complaint filed under both STAA and section 11(c). Normal procedures and timeliness requirements under the respective statutes and regulations will be followed.


§ 1978.104 Investigation.

(a) Upon receipt of a complaint in the investigating office, the Assistant Secretary will notify the respondent of the filing of the complaint by providing the respondent with a copy of the complaint, redacted in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a and other applicable confidentiality laws. The Assistant Secretary will also notify the respondent of the respondent’s rights under paragraphs (b) and (f) of this section. The Assistant Secretary will provide a copy of the unredacted complaint to the complainant (or complainant’s legal counsel, if complainant is represented by counsel) and to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.


(b) Within 20 days of receipt of the notice of the filing of the complaint provided under paragraph (a) of this section, the respondent may submit to the Assistant Secretary a written statement and any affidavits or documents substantiating its position. Within the same 20 days, the respondent may request a meeting with the Assistant Secretary to present its position.


(c) Throughout the investigation, the agency will provide to the complainant (or the complainant’s legal counsel, if complainant is represented by counsel) a copy of all of respondent’s submissions to the agency that are responsive to the complainant’s whistleblower complaint. Before providing such materials to the complainant, the agency will redact them, if necessary, in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a, and other applicable confidentiality laws. The agency will also provide the complainant with an opportunity to respond to such submissions.


(d) Investigations will be conducted in a manner that protects the confidentiality of any person who provides information on a confidential basis, other than the complainant, in accordance with part 70 of this title.


(e)(1) A complaint will be dismissed unless the complainant has made a prima facie showing that protected activity was a contributing factor in the adverse action alleged in the complaint.


(2) The complaint, supplemented as appropriate by interviews of the complainant, must allege the existence of facts and evidence to make a prima facie showing as follows:


(i) The employee engaged in a protected activity, either actual activity or activity about to be undertaken;


(ii) The respondent knew or suspected, actually or constructively, that the employee engaged in the protected activity;


(iii) The employee suffered an adverse action; and


(iv) The circumstances were sufficient to raise the inference that the protected activity was a contributing factor in the adverse action.


(3) For purposes of determining whether to investigate, the complainant will be considered to have met the required burden if the complaint on its face, supplemented as appropriate through interviews of the complainant, alleges the existence of facts and either direct or circumstantial evidence to meet the required showing, i.e., to give rise to an inference that the respondent knew or suspected that the employee engaged in protected activity and that the protected activity was a contributing factor in the adverse action. The burden may be satisfied, for example, if the complainant shows that the adverse action took place shortly after the protected activity, giving rise to the inference that it was a contributing factor in the adverse action. If the required showing has not been made, the complainant (or the complainant’s legal counsel, if complainant is represented by counsel) will be so notified and the investigation will not commence.


(4) Notwithstanding a finding that a complainant has made a prima facie showing, as required by this section, an investigation of the complaint will not be conducted or will be discontinued if the respondent demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that it would have taken the same adverse action in the absence of the complainant’s protected activity.


(5) If the respondent fails to make a timely response or fails to satisfy the burden set forth in the prior paragraph, the Assistant Secretary will proceed with the investigation. The investigation will proceed whenever it is necessary or appropriate to confirm or verify the information provided by the respondent.


(f) Prior to the issuance of findings and a preliminary order as provided for in § 1978.105, if the Assistant Secretary has reasonable cause, on the basis of information gathered under the procedures of this part, to believe that the respondent has violated the Act and that preliminary reinstatement is warranted, the Assistant Secretary will again contact the respondent (or the respondent’s legal counsel, if respondent is represented by counsel) to give notice of the substance of the relevant evidence supporting the complainant’s allegations as developed during the course of the investigation. This evidence includes any witness statements, which will be redacted to protect the identity of confidential informants where statements were given in confidence; if the statements cannot be redacted without revealing the identity of confidential informants, summaries of their contents will be provided. The complainant will also receive a copy of the materials that must be provided to the respondent under this paragraph. Before providing such materials to the complainant, the agency will redact them, if necessary, in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a, and other applicable confidentiality laws. The respondent will be given the opportunity to submit a written response, to meet with the investigators, to present statements from witnesses in support of its position, and to present legal and factual arguments. The respondent must present this evidence within 10 business days of the Assistant Secretary’s notification pursuant to this paragraph, or as soon thereafter as the Assistant Secretary and the respondent can agree, if the interests of justice so require.


§ 1978.105 Issuance of findings and preliminary orders.

(a) After considering all the relevant information collected during the investigation, the Assistant Secretary will issue, within 60 days of the filing of the complaint, written findings as to whether there is reasonable cause to believe that the respondent has retaliated against the complainant in violation of STAA.


(1) If the Assistant Secretary concludes that there is reasonable cause to believe that a violation has occurred, the Assistant Secretary will accompany the findings with a preliminary order providing relief. Such order will require, where appropriate: affirmative action to abate the violation; reinstatement of the complainant to his or her former position, with the same compensation, terms, conditions and privileges of the complainant’s employment; and payment of compensatory damages (backpay with interest and compensation for any special damages sustained as a result of the retaliation, including any litigation costs, expert witness fees, and reasonable attorney fees which the complainant has incurred). Interest on backpay will be calculated using the interest rate applicable to underpayment of taxes under 26 U.S.C. 6621 and will be compounded daily. The preliminary order may also require the respondent to pay punitive damages up to $250,000.


(2) If the Assistant Secretary concludes that a violation has not occurred, the Assistant Secretary will notify the parties of that finding.


(b) The findings and, where appropriate, the preliminary order will be sent by means that allow OSHA to confirm delivery to all parties of record (and each party’s legal counsel if the party is represented by counsel). The findings and, where appropriate, the preliminary order will inform the parties of the right to object to the findings and/or the order and to request a hearing. The findings and, where appropriate, the preliminary order also will give the address of the Chief Administrative Law Judge, U.S. Department of Labor, or appropriate information regarding filing objections electronically with the Office of Administrative Law Judges. At the same time, the Assistant Secretary will file with the Chief Administrative Law Judge a copy of the original complaint and a copy of the findings and/or order.


(c) The findings and the preliminary order will be effective 30 days after receipt by the respondent (or the respondent’s legal counsel if the respondent is represented by counsel), or on the compliance date set forth in the preliminary order, whichever is later, unless an objection and request for a hearing have been timely filed as provided at § 1978.106. However, the portion of any preliminary order requiring reinstatement will be effective immediately upon the respondent’s receipt of the findings and the preliminary order, regardless of any objections to the findings and/or the order.


[77 FR 44134, July 27, 2012, as amended at 86 FR 1788, Jan. 11, 2021]


Subpart B – Litigation

§ 1978.106 Objections to the findings and the preliminary order and request for a hearing.

(a) Any party who desires review, including judicial review, must file any objections and a request for a hearing on the record within 30 days of receipt of the findings and preliminary order pursuant to § 1978.105(c). The objections and request for a hearing must be in writing and state whether the objections are to the findings and/or the preliminary order. The date of the postmark, facsimile transmittal, or electronic transmittal is considered the date of filing; if the objection is filed in person, by hand-delivery or other means, the objection is filed upon receipt. Objections must be filed with the Chief Administrative Law Judge, U.S. Department of Labor, in accordance with 29 CFR part 18, and copies of the objections must be served at the same time on the other parties of record and the OSHA official who issued the findings.


(b) If a timely objection is filed, all provisions of the preliminary order will be stayed, except for the portion requiring preliminary reinstatement, which will not be automatically stayed. The portion of the preliminary order requiring reinstatement will be effective immediately upon the respondent’s receipt of the findings and preliminary order, regardless of any objections to the order. The respondent may file a motion with the Office of Administrative Law Judges for a stay of the Assistant Secretary’s preliminary order of reinstatement, which shall be granted only based on exceptional circumstances. If no timely objection is filed with respect to either the findings or the preliminary order, the findings and/or the preliminary order will become the final decision of the Secretary, not subject to judicial review.


[77 FR 44134, July 27, 2012, as amended at 86 FR 1788, Jan. 11, 2021]


§ 1978.107 Hearings.

(a) Except as provided in this part, proceedings will be conducted in accordance with the rules of practice and procedure for administrative hearings before the Office of Administrative Law Judges, codified at subpart A of part 18 of this title.


(b) Upon receipt of an objection and request for hearing, the Chief Administrative Law Judge will promptly assign the case to an ALJ who will notify the parties of the day, time, and place of hearing. The hearing is to commence expeditiously, except upon a showing of good cause or unless otherwise agreed to by the parties. Hearings will be conducted de novo on the record. Administrative law judges have broad discretion to limit discovery in order to expedite the hearing.


(c) If both the complainant and the respondent object to the findings and/or order, the objections will be consolidated and a single hearing will be conducted.


(d) Formal rules of evidence will not apply, but rules or principles designed to assure production of the most probative evidence will be applied. The ALJ may exclude evidence that is immaterial, irrelevant, or unduly repetitious.


[77 FR 44134, July 27, 2012, as amended at 86 FR 1788, Jan. 11, 2021]


§ 1978.108 Role of Federal agencies.

(a)(1) The complainant and the respondent will be parties in every proceeding. In any case in which the respondent objects to the findings or the preliminary order the Assistant Secretary ordinarily will be the prosecuting party. In any other cases, at the Assistant Secretary’s discretion, the Assistant Secretary may participate as a party or participate as amicus curiae at any stage of the proceeding. This right to participate includes, but is not limited to, the right to petition for review of a decision of an ALJ, including a decision approving or rejecting a settlement agreement between the complainant and the respondent.


(2) If the Assistant Secretary assumes the role of prosecuting party in accordance with paragraph (a)(1) of this section, he or she may, upon written notice to the ALJ or the Administrative Review Board, as the case may be, and the other parties, withdraw as the prosecuting party in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion. If the Assistant Secretary withdraws, the complainant will become the prosecuting party and the ALJ or the Administrative Review Board, as the case may be, will issue appropriate orders to regulate the course of future proceedings.


(3) Copies of documents in all cases shall be sent to the parties or, if they are represented by counsel, to the latter. In cases in which the Assistant Secretary is a party, copies of documents shall be sent to the Regional Solicitor’s Office representing the Assistant Secretary.


(b) The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, if interested in a proceeding, may participate as amicus curiae at any time in the proceeding, at its discretion. At the request of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, copies of all documents in a case must be sent to that agency, whether or not that agency is participating in the proceeding.


§ 1978.109 Decisions and orders of the administrative law judge.

(a) The decision of the ALJ will contain appropriate findings, conclusions, and an order pertaining to the remedies provided in paragraph (d) of this section, as appropriate. A determination that a violation has occurred may be made only if the complainant has demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence that protected activity was a contributing factor in the adverse action alleged in the complaint.


(b) If the complainant or the Assistant Secretary has satisfied the burden set forth in the prior paragraph, relief may not be ordered if the respondent demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that it would have taken the same adverse action in the absence of any protected activity.


(c) Neither the Assistant Secretary’s determination to dismiss a complaint without completing an investigation pursuant to § 1978.104(e) nor the Assistant Secretary’s determination to proceed with an investigation is subject to review by the ALJ, and a complaint may not be remanded for the completion of an investigation or for additional findings on the basis that a determination to dismiss was made in error. Rather, if there otherwise is jurisdiction, the ALJ will hear the case on the merits or dispose of the matter without a hearing if the facts and circumstances warrant.


(d)(1) If the ALJ concludes that the respondent has violated the law, the ALJ will issue an order that will require, where appropriate: affirmative action to abate the violation; reinstatement of the complainant to his or her former position with the same compensation, terms, conditions, and privileges of the complainant’s employment; payment of compensatory damages (backpay with interest and compensation for any special damages sustained as a result of the retaliation, including any litigation costs, expert witness fees, and reasonable attorney fees which the complainant may have incurred); and payment of punitive damages up to $250,000. Interest on backpay will be calculated using the interest rate applicable to underpayment of taxes under 26 U.S.C. 6621 and will be compounded daily.


(2) If the ALJ determines that the respondent has not violated the law, an order will be issued denying the complaint.


(e) The decision will be served upon all parties to the proceeding, the Assistant Secretary, and the Associate Solicitor, Division of Occupational Safety and Health, U.S. Department of Labor. Any ALJ’s decision requiring reinstatement or lifting an order of reinstatement by the Assistant Secretary will be effective immediately upon receipt of the decision by the respondent. For ALJ decisions issued on or after the effective date of the interim final rule, August 31, 2010, all other portions of the ALJ’s order will be effective 14 days after the date of the decision unless a timely petition for review has been filed with the Administrative Review Board (ARB), U.S. Department of Labor. Any ALJ decision issued on or after the effective date of the interim final rule, August 31, 2010, will become the final order of the Secretary unless a petition for review is timely filed with the ARB and the ARB accepts the decision for review.


§ 1978.110 Decisions and orders of the Administrative Review Board.

(a) The Assistant Secretary or any other party desiring to seek review, including judicial review, of a decision of the ALJ must file a written petition for review with the ARB. The parties should identify in their petitions for review the legal conclusions or orders to which they object, or the objections may be deemed waived. A petition must be filed within 14 days of the date of the decision of the ALJ. The date of the postmark, facsimile transmittal, or electronic communication transmittal will be considered to be the date of filing; if the petition is filed in person, by hand delivery or other means, the petition is considered filed upon receipt. The petition must be served on all parties and on the Chief Administrative Law Judge at the time it is filed with the ARB. Copies of the petition for review and all briefs must be served on the Assistant Secretary and, in cases in which the Assistant Secretary is a party, on the Associate Solicitor, Division of Occupational Safety and Health, U.S. Department of Labor.


(b) If a timely petition for review is filed pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section, the decision of the ALJ will become the final order of the Secretary unless the ARB, within 30 days of the filing of the petition, issues an order notifying the parties that the case has been accepted for review. If a case is accepted for review, the decision of the ALJ will be inoperative unless and until the ARB issues an order adopting the decision, except that any order of reinstatement will be effective while review is conducted by the ARB unless the ARB grants a motion by the respondent to stay that order based on exceptional circumstances. The ARB will specify the terms under which any briefs are to be filed. The ARB will review the factual determinations of the ALJ under the substantial evidence standard. If no timely petition for review is filed, or the ARB denies review, the decision of the ALJ will become the final order of the Secretary. If no timely petition for review is filed, the resulting final order is not subject to judicial review.


(c) The decision of the ARB will be issued within 120 days of the conclusion of the hearing, which will be deemed to be 14 days after the date of the decision of the ALJ, unless a motion for reconsideration has been filed with the ALJ in the interim. In such case, the conclusion of the hearing is the date the motion for reconsideration is ruled upon or 14 days after a new decision is issued. The ARB’s decision will be served upon all parties and the Chief Administrative Law Judge. The decision also will be served on the Assistant Secretary, and on the Associate Solicitor, Division of Occupational Safety and Health, U.S, Department of Labor, even if the Assistant Secretary is not a party.


(d) If the ARB concludes that the respondent has violated the law, the ARB will issue an order providing relief to the complainant. The order, which will be subject to discretionary review by the Secretary as provided in Secretary’s Order 01-2020 (or any successor to that order), will require, where appropriate, affirmative action to abate the violation; reinstatement of the complainant to his or her former position with the same compensation, terms, conditions, and privileges of the complainant’s employment; payment of compensatory damages (back pay with interest and compensation for any special damages sustained as a result of the retaliation, including any litigation costs, expert witness fees, and reasonable attorney fees the complainant may have incurred); and payment of punitive damages up to $250,000. Interest on back pay will be calculated using the interest rate applicable to underpayment of taxes under 26 U.S.C. 6621 and will be compounded daily.


(e) If the ARB concludes that the respondent has not violated the law, the ARB will issue an order denying the complaint. Such order will be subject to discretionary review by the Secretary as provided in Secretary’s Order 01-2020 (or any successor to that order).


(f) Paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section apply to all cases in which the decision of the ALJ was issued on or after August 31, 2010.


[77 FR 44134, July 27, 2012, as amended at 85 FR 30620, May 20, 2020; 86 FR 1788, Jan. 11, 2021]


Subpart C – Miscellaneous Provisions

§ 1978.111 Withdrawal of STAA complaints, findings, objections, and petitions for review; settlement.

(a) At any time prior to the filing of objections to the Assistant Secretary’s findings and/or preliminary order, a complainant may withdraw his or her complaint by notifying the Assistant Secretary, orally or in writing, of his or her withdrawal. The Assistant Secretary then will confirm in writing the complainant’s desire to withdraw and determine whether to approve the withdrawal. The Assistant Secretary will notify the parties (and each party’s legal counsel if the party is represented by counsel) of the approval of any withdrawal. If the complaint is withdrawn because of settlement, the settlement must be submitted for approval in accordance with paragraph (d) of this section. A complainant may not withdraw his or her complaint after the filing of objections to the Assistant Secretary’s findings and/or preliminary order.


(b) The Assistant Secretary may withdraw the findings and/or preliminary order at any time before the expiration of the 30-day objection period described in § 1978.106, provided that no objection has been filed yet, and substitute new findings and/or a new preliminary order. The date of the receipt of the substituted findings or order will begin a new 30-day objection period.


(c) At any time before the Assistant Secretary’s findings and/or preliminary order become final, a party may withdraw objections to the Assistant Secretary’s findings and/or preliminary order by filing a written withdrawal with the ALJ. If a case is on review with the ARB, a party may withdraw a petition for review of an ALJ’s decision at any time before that decision becomes final by filing a written withdrawal with the ARB. The ALJ or the ARB, as the case may be, will determine whether to approve the withdrawal of the objections or the petition for review. If the ALJ approves a request to withdraw objections to the Assistant Secretary’s findings and/or order, and there are no other pending objections, the Assistant Secretary’s findings and/or order will become the final order of the Secretary. If the ARB approves a request to withdraw a petition for review of an ALJ decision, and there are no other pending petitions for review of that decision, the ALJ’s decision will become the final order of the Secretary. If objections or a petition for review are withdrawn because of settlement, the settlement must be submitted for approval in accordance with paragraph (d) of this section.


(d)(1) Investigative settlements. At any time after the filing of a STAA complaint and before the findings and/or order are objected to or become a final order by operation of law, the case may be settled if the Assistant Secretary, the complainant, and the respondent agree to a settlement. The Assistant Secretary’s approval of a settlement reached by the respondent and the complainant demonstrates the Assistant Secretary’s consent and achieves the consent of all three parties.


(2) Adjudicatory settlements. At any time after the filing of objections to the Assistant Secretary’s findings and/or order, the case may be settled if the participating parties agree to a settlement and the settlement is approved by the ALJ if the case is before the ALJ or by the ARB, if the ARB has accepted the case for review. A copy of the settlement will be filed with the ALJ or the ARB, as the case may be.


(e) Any settlement approved by the Assistant Secretary, the ALJ, or the ARB will constitute the final order of the Secretary and may be enforced in United States district court pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 31105(e).


§ 1978.112 Judicial review.

(a) Within 60 days after the issuance of a final order (including a decision issued by the Secretary upon his or her discretionary review) for which judicial review is available, any person adversely affected or aggrieved by the order may file a petition for review of the order in the United States Court of Appeals for the circuit in which the violation allegedly occurred or the circuit in which the person resided on the date of the violation.


(b) A final order is not subject to judicial review in any criminal or other civil proceeding.


(c) If a timely petition for review is filed, the record of a case, including the record of proceedings before the ALJ, will be transmitted by the ARB or the ALJ, as the case may be, to the appropriate court pursuant to the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure and the local rules of such court.


[77 FR 44134, July 27, 2012, as amended at 85 FR 30620, May 20, 2020]


§ 1978.113 Judicial enforcement.

Whenever any person has failed to comply with a preliminary order of reinstatement or a final order, including one approving a settlement agreement issued under STAA, the Secretary may file a civil action seeking enforcement of the order in the United States district court for the district in which the violation was found to have occurred.


§ 1978.114 District court jurisdiction of retaliation complaints under STAA.

(a) If there is no final order of the Secretary, 210 days have passed since the filing of the complaint, and there is no showing that there has been delay due to the bad faith of the complainant, the complainant may bring an action at law or equity for de novo review in the appropriate district court of the United States, which will have jurisdiction over such an action without regard to the amount in controversy. The action shall, at the request of either party to such action, be tried by the court with a jury.


(b) Within seven days after filing a complaint in federal court, a complainant must file with the Assistant Secretary, the ALJ, or the ARB, depending on where the proceeding is pending, a copy of the file-stamped complaint. A copy of the complaint also must be served on the OSHA official who issued the findings and/or preliminary order, the Assistant Secretary, and the Associate Solicitor, Division of Occupational Safety and Health, U.S. Department of Labor.


§ 1978.115 Special circumstances; waiver of rules.

In special circumstances not contemplated by the provisions of these rules, or for good cause shown, the ALJ or the ARB on review may, upon application, after three days notice to all parties, waive any rule or issue such orders as justice or the administration of STAA requires.


PART 1979 – PROCEDURES FOR THE HANDLING OF DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINTS UNDER SECTION 519 OF THE WENDELL H. FORD AVIATION INVESTMENT AND REFORM ACT FOR THE 21ST CENTURY


Authority:49 U.S.C. 42121; Secretary’s Order 1-2012 (Jan. 18, 2012), 77 FR 3912 (Jan. 25, 2012); Secretary’s Order 01-2020, 85 FR 13186 (March 6, 2020).



Source:68 FR 14107, Mar. 21, 2003, unless otherwise noted.

Subpart A – Complaints, Investigations, Findings and Preliminary Orders

§ 1979.100 Purpose and scope.

(a) This part implements procedures under section 519 of the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century, 49 U.S.C. 42121 (“AIR21”), which provides for employee protection from discrimination by air carriers or contractors or subcontractors of air carriers because the employee has engaged in protected activity pertaining to a violation or alleged violation of any order, regulation, or standard of the Federal Aviation Administration or any other provision of Federal law relating to air carrier safety.


(b) This part establishes procedures pursuant to AIR21 for the expeditious handling of discrimination complaints made by employees, or by persons acting on their behalf. These rules, together with those rules codified at 29 CFR part 18, set forth the procedures for submission of complaints under AIR21, investigations, issuance of findings and preliminary orders, objections to findings and orders, litigation before administrative law judges, post-hearing administrative review, and withdrawals and settlements.


§ 1979.101 Definitions.

Act or AIR21 means section 519 of the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century, Public Law 106-181, April 5, 2000, 49 U.S.C. 42121.


Air carrier means a citizen of the United States undertaking by any means, directly or indirectly, to provide air transportation.


Assistant Secretary means the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health or the person or persons to whom he or she delegates authority under the Act.


Complainant means the employee who filed a complaint under the Act or on whose behalf a complaint was filed.


Contractor means a company that performs safety-sensitive functions by contract for an air carrier.


Employee means an individual presently or formerly working for an air carrier or contractor or subcontractor of an air carrier, an individual applying to work for an air carrier or contractor or subcontractor of an air carrier, or an individual whose employment could be affected by an air carrier or contractor or subcontractor of an air carrier.


Named person means the person alleged to have violated the Act.


OSHA means the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the United States Department of Labor.


Person means one or more individuals, partnerships, associations, corporations, business trusts, legal representatives, or any group of persons.


Secretary means the Secretary of Labor or persons to whom authority under the Act has been delegated.


§ 1979.102 Obligations and prohibited acts.

(a) No air carrier or contractor or subcontractor of an air carrier may discharge any employee or otherwise discriminate against any employee with respect to the employee’s compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because the employee, or any person acting pursuant to the employee’s request, engaged in any of the activities specified in paragraphs (b)(1) through (4) of this section.


(b) It is a violation of the Act for any air carrier or contractor or subcontractor of an air carrier to intimidate, threaten, restrain, coerce, blacklist, discharge or in any other manner discriminate against any employee because the employee has:


(1) Provided, caused to be provided, or is about to provide (with any knowledge of the employer) or cause to be provided to the air carrier or contractor or subcontractor of an air carrier or the Federal Government, information relating to any violation or alleged violation of any order, regulation, or standard of the Federal Aviation Administration or any other provision of Federal law relating to air carrier safety under subtitle VII of title 49 of the United States Code or under any other law of the United States;


(2) Filed, caused to be filed, or is about to file (with any knowledge of the employer) or cause to be filed a proceeding relating to any violation or alleged violation of any order, regulation, or standard of the Federal Aviation Administration or any other provision of Federal law relating to air carrier safety under subtitle VII of title 49 of the United States Code, or under any other law of the United States;


(3) Testified or is about to testify in such a proceeding; or


(4) Assisted or participated or is about to assist or participate in such a proceeding.


(c) This part shall have no application to any employee of an air carrier, contractor, or subcontractor who, acting without direction from an air carrier, contractor, or subcontractor (or such person’s agent) deliberately causes a violation of any requirement relating to air carrier safety under Subtitle VII Aviation Programs of Title 49 of the United States Code or any other law of the United States.


§ 1979.103 Filing of discrimination complaint.

(a) Who may file. An employee who believes that he or she has been discriminated against by an air carrier or contractor or subcontractor of an air carrier in violation of the Act may file, or have filed by any person on the employee’s behalf, a complaint alleging such discrimination.


(b) Nature of filing. No particular form of complaint is required, except that a complaint must be in writing and should include a full statement of the acts and omissions, with pertinent dates, which are believed to constitute the violations.


(c) Place of filing. The complaint should be filed with the OSHA Area Director responsible for enforcement activities in the geographical area where the employee resides or was employed, but may be filed with any OSHA officer or employee. Addresses and telephone numbers for these officials are set forth in local directories and at the following Internet address: http://www.osha.gov.


(d) Time for filing. Within 90 days after an alleged violation of the Act occurs (i.e., when the discriminatory decision has been both made and communicated to the complainant), an employee who believes that he or she has been discriminated against in violation of the Act may file, or have filed by any person on the employee’s behalf, a complaint alleging such discrimination. The date of the postmark, facsimile transmittal, or e-mail communication will be considered to be the date of filing; if the complaint is filed in person, by hand-delivery, or other means, the complaint is filed upon receipt.


(e) Relationship to section 11(c) complaints. A complaint filed under AIR21 that alleges facts which would constitute a violation of section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, 29 U.S.C. 660(c), shall be deemed to be a complaint filed under both AIR21 and section 11(c). Similarly, a complaint filed under section 11(c) that alleges facts that would constitute a violation of AIR21 shall be deemed to be a complaint filed under both AIR21 and section 11(c). Normal procedures and timeliness requirements for investigations under the respective laws and regulations will be followed.


§ 1979.104 Investigation.

(a) Upon receipt of a complaint in the investigating office, the Assistant Secretary will notify the named person of the filing of the complaint, of the allegations contained in the complaint, and of the substance of the evidence supporting the complaint (redacted to protect the identity of any confidential informants). The Assistant Secretary will also notify the named person of his or her rights under paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section and paragraph (e) of § 1979.110. A copy of the notice to the named person will also be provided to the Federal Aviation Administration.


(b) A complaint of alleged violation will be dismissed unless the complainant has made a prima facie showing that protected behavior or conduct was a contributing factor in the unfavorable personnel action alleged in the complaint.


(1) The complaint, supplemented as appropriate by interviews of the complainant, must allege the existence of facts and evidence to make a prima facie showing as follows:


(i) The employee engaged in a protected activity or conduct;


(ii) The named person knew or suspected, actually or constructively, that the employee engaged in the protected activity;


(iii) The employee suffered an unfavorable personnel action; and


(iv) The circumstances were sufficient to raise the inference that the protected activity was a contributing factor in the unfavorable action.


(2) For purposes of determining whether to investigate, the complainant will be considered to have met the required burden if the complaint on its face, supplemented as appropriate through interviews of the complainant, alleges the existence of facts and either direct or circumstantial evidence to meet the required showing, i.e., to give rise to an inference that the named person knew or suspected that the employee engaged in protected activity and that the protected activity was a contributing factor in the unfavorable personnel action. Normally the burden is satisfied, for example, if the complaint shows that the adverse personnel action took place shortly after the protected activity, giving rise to the inference that it was a factor in the adverse action. If the required showing has not been made, the complainant will be so advised and the investigation will not commence.


(c) Notwithstanding a finding that a complainant has made a prima facie showing, as required by this section, an investigation of the complaint will not be conducted if the named person, pursuant to the procedures provided in this paragraph, demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that it would have taken the same unfavorable personnel action in the absence of the complainant’s protected behavior or conduct. Within 20 days of receipt of the notice of the filing of the complaint, the named person may submit to the Assistant Secretary a written statement and any affidavits or documents substantiating his or her position. Within the same 20 days the named person may request a meeting with the Assistant Secretary to present his or her position.


(d) If the named person fails to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that it would have taken the same unfavorable personnel action in the absence of the behavior protected by the Act, the Assistant Secretary will conduct an investigation. Investigations will be conducted in a manner that protects the confidentiality of any person who provides information on a confidential basis, other than the complainant, in accordance with 29 CFR part 70.


(e) Prior to the issuance of findings and a preliminary order as provided for in § 1979.105, if the Assistant Secretary has reasonable cause, on the basis of information gathered under the procedures of this part, to believe that the named person has violated the Act and that preliminary reinstatement is warranted, the Assistant Secretary will again contact the named person to give notice of the substance of the relevant evidence supporting the complainant’s allegations as developed during the course of the investigation. This evidence includes any witness statements, which will be redacted to protect the identity of confidential informants where statements were given in confidence; if the statements cannot be redacted without revealing the identity of confidential informants, summaries of their contents will be provided. The named person shall be given the opportunity to submit a written response, to meet with the investigators to present statements from witnesses in support of his or her position, and to present legal and factual arguments. The named person shall present this evidence within ten business days of the Assistant Secretary’s notification pursuant to this paragraph, or as soon afterwards as the Assistant Secretary and the named person can agree, if the interests of justice so require.


§ 1979.105 Issuance of findings and preliminary orders.

(a) After considering all the relevant information collected during the investigation, the Assistant Secretary will issue, within 60 days of filing of the complaint, written findings as to whether or not there is reasonable cause to believe that the named person has discriminated against the complainant in violation of the Act.


(1) If the Assistant Secretary concludes that there is reasonable cause to believe that a violation has occurred, he or she will accompany the findings with a preliminary order providing relief to the complainant. The preliminary order will include, where appropriate, a requirement that the named person abate the violation; reinstatement of the complainant to his or her former position, together with the compensation (including back pay), terms, conditions and privileges of the complainant’s employment; and payment of compensatory damages. Where the named person establishes that the complainant is a security risk (whether or not the information is obtained after the complainant’s discharge), a preliminary order of reinstatement would not be appropriate. At the complainant’s request the order shall also assess against the named person the complainant’s costs and expenses (including attorney’s and expert witness fees) reasonably incurred in connection with the filing of the complaint.


(2) If the Assistant Secretary concludes that a violation has not occurred, the Assistant Secretary will notify the parties of that finding.


(b) The findings and the preliminary order will be sent by means that allow OSHA to confirm delivery to all parties of record. The letter accompanying the findings and order will inform the parties of their right to file objections and to request a hearing, and of the right of the named person to request attorney’s fees from the administrative law judge, regardless of whether the named person has filed objections, if the named person alleges that the complaint was frivolous or brought in bad faith. The letter also will give the address of the Chief Administrative Law Judge or appropriate information regarding filing objections electronically with the Office of Administrative Law Judges. At the same time, the Assistant Secretary will file with the Chief Administrative Law Judge, U.S. Department of Labor, a copy of the original complaint and a copy of the findings and order.


(c) The findings and the preliminary order shall be effective 30 days after receipt by the named person pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section, unless an objection and a request for a hearing has been filed as provided at § 1979.106. However, the portion of any preliminary order requiring reinstatement shall be effective immediately upon receipt of the findings and preliminary order.


[68 FR 14107, Mar. 21, 2003, as amended at 86 FR 1788, Jan. 11, 2021]


Subpart B – Litigation

§ 1979.106 Objections to the findings and the preliminary order and request for a hearing.

(a) Any party who desires review, including judicial review, of the findings and preliminary order, or a named person alleging that the complaint was frivolous or brought in bad faith who seeks an award of attorney’s fees, must file any objections and/or a request for a hearing on the record within 30 days of receipt of the findings and preliminary order pursuant to § 1979.105(b). The objection or request for attorney’s fees and request for a hearing must be in writing and state whether the objection is to the findings, the preliminary order, and/or whether there should be an award of attorney’s fees. The date of the postmark, facsimile transmittal, or electronic transmittal will be considered to be the date of filing; if the objection is filed in person, by hand-delivery or other means, the objection is filed upon receipt. Objections must be filed with the Chief Administrative Law Judge, U.S. Department of Labor, in accordance with 29 CFR part 18, and copies of the objections must be served at the same time on the other parties of record, the OSHA official who issued the findings and order, and the Associate Solicitor, Division of Fair Labor Standards, U.S. Department of Labor.


(b)(1) If a timely objection is filed, all provisions of the preliminary order shall be stayed, except for the portion requiring preliminary reinstatement. The portion of the preliminary order requiring reinstatement shall be effective immediately upon the named person’s receipt of the findings and preliminary order, regardless of any objections to the order.


(2) If no timely objection is filed with respect to either the findings or the preliminary order, the findings or preliminary order, as the case may be, shall become the final decision of the Secretary, not subject to judicial review.


[68 FR 14107, Mar. 21, 2003, as amended at 86 FR 1788, Jan. 11, 2021]


§ 1979.107 Hearings.

(a) Except as provided in this part, proceedings will be conducted in accordance with the rules of practice and procedure for administrative hearings before the Office of Administrative Law Judges, codified at subpart A, of 29 CFR part 18.


(b) Upon receipt of an objection and request for hearing, the Chief Administrative Law Judge will promptly assign the case to a judge who will notify the parties of the day, time, and place of hearing. The hearing is to commence expeditiously, except upon a showing of good cause or unless otherwise agreed to by the parties. Hearings will be conducted as hearings de novo, on the record. Administrative law judges shall have broad discretion to limit discovery in order to expedite the hearing.


(c) If both the complainant and the named person object to the findings and/or order, the objections will be consolidated and a single hearing will be conducted.


(d) Formal rules of evidence shall not apply, but rules or principles designed to assure production of the most probative evidence shall be applied. The administrative law judge may exclude evidence which is immaterial, irrelevant, or unduly repetitious.


[68 FR 14107, Mar. 21, 2003, as amended at 86 FR 1788, Jan. 11, 2021]


§ 1979.108 Role of Federal agencies.

(a)(1) The complainant and the named person shall be parties in every proceeding. At the Assistant Secretary’s discretion, the Assistant Secretary may participate as a party or may participate as amicus curiae at any time in the proceedings. This right to participate shall include, but is not limited to, the right to petition for review of a decision of an administrative law judge, including a decision based on a settlement agreement between complainant and the named person, to dismiss a complaint or to issue an order encompassing the terms of the settlement.


(2) Copies of pleadings in all cases, whether or not the Assistant Secretary is participating in the proceeding, must be sent to the Assistant Secretary, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and to the Associate Solicitor, Division of Fair Labor Standards, U.S. Department of Labor, Washington, DC 20210.


(b) The FAA may participate as amicus curiae at any time in the proceedings, at the FAA’s discretion. At the request of the FAA, copies of all pleadings in a case must be sent to the FAA, whether or not the FAA is participating in the proceeding.


§ 1979.109 Decision and orders of the administrative law judge.

(a) The decision of the administrative law judge will contain appropriate findings, conclusions, and an order pertaining to the remedies provided in paragraph (b) of this section, as appropriate. A determination that a violation has occurred may only be made if the complainant has demonstrated that protected behavior or conduct was a contributing factor in the unfavorable personnel action alleged in the complaint. Relief may not be ordered if the named person demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that it would have taken the same unfavorable personnel action in the absence of any protected behavior. Neither the Assistant Secretary’s determination to dismiss a complaint without completing an investigation pursuant to § 1979.104(b) nor the Assistant Secretary’s determination to proceed with an investigation is subject to review by the administrative law judge, and a complaint may not be remanded for the completion of an investigation or for additional findings on the basis that a determination to dismiss was made in error. Rather, if there otherwise is jurisdiction, the administrative law judge shall hear the case on the merits.


(b) If the administrative law judge concludes that the party charged has violated the law, the order shall direct the party charged to take appropriate affirmative action to abate the violation, including, where appropriate, reinstatement of the complainant to that person’s former position, together with the compensation (including back pay), terms, conditions, and privileges of that employment, and compensatory damages. At the request of the complainant, the administrative law judge shall assess against the named person all costs and expenses (including attorney’s and expert witness fees) reasonably incurred. If, upon the request of the named person, the administrative law judge determines that a complaint was frivolous or was brought in bad faith, the judge may award to the named person a reasonable attorney’s fee, not exceeding $1,000.


(c) The decision will be served upon all parties to the proceeding. Any administrative law judge’s decision requiring reinstatement or lifting an order of reinstatement by the Assistant Secretary shall be effective immediately upon receipt of the decision by the named person, and may not be stayed. All other portions of the judge’s order shall be effective ten business days after the date of the decision unless a timely petition for review has been filed with the Administrative Review Board.


§ 1979.110 Decision and orders of the Administrative Review Board.

(a) Any party desiring to seek review, including judicial review, of a decision of the administrative law judge, or a named person alleging that the complaint was frivolous or brought in bad faith who seeks an award of attorney’s fees, must file a written petition for review with the Administrative Review Board (“the Board”). The decision of the Administrative Law Judge shall become the final order of the Secretary unless, pursuant to this section, a petition for review is timely filed with the Board. The petition for review must specifically identify the findings, conclusions, or orders to which exception is taken. Any exception not specifically urged ordinarily shall be deemed to have been waived by the parties. To be effective, a petition must be filed within ten business days of the date of the decision of the Administrative Law Judge. The date of the postmark, facsimile transmittal, or electronic transmittal will be considered to be the date of filing; if the petition is filed in person, by hand-delivery or other means, the petition is considered filed upon receipt. The petition must be served on all parties and on the Chief Administrative Law Judge at the time it is filed with the Board. Copies of the petition for review and all briefs must be served on the Assistant Secretary, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and on the Associate Solicitor, Division of Fair Labor Standards, U.S. Department of Labor.


(b) If a timely petition for review is filed pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section, the decision of the administrative law judge shall become the final order of the Secretary unless the Board, within 30 days of the filing of the petition, issues an order notifying the parties that the case has been accepted for review. If a case is accepted for review, the decision of the administrative law judge shall be inoperative unless and until the Board issues an order adopting the decision, except that a preliminary order of reinstatement shall be effective while review is conducted by the Board. The Board will specify the terms under which any briefs are to be filed. The Board will review the factual determinations of the administrative law judge under the substantial evidence standard.


(c) The decision of the Board shall be issued within 120 days of the conclusion of the hearing, which shall be deemed to be the conclusion of all proceedings before the Administrative Law Judge – i.e., 10 business days after the date of the decision of the Administrative Law Judge unless a motion for reconsideration has been filed with the Administrative Law Judge in the interim. The decision will be served upon all parties and the Chief Administrative Law Judge. The decision will also be served on the Assistant Secretary, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and on the Associate Solicitor, Division of Fair Labor Standards, U.S. Department of Labor, even if the Assistant Secretary is not a party.


(d) If the ARB concludes that the party charged has violated the law, the ARB shall order the party charged to take appropriate affirmative action to abate the violation, including, where appropriate, reinstatement of the complainant to that person’s former position, together with the compensation (including back pay), terms, conditions, and privileges of that employment, and compensatory damages. At the request of the complainant, the Board shall assess against the named person all costs and expenses (including attorney and expert witness fees) reasonably incurred. The ARB’s order is subject to discretionary review by the Secretary as provided in Secretary’s Order 01-2020 (or any successor to that order).


(e) If the ARB concludes that the party charged has not violated the law, the ARB shall issue an order denying the complaint. If, upon the request of the named person, the Board determines that a complaint was frivolous or was brought in bad faith, the Board may award to the named person reasonable attorney fees, not exceeding $1,000. An order under this section is subject to discretionary review by the Secretary as provided in Secretary’s Order 01-2020 (or any successor to that order).


[68 FR 14107, Mar. 21, 2003, as amended at 85 FR 30620, May 20, 2020; 86 FR 1789, Jan. 11, 2021]


Subpart C – Miscellaneous Provisions

§ 1979.111 Withdrawal of complaints, objections, and findings; settlement.

(a) At any time prior to the filing of objections to the findings or preliminary order, a complainant may withdraw his or her complaint under the Act by filing a written withdrawal with the Assistant Secretary. The Assistant Secretary will then determine whether the withdrawal will be approved. The Assistant Secretary will notify the named person of the approval of any withdrawal. If the complaint is withdrawn because of settlement, the settlement shall be approved in accordance with paragraph (d) of this section.


(b) The Assistant Secretary may withdraw his or her findings or a preliminary order at any time before the expiration of the 30-day objection period described in § 1979.106, provided that no objection has yet been filed, and substitute new findings or preliminary order. The date of the receipt of the substituted findings or order will begin a new 30-day objection period.


(c) At any time before the findings or order become final, a party may withdraw his or her objections to the findings or order by filing a written withdrawal with the administrative law judge or, if the case is on review, with the Board. The judge or the Board, as the case may be, will determine whether the withdrawal will be approved. If the objections are withdrawn because of settlement, the settlement shall be approved in accordance with paragraph (d) of this section.


(d)(1) Investigative settlements. At any time after the filing of a complaint, and before the findings and/or order are objected to or become a final order by operation of law, the case may be settled if the Assistant Secretary, the complainant and the named person agree to a settlement.


(2) Adjudicatory settlements. At any time after the filing of objections to the Assistant Secretary’s findings and/or order, the case may be settled if the participating parties agree to a settlement and the settlement is approved by the administrative law judge if the case is before the judge, or by the Board if a timely petition for review has been filed with the Board. A copy of the settlement shall be filed with the administrative law judge or the Board, as the case may be.


(e) Any settlement approved by the Assistant Secretary, the administrative law judge, or the Board, shall constitute the final order of the Secretary and may be enforced pursuant to § 1979.113.


§ 1979.112 Judicial review.

(a) Within 60 days after the issuance of a final order (including a decision issued by the Secretary upon his or her discretionary review) for which judicial review is available, any person adversely affected or aggrieved by the order may file a petition for review of the order in the United States Court of Appeals for the circuit in which the violation allegedly occurred or the circuit in which the complainant resided on the date of the violation. A final order of the Secretary is not subject to judicial review in any criminal or other civil proceeding.


(b) If a timely petition for review is filed, the record of a case, including the record of proceedings before the administrative law judge, will be transmitted by the Board to the appropriate court pursuant to the rules of the court.


[68 FR 14107, Mar. 21, 2003, as amended at 85 FR 30621, May 20, 2020]


§ 1979.113 Judicial enforcement.

Whenever any person has failed to comply with a preliminary order of reinstatement or a final order or the terms of a settlement agreement, the Secretary or a person on whose behalf the order was issued may file a civil action seeking enforcement of the order in the United States district court for the district in which the violation was found to have occurred.


§ 1979.114 Special circumstances; waiver of rules.

In special circumstances not contemplated by the provisions of this part, or for good cause shown, the administrative law judge or the Board on review may, upon application, after three days notice to all parties and interveners, waive any rule or issue any orders that justice or the administration of the Act requires.


PART 1980 – PROCEDURES FOR THE HANDLING OF RETALIATION COMPLAINTS UNDER SECTION 806 OF THE SARBANES-OXLEY ACT OF 2002, AS AMENDED


Authority:18 U.S.C. 1514A, as amended by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, Pub. L. 111-203 (July 21, 2010); Secretary of Labor’s Order No. 01-2012 (Jan. 18, 2012), 77 FR 3912 (Jan. 25, 2012); Secretary’s Order No. 01-2020, 85 FR 13186 (March 6, 2020).



Source:80 FR 11880, Mar. 5, 2015, unless otherwise noted.

Subpart A – Complaints, Investigations, Findings and Preliminary Orders

§ 1980.100 Purpose and scope.

(a) This part implements procedures under section 806 of the Corporate and Criminal Fraud Accountability Act of 2002, Title VIII of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (Sarbanes-Oxley or Act), enacted into law July 30, 2002, as amended by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, enacted into law July 21, 2010. Sarbanes-Oxley provides for employee protection from retaliation by companies, their subsidiaries and affiliates, officers, employees, contractors, subcontractors, and agents because the employee has engaged in protected activity pertaining to a violation or alleged violation of 18 U.S.C. 1341, 1343, 1344, or 1348, or any rule or regulation of the Securities and Exchange Commission, or any provision of Federal law relating to fraud against shareholders. Sarbanes-Oxley also provides for employee protection from retaliation by nationally recognized statistical rating organizations, their officers, employees, contractors, subcontractors or agents because the employee has engaged in protected activity.


(b) This part establishes procedures pursuant to Sarbanes-Oxley for the expeditious handling of retaliation complaints made by employees, or by persons acting on their behalf and sets forth the Secretary’s interpretations of the Act on certain statutory issues. These rules, together with those codified at 29 CFR part 18, set forth the procedures for submission of complaints under Sarbanes-Oxley, investigations, issuance of findings and preliminary orders, objections to findings and orders, litigation before administrative law judges, post-hearing administrative review, withdrawals, and settlements.


§ 1980.101 Definitions.

As used in this part:


(a) Act means section 806 of the Corporate and Criminal Fraud Accountability Act of 2002, Title VIII of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, Pub. L. 107-204, July 30, 2002, codified at 18 U.S.C. 1514A, as amended by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, Pub. L. 111-203, July 21, 2010.


(b) Assistant Secretary means the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health or the person or persons to whom he or she delegates authority under the Act.


(c) Business days means days other than Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays.


(d) Company means any company with a class of securities registered under section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78l) or any company required to file reports under section 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78o(d)) including any subsidiary or affiliate whose financial information is included in the consolidated financial statements of such company.


(e) Complainant means the employee who filed a complaint under the Act or on whose behalf a complaint was filed.


(f) Covered person means any company, including any subsidiary or affiliate whose financial information is included in the consolidated financial statements of such company, or any nationally recognized statistical rating organization, or any officer, employee, contractor, subcontractor, or agent of such company or nationally recognized statistical rating organization.


(g) Employee means an individual presently or formerly working for a covered person, an individual applying to work for a covered person, or an individual whose employment could be affected by a covered person.


(h) Nationally recognized statistical rating organization means a credit rating agency under 15 U.S.C. 78c(61) that:


(1) Issues credit ratings certified by qualified institutional buyers, in accordance with 15 U.S.C. 78o-7(a)(1)(B)(ix), with respect to:


(i) Financial institutions, brokers, or dealers;


(ii) Insurance companies;


(iii) Corporate issuers;


(iv) Issuers of asset-backed securities (as that term is defined in section 1101(c) of part 229 of title 17, Code of Federal Regulations, as in effect on September 29, 2006);


(v) Issuers of government securities, municipal securities, or securities issued by a foreign government; or


(vi) A combination of one or more categories of obligors described in any of paragraphs (h)(1)(i) through (v) of this section; and


(2) Is registered under 15 U.S.C. 78o-7.


(i) OSHA means the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the United States Department of Labor.


(j) Person means one or more individuals, partnerships, associations, companies, corporations, business trusts, legal representatives or any group of persons.


(k) Respondent means the person named in the complaint who is alleged to have violated the Act.


(l) Secretary means the Secretary of Labor or persons to whom authority under the Act has been delegated.


(m) Any future statutory amendments that affect the definition of a term or terms listed in this section will apply in lieu of the definition stated herein.


§ 1980.102 Obligations and prohibited acts.

(a) No covered person may discharge, demote, suspend, threaten, harass or in any other manner retaliate against, including, but not limited to, intimidating, threatening, restraining, coercing, blacklisting or disciplining, any employee with respect to the employee’s compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because the employee, or any person acting pursuant to the employee’s request, has engaged in any of the activities specified in paragraphs (b)(1) and (2) of this section.


(b) An employee is protected against retaliation (as described in paragraph (a) of this section) by a covered person for any lawful act done by the employee:


(1) To provide information, cause information to be provided, or otherwise assist in an investigation regarding any conduct which the employee reasonably believes constitutes a violation of 18 U.S.C. 1341, 1343, 1344, or 1348, any rule or regulation of the Securities and Exchange Commission, or any provision of Federal law relating to fraud against shareholders, when the information or assistance is provided to or the investigation is conducted by –


(i) A Federal regulatory or law enforcement agency;


(ii) Any Member of Congress or any committee of Congress; or


(iii) A person with supervisory authority over the employee (or such other person working for the employer who has the authority to investigate, discover, or terminate misconduct); or


(2) To file, cause to be filed, testify, participate in, or otherwise assist in a proceeding filed or about to be filed (with any knowledge of the employer) relating to an alleged violation of 18 U.S.C. 1341, 1343, 1344, or 1348, any rule or regulation of the Securities and Exchange Commission, or any provision of Federal law relating to fraud against shareholders.


§ 1980.103 Filing of retaliation complaints.

(a) Who may file. An employee who believes that he or she has been retaliated against by a covered person in violation of the Act may file, or have filed on the employee’s behalf, a complaint alleging such retaliation.


(b) Nature of filing. No particular form of complaint is required. A complaint may be filed orally or in writing. Oral complaints will be reduced to writing by OSHA. If the complainant is unable to file the complaint in English, OSHA will accept the complaint in any language.


(c) Place of filing. The complaint should be filed with the OSHA office responsible for enforcement activities in the geographical area where the employee resides or was employed, but may be filed with any OSHA officer or employee. Addresses and telephone numbers for these officials are set forth in local directories and at the following Internet address: http://www.osha.gov.


(d) Time for filing. Within 180 days after an alleged violation of the Act occurs or after the date on which the employee became aware of the alleged violation of the Act, any employee who believes that he or she has been retaliated against in violation of the Act may file, or have filed on the employee’s behalf, a complaint alleging such retaliation. The date of the postmark, facsimile transmittal, electronic communication transmittal, telephone call, hand-delivery, delivery to a third-party commercial carrier, or in-person filing at an OSHA office will be considered the date of filing. The time for filing a complaint may be tolled for reasons warranted by applicable case law. For example, OSHA may consider the time for filing a complaint equitably tolled if a complainant mistakenly files a complaint with the another agency instead of OSHA within 180 days after becoming aware of the alleged violation.


§ 1980.104 Investigation.

(a) Upon receipt of a complaint in the investigating office, OSHA will notify the respondent of the filing of the complaint, of the allegations contained in the complaint, and of the substance of the evidence supporting the complaint. Such materials will be redacted, if necessary, in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a, et seq., and other applicable confidentiality laws. OSHA will also notify the respondent of its rights under paragraphs (b) and (f) of this section and § 1980.110(e). OSHA will provide an unredacted copy of these same materials to the complainant (or complainant’s legal counsel, if complainant is represented by counsel) and to the Securities and Exchange Commission.


(b) Within 20 days of receipt of the notice of the filing of the complaint provided under paragraph (a) of this section, the respondent may submit to OSHA a written statement and any affidavits or documents substantiating its position. Within the same 20 days, the respondent may request a meeting with OSHA to present its position.


(c) During the investigation, OSHA will request that each party provide the other parties to the whistleblower complaint with a copy of submissions to OSHA that are pertinent to the whistleblower complaint. Alternatively, if a party does not provide its submissions to OSHA to the other party, OSHA will provide them to the other party (or the party’s legal counsel if the party is represented by counsel) at a time permitting the other party an opportunity to respond. Before providing such materials to the other party, OSHA will redact them, if necessary, consistent with the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a, and other applicable confidentiality laws. OSHA will also provide each party with an opportunity to respond to the other party’s submissions.


(d) Investigations will be conducted in a manner that protects the confidentiality of any person who provides information on a confidential basis, other than the complainant, in accordance with part 70 of this title.


(e)(1) A complaint will be dismissed unless the complainant has made a prima facie showing that a protected activity was a contributing factor in the adverse action alleged in the complaint.


(2) The complaint, supplemented as appropriate by interviews of the complainant, must allege the existence of facts and evidence to make a prima facie showing as follows:


(i) The employee engaged in a protected activity;


(ii) The respondent knew or suspected that the employee engaged in the protected activity;


(iii) The employee suffered an adverse action; and


(iv) The circumstances were sufficient to raise the inference that the protected activity was a contributing factor in the adverse action.


(3) For purposes of determining whether to investigate, the complainant will be considered to have met the required burden if the complaint on its face, supplemented as appropriate through interviews of the complainant, alleges the existence of facts and either direct or circumstantial evidence to meet the required showing, i.e., to give rise to an inference that the respondent knew or suspected that the employee engaged in protected activity and that the protected activity was a contributing factor in the adverse action. The burden may be satisfied, for example, if the complaint shows that the adverse personnel action took place within a temporal proximity after the protected activity, or at the first opportunity available to respondent, giving rise to the inference that it was a contributing factor in the adverse action. If the required showing has not been made, the complainant (or the complainant’s legal counsel, if complainant is represented by counsel) will be so notified and the investigation will not commence.


(4) Notwithstanding a finding that a complainant has made a prima facie showing, as required by this section, further investigation of the complaint will not be conducted if the respondent demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that it would have taken the same adverse action in the absence of the complainant’s protected activity.


(5) If the respondent fails to make a timely response or fails to satisfy the burden set forth in the prior paragraph, OSHA will proceed with the investigation. The investigation will proceed whenever it is necessary or appropriate to confirm or verify the information provided by the respondent.


(f) Prior to the issuance of findings and a preliminary order as provided for in § 1980.105, if OSHA has reasonable cause, on the basis of information gathered under the procedures of this part, to believe that the respondent has violated the Act and that preliminary reinstatement is warranted, OSHA will contact the respondent (or the respondent’s legal counsel, if respondent is represented by counsel) to give notice of the substance of the relevant evidence supporting the complainant’s allegations as developed during the course of the investigation. This evidence includes any witness statements, which will be redacted to protect the identity of confidential informants where statements were given in confidence; if the statements cannot be redacted without revealing the identity of confidential informants, summaries of their contents will be provided. The complainant will also receive a copy of the materials that must be provided to the respondent under this paragraph. Before providing such materials to the complainant, OSHA will redact them, if necessary, in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a, and other applicable confidentiality laws. The respondent will be given the opportunity to submit a written response, to meet with the investigator, to present statements from witnesses in support of its position, and to present legal and factual arguments. The respondent will present this evidence within 10 business days of OSHA’s notification pursuant to this paragraph, or as soon afterwards as OSHA and the respondent can agree, if the interests of justice so require.


§ 1980.105 Issuance of findings and preliminary orders.

(a) After considering all the relevant information collected during the investigation, the Assistant Secretary shall issue, within 60 days of the filing of the complaint, written findings as to whether or not there is reasonable cause to believe that the respondent has retaliated against the complainant in violation of the Act.


(1) If the Assistant Secretary concludes that there is reasonable cause to believe that a violation has occurred, the Assistant Secretary will accompany the findings with a preliminary order providing relief to the complainant. The preliminary order will include all relief necessary to make the employee whole, including reinstatement with the same seniority status that the complainant would have had but for the retaliation; back pay with interest; and compensation for any special damages sustained as a result of the retaliation, including litigation costs, expert witness fees, and reasonable attorney fees. Interest on back pay will be calculated using the interest rate applicable to underpayment of taxes under 26 U.S.C. 6621 and will be compounded daily. The preliminary order will also require the respondent to submit appropriate documentation to the Social Security Administration allocating any back pay award to the appropriate calendar quarters.


(2) If the Assistant Secretary concludes that a violation has not occurred, the Assistant Secretary will notify the parties of that finding.


(b) The findings, and where appropriate, the preliminary order will be sent by means that allow OSHA to confirm delivery to all parties of record (and each party’s legal counsel if the party is represented by counsel). The findings, and where appropriate, the preliminary order will inform the parties of the right to object to the findings and/or order and to request a hearing, and of the right of the respondent to request an award of attorney fees not exceeding $1,000 from the administrative law judge (ALJ) regardless of whether the respondent has filed objections, if the complaint was frivolous or brought in bad faith. The findings, and where appropriate, the preliminary order, also will give the address of the Chief Administrative Law Judge, U.S. Department of Labor, or appropriate information regarding filing objections electronically with the Office of Administrative Law Judges. At the same time, the Assistant Secretary will file with the Chief Administrative Law Judge a copy of the original complaint and a copy of the findings and/or order.


(c) The findings and any preliminary order will be effective 30 days after receipt by the respondent (or the respondent’s legal counsel if the respondent is represented by counsel), or on the compliance date set forth in the preliminary order, whichever is later, unless an objection and/or a request for hearing has been timely filed as provided at § 1980.106. However, the portion of any preliminary order requiring reinstatement will be effective immediately upon the respondent’s receipt of the findings and the preliminary order, regardless of any objections to the findings and/or the order.


[80 FR 11880, Mar. 5, 2015, as amended at 86 FR 1789, Jan. 11, 2021]


Subpart B – Litigation

§ 1980.106 Objections to the findings and the preliminary order and request for a hearing.

(a) Any party who desires review, including judicial review, of the findings and preliminary order, or a respondent alleging that the complaint was frivolous or brought in bad faith who seeks an award of attorney fees under the Act, must file any objections and/or a request for a hearing on the record within 30 days of receipt of the findings and preliminary order pursuant to § 1980.105(b). The objections and/or request for a hearing must be in writing and state whether the objections are to the findings and/or the preliminary order, and/or whether there should be an award of attorney fees. The date of the postmark, facsimile transmittal, or electronic transmittal is considered the date of filing; if the objection is filed in person, by hand-delivery or other means, the objection is filed upon receipt. Objections must be filed with the Chief Administrative Law Judge, U.S. Department of Labor, in accordance with 29 CFR part 18, and copies of the objections must be served at the same time on the other parties of record, the OSHA official who issued the findings and order, the Assistant Secretary, and the Associate Solicitor, Division of Fair Labor Standards, U.S. Department of Labor.


(b) If a timely objection is filed, all provisions of the preliminary order will be stayed, except for the portion requiring preliminary reinstatement, which will not be automatically stayed. The portion of the preliminary order requiring reinstatement will be effective immediately upon the respondent’s receipt of the findings and preliminary order, regardless of any objections to the order. The respondent may file a motion with the Office of Administrative Law Judges for a stay of the Assistant Secretary’s preliminary order of reinstatement, which shall be granted only based on exceptional circumstances. If no timely objection is filed with respect to either the findings or the preliminary order, the findings and/or preliminary order will become the final decision of the Secretary, not subject to judicial review.


[80 FR 11880, Mar. 5, 2015, as amended at 86 FR 1789, Jan. 11, 2021]


§ 1980.107 Hearings.

(a) Except as provided in this part, proceedings will be conducted in accordance with the rules of practice and procedure for administrative hearings before the Office of Administrative Law Judges, codified at subpart A of part 18 of this title.


(b) Upon receipt of an objection and request for hearing, the Chief Administrative Law Judge will promptly assign the case to an ALJ who will notify the parties of the day, time, and place of hearing. The hearing is to commence expeditiously, except upon a showing of good cause or unless otherwise agreed to by the parties. Hearings will be conducted de novo, on the record. ALJs have broad discretion to limit discovery in order to expedite the hearing.


(c) If both the complainant and the respondent object to the findings and/or order, the objections will be consolidated and a single hearing will be conducted.


(d) Formal rules of evidence will not apply, but rules or principles designed to assure production of the most probative evidence will be applied. The ALJ may exclude evidence that is immaterial, irrelevant, or unduly repetitious.


[80 FR 11880, Mar. 5, 2015, as amended at 86 FR 1789, Jan. 11, 2021]


§ 1980.108 Role of Federal agencies.

(a)(1) The complainant and the respondent will be parties in every proceeding and must be served with copies of all documents in the case. At the Assistant Secretary’s discretion, the Assistant Secretary may participate as a party or as amicus curiae at any time at any stage of the proceeding. This right to participate includes, but is not limited to, the right to petition for review of a decision of an ALJ, including a decision approving or rejecting a settlement agreement between the complainant and the respondent.


(2) Parties must send copies of documents to OSHA and to the Associate Solicitor, Division of Fair Labor Standards, U.S. Department of Labor, only upon request of OSHA, or when OSHA is participating in the proceeding, or when service on OSHA and the Associate Solicitor is otherwise required by these rules.


(b) The Securities and Exchange Commission, if interested in a proceeding, may participate as amicus curiae at any time in the proceeding, at the Commission’s discretion. At the request of the Securities and Exchange Commission, copies of all documents in a case must be sent to the Commission, whether or not the Commission is participating in the proceeding.


§ 1980.109 Decision and orders of the administrative law judge.

(a) The decision of the ALJ will contain appropriate findings, conclusions, and an order pertaining to the remedies provided in paragraph (d) of this section, as appropriate. A determination that a violation has occurred may be made only if the complainant has demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence that protected activity was a contributing factor in the adverse action alleged in the complaint.


(b) If the complainant has satisfied the burden set forth in the prior paragraph, relief may not be ordered if the respondent demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that it would have taken the same adverse action in the absence of any protected activity.


(c) Neither OSHA’s determination to dismiss a complaint without completing an investigation pursuant to § 1980.104(e) nor OSHA’s determination to proceed with an investigation is subject to review by the ALJ, and a complaint may not be remanded for the completion of an investigation or for additional findings on the basis that a determination to dismiss was made in error. Rather, if there otherwise is jurisdiction, the ALJ will hear the case on the merits or dispose of the matter without a hearing if the facts and circumstances warrant.


(d)(1) If the ALJ concludes that the respondent has violated the law, the order will provide all relief necessary to make the employee whole, including, reinstatement with the same seniority status that the complainant would have had but for the retaliation; back pay with interest; and compensation for any special damages sustained as a result of the retaliation, including litigation costs, expert witness fees, and reasonable attorney fees. Interest on back pay will be calculated using the interest rate applicable to underpayment of taxes under 26 U.S.C. 6621 and will be compounded daily. The order will also require the respondent to submit appropriate documentation to the Social Security Administration allocating any back pay award to the appropriate calendar quarters.


(2) If the ALJ determines that the respondent has not violated the law, an order will be issued denying the complaint. If, upon the request of the respondent, the ALJ determines that a complaint was frivolous or was brought in bad faith, the judge may award to the respondent reasonable attorney fees, not exceeding $1,000.


(e) The decision will be served upon all parties to the proceeding, the Assistant Secretary, and the Associate Solicitor, Division of Fair Labor Standards, U.S. Department of Labor. Any ALJ’s decision requiring reinstatement or lifting an order of reinstatement by the Assistant Secretary will be effective immediately upon receipt of the decision by the respondent. All other portions of the ALJ’s order will be effective 14 days after the date of the decision unless a timely petition for review has been filed with the Administrative Review Board (ARB). The decision of the ALJ will become the final order of the Secretary unless a petition for review is timely filed with the ARB, and the ARB accepts the petition for review.


§ 1980.110 Decision and orders of the Administrative Review Board.

(a) Any party desiring to seek review, including judicial review, of a decision of the ALJ, or a respondent alleging that the complaint was frivolous or brought in bad faith who seeks an award of attorney fees, must file a written petition for review with the ARB. The parties should identify in their petitions for review the legal conclusions or orders to which they object, or the objections may be deemed waived. A petition must be filed within 14 days of the date of the decision of the ALJ. The date of the postmark, facsimile transmittal, or electronic communication transmittal will be considered to be the date of filing; if the petition is filed in person, by hand delivery or other means, the petition is considered filed upon receipt. The petition must be served on all parties and on the Chief Administrative Law Judge at the time it is filed with the ARB. Copies of the petition for review must be served on the Assistant Secretary and on the Associate Solicitor, Division of Fair Labor Standards, U.S. Department of Labor.


(b) If a timely petition for review is filed pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section, the decision of the ALJ will become the final order of the Secretary unless the ARB, within 30 days of the filing of the petition, issues an order notifying the parties that the case has been accepted for review. If a case is accepted for review, the decision of the ALJ will be inoperative unless and until the ARB issues an order adopting the decision, except that any order of reinstatement will be effective while review is conducted by the ARB, unless the ARB grants a motion by the respondent to stay the order based on exceptional circumstances. The ARB will specify the terms under which any briefs are to be filed. The ARB will review the factual determinations of the ALJ under the substantial evidence standard. If no timely petition for review is filed, or the ARB denies review, the decision of the ALJ will become the final order of the Secretary. If no timely petition for review is filed, the resulting final order is not subject to judicial review.


(c) The decision of the ARB shall be issued within 120 days of the conclusion of the hearing, which will be deemed to be 14 days after the date of the decision of the ALJ unless a motion for reconsideration has been filed with the ALJ in the interim. In such case, the conclusion of the hearing is the date the motion for reconsideration is ruled upon or 14 days after a new decision is issued. The ARB’s decision will be served upon all parties and the Chief Administrative Law Judge. The decision will also be served on the Assistant Secretary and on the Associate Solicitor, Division of Fair Labor Standards, even if the Assistant Secretary is not a party.


(d) If the ARB concludes that the respondent has violated the law, the ARB will issue an order providing all relief necessary to make the complainant whole, including reinstatement with the same seniority status that the complainant would have had but for the retaliation; back pay with interest; and compensation for any special damages sustained as a result of the retaliation, including litigation costs, expert witness fees, and reasonable attorney fees. Interest on back pay will be calculated using the interest rate applicable to underpayment of taxes under 26 U.S.C. 6621 and will be compounded daily. The order will also require the respondent to submit appropriate documentation to the Social Security Administration allocating any back pay award to the appropriate calendar quarters. Such order is subject to discretionary review by the Secretary as provided in Secretary’s Order 01-2020 (or any successor to that order).


(e) If the ARB concludes that the respondent has not violated the law, the ARB will issue an order denying the complaint. If, upon the request of the respondent, the ARB determines that a complaint was frivolous or was brought in bad faith, the ARB may award to the respondent reasonable attorney fees, not exceeding $1,000. An order under this section is subject to discretionary review by the Secretary as provided in Secretary’s Order 01-2020 (or any successor to that order).


[80 FR 11880, Mar. 5, 2015, as amended at 85 FR 30621, May 20, 2020; 86 FR 1789, Jan. 11, 2021]


Subpart C – Miscellaneous Provisions

§ 1980.111 Withdrawal of complaints, findings, objections, and petitions for review; settlement.

(a) At any time prior to the filing of objections to the Assistant Secretary’s findings and/or preliminary order, a complainant may withdraw his or her complaint by notifying OSHA, orally or in writing, of his or her withdrawal. OSHA then will confirm in writing the complainant’s desire to withdraw and determine whether to approve the withdrawal. OSHA will notify the parties (and each party’s legal counsel if the party is represented by counsel) of the approval of any withdrawal. If the complaint is withdrawn because of settlement, the settlement must be submitted for approval in accordance with paragraph (d) of this section. A complainant may not withdraw his or her complaint after the filing of objections to the Assistant Secretary’s findings and/or preliminary order.


(b) The Assistant Secretary may withdraw the findings and/or preliminary order at any time before the expiration of the 30-day objection period described in § 1980.106, provided that no objection has been filed yet, and substitute new findings and/or a new preliminary order. The date of the receipt of the substituted findings and/or order will begin a new 30-day objection period.


(c) At any time before the Assistant Secretary’s findings and/or order become final, a party may withdraw objections to the Assistant Secretary’s findings and/or order by filing a written withdrawal with the ALJ. If the case is on review with the ARB, a party may withdraw a petition for review of an ALJ’s decision at any time before that decision becomes final by filing a written withdrawal with the ARB. The ALJ or the ARB, as the case may be, will determine whether to approve the withdrawal of the objections or the petition for review. If the ALJ approves a request to withdraw objections to the Assistant Secretary’s findings and/or order, and there are no other pending objections, the Assistant Secretary’s findings and/or order will become the final order of the Secretary. If the ARB approves a request to withdraw a petition for review of an ALJ decision, and there are no other pending petitions for review of that decision, the ALJ’s decision will become the final order of the Secretary. If objections or a petition for review are withdrawn because of settlement, the settlement must be submitted for approval in accordance with paragraph (d) of this section.


(d)(1) Investigative settlements. At any time after the filing of a complaint, and before the findings and/or order are objected to or become a final order by operation of law, the case may be settled if OSHA, the complainant and the respondent agree to a settlement. OSHA’s approval of a settlement reached by the respondent and the complainant demonstrates OSHA’s consent and achieves the consent of all three parties.


(2) Adjudicatory settlements. At any time after the filing of objections to the Assistant Secretary’s findings and/or order, the case may be settled if the participating parties agree to a settlement and the settlement is approved by the ALJ if the case is before the ALJ, or by the ARB if the ARB has accepted the case for review. A copy of the settlement will be filed with the ALJ or the ARB, as appropriate.


(e) Any settlement approved by OSHA, the ALJ, or the ARB, will constitute the final order of the Secretary and may be enforced in United States district court pursuant to § 1980.113.


§ 1980.112 Judicial review.

(a) Within 60 days after the issuance of a final order (including a decision issued by the Secretary upon his or her discretionary review) for which judicial review is available, any person adversely affected or aggrieved by the order may file a petition for review of the order in the United States Court of Appeals for the circuit in which the violation allegedly occurred or the circuit in which the complainant resided on the date of the violation.


(b) A final order is not subject to judicial review in any criminal or other civil proceeding.


(c) If a timely petition for review is filed, the record of a case, including the record of proceedings before the ALJ, will be transmitted by the ARB or the ALJ, as the case may be, to the appropriate court pursuant to the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure and the local rules of such court.


[80 FR 11880, Mar. 5, 2015, as amended at 85 FR 30622, May 20, 2020]


§ 1980.113 Judicial enforcement.

Whenever any person has failed to comply with a preliminary order of reinstatement, or a final order, including one approving a settlement agreement, issued under the Act, the Secretary may file a civil action seeking enforcement of the order in the United States district court for the district in which the violation was found to have occurred. Whenever any person has failed to comply with a preliminary order of reinstatement, or a final order, including one approving a settlement agreement, issued under the Act, a person on whose behalf the order was issued may file a civil action seeking enforcement of the order in the appropriate United States district court.


§ 1980.114 District court jurisdiction over retaliation complaints.

(a) If the Secretary has not issued a final decision within 180 days of the filing of the complaint, and there is no showing that there has been delay due to the bad faith of the complainant, the complainant may bring an action at law or equity for de novo review in the appropriate district court of the United States, which will have jurisdiction over such an action without regard to the amount in controversy. A party to an action brought under this paragraph shall be entitled to trial by jury.


(b) A proceeding under paragraph (a) of this section shall be governed by the same legal burdens of proof specified in § 1980.109. An employee prevailing in any action under paragraph (a) of this section shall be entitled to all relief necessary to make the employee whole, including:


(1) Reinstatement with the same seniority status that the employee would have had, but for the retaliation;


(2) The amount of back pay, with interest;


(3) Compensation for any special damages sustained as a result of the retaliation; and


(4) Litigation costs, expert witness fees, and reasonable attorney fees.


(c) Within seven days after filing a complaint in federal court, a complainant must file with OSHA, the ALJ, or the ARB, depending on where the proceeding is pending, a copy of the file-stamped complaint. A copy of the complaint also must be served on the OSHA official who issued the findings and/or preliminary order, the Assistant Secretary, and the Associate Solicitor, Division of Fair Labor Standards, U.S. Department of Labor.


§ 1980.115 Special circumstances; waiver of rules.

In special circumstances not contemplated by the provisions of this part, or for good cause shown, the ALJ or the ARB on review may, upon application, after three days notice to all parties, waive any rule or issue any orders that justice or the administration of the Act requires.


PART 1981 – PROCEDURES FOR THE HANDLING OF DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINTS UNDER SECTION 6 OF THE PIPELINE SAFETY IMPROVEMENT ACT OF 2002


Authority:49 U.S.C. 60129; Secretary’s Order 1-2012 (Jan. 18, 2012), 77 FR 3912 (Jan. 25, 2012); Secretary’s Order 01-2020, 85 FR 13186 (March 6, 2020).



Source:69 FR 17591, Apr. 5, 2004, unless otherwise noted.

Subpart A – Complaints, Investigations, Findings, and Preliminary Orders

§ 1981.100 Purpose and scope.

(a) This part implements procedures under section 6 of the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002, 49 U.S.C. 60129 (“the Pipeline Safety Act”), which provides for employee protection from discrimination by a person owning or operating a pipeline facility or a contractor or subcontractor of such person because the employee has engaged in protected activity pertaining to a violation or alleged violation of any order, regulation, or standard under chapter 601, subtitle VIII of title 49 of the United States Code or any other provision of Federal law relating to pipeline safety.


(b) This part establishes procedures pursuant to the Pipeline Safety Act for the expeditious handling of discrimination complaints made by employees, or by persons acting on their behalf. These rules, together with those rules codified at 29 CFR part 18, set forth the procedures for submission of complaints under the Pipeline Safety Act, investigations, issuance of findings and preliminary orders, objections to findings and orders, litigation before administrative law judges, post-hearing administrative review, and withdrawals and settlements.


§ 1981.101 Definitions.

“Act” or “Pipeline Safety Act” means section 6 of the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002, Public Law No. 107-355, December 17, 2002, 49 U.S.C. 60129.


“Assistant Secretary” means the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health or the person or persons to whom he or she delegates authority under the Act.


“Complainant” means the employee who filed a complaint under the Act or on whose behalf a complaint was filed.


“Employee” means an individual presently or formerly working for a person owning or operating a pipeline facility or a contractor or subcontractor of such a person, an individual applying to work for a person owning or operating a pipeline facility or a contractor or subcontractor of such a person, or an individual whose employment could be affected by a person owning or operating a pipeline facility or a contractor or subcontractor of such a person.


“Employer” means a person owning or operating a pipeline facility or a contractor or subcontractor of such a person.


“Gas pipeline facility” includes a pipeline, a right of way, a facility, a building, or equipment used in transporting gas or treating gas during its transportation.


“Hazardous liquid pipeline facility” includes a pipeline, a right of way, a facility, a building, or equipment used or intended to be used in transporting hazardous liquid.


“Named person” means the person alleged to have violated the Act.


“OSHA” means the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the United States Department of Labor.


“Person” means a corporation, company, association, firm, partnership, joint stock company, an individual, a State, a municipality, and a trustee, receiver, assignee, or personal representative of a person.


“Pipeline facility” means a gas pipeline facility and a hazardous liquid pipeline facility.


“Secretary” means the Secretary of Labor or persons to whom authority under the Act has been delegated.


§ 1981.102 Obligations and prohibited acts.

(a) No employer may discharge any employee or otherwise discriminate against any employee with respect to the employee’s compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because the employee, or any person acting pursuant to the employee’s request, engaged in any of the activities specified in paragraphs (b)(1) through (5) of this section.


(b) It is a violation of the Act for any employer to intimidate, threaten, restrain, coerce, blacklist, discharge or in any other manner discriminate against any employee because the employee has:


(1) Provided, caused to be provided, or is about to provide or cause to be provided to the employer or the Federal Government, information relating to any violation or alleged violation of any order, regulation, or standard under chapter 601, subtitle VIII of title 49 of the United States Code or any other Federal law relating to pipeline safety;


(2) Refused to engage in any practice made unlawful by chapter 601, in subtitle VIII of title 49 of the United States Code or any other Federal law relating to pipeline safety, if the employee has identified the alleged illegality to the employer;


(3) Provided, caused to be provided, or is about to provide or cause to be provided, testimony before Congress or at any Federal or State proceeding regarding any provision (or proposed provision) of chapter 601, subtitle VIII of title 49 of the United States Code or any other Federal law relating to pipeline safety, or testimony in any proceeding under chapter 601, subtitle VIII of title 49 of the United States Code or any other Federal law relating to pipeline safety, or a proceeding for the administration or enforcement of any requirement imposed under chapter 601, subtitle VIII of title 49 of the United States Code or any other Federal law relating to pipeline safety;


(4) Commenced, caused to be commenced, or is about to commence or cause to be commenced a proceeding under chapter 601, subtitle VIII of title 49 of the United States Code or any other Federal law relating to pipeline safety, or a proceeding for the administration or enforcement of any requirement imposed under chapter 601, subtitle VIII of title 49 of the United States Code or any other Federal law relating to pipeline safety; or


(5) Assisted or participated or is about to assist or participate in any manner in such a proceeding or in any other action to carry out the purposes of chapter 601, subtitle VIII of title 49 of the United States Code or any other Federal law relating to pipeline safety.


(c) This part shall have no application to any employee of an employer who, acting without direction from the employer (or such employer’s agent), deliberately causes a violation of any requirement relating to pipeline safety under chapter 601, subtitle VIII of title 49 of the United States Code or any other Federal law.


§ 1981.103 Filing of discrimination complaint.

(a) Who may file. An employee who believes that he or she has been discriminated against by an employer in violation of the Act may file, or have filed by any person on the employee’s behalf, a complaint alleging such discrimination.


(b) Nature of filing. No particular form of complaint is required, except that a complaint must be in writing and should include a full statement of the acts and omissions, with pertinent dates, which are believed to constitute the violations.


(c) Place of filing. The complaint should be filed with the OSHA Area Director responsible for enforcement activities in the geographical area where the employee resides or was employed, but may be filed with any OSHA officer or employee. Addresses and telephone numbers for these officials are set forth in local directories and at the following Internet address: http://www.osha.gov.


(d) Time for filing. Within 180 days after an alleged violation of the Act occurs (i.e., when the discriminatory decision has been both made and communicated to the complainant), an employee who believes that he or she has been discriminated against in violation of the Act may file, or have filed by any person on the employee’s behalf, a complaint alleging such discrimination. The date of the postmark, facsimile transmittal, or e-mail communication will be considered to be the date of filing; if the complaint is filed in person, by hand-delivery or other means, the complaint is filed upon receipt.


(e) Relationship to section 11(c) complaints. A complaint filed under the Pipeline Safety Act that alleges facts which would constitute a violation of section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, 29 U.S.C. 660(c), will be deemed to be a complaint filed under both the Pipeline Safety Act and section 11(c). Similarly, a complaint filed under section 11(c) that alleges facts that would constitute a violation of the Pipeline Safety Act will be deemed to be a complaint filed under both the Pipeline Safety Act and section 11(c). Normal procedures and timeliness requirements for investigations under the respective laws and regulations will be followed.


§ 1981.104 Investigation.

(a) Upon receipt of a complaint in the investigating office, the Assistant Secretary will notify the named person of the filing of the complaint, of the allegations contained in the complaint, and of the substance of the evidence supporting the complaint (redacted to protect the identity of any confidential informants). The Assistant Secretary will also notify the named person of his or her rights under paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section and paragraph (e) of § 1981.110. A copy of the notice to the named person will also be provided to the Department of Transportation.


(b) A complaint of alleged violation shall be dismissed unless the complainant has made a prima facie showing that protected behavior or conduct was a contributing factor in the unfavorable personnel action alleged in the complaint.


(1) The complaint, supplemented as appropriate by interviews of the complainant, must allege the existence of facts and evidence to make a prima facie showing as follows:


(i) The employee engaged in a protected activity or conduct;


(ii) The named person knew or suspected, actually or constructively, that the employee engaged in the protected activity;


(iii) The employee suffered an unfavorable personnel action; and


(iv) The circumstances were sufficient to raise the inference that the protected activity was a contributing factor in the unfavorable action.


(2) For purposes of determining whether to investigate, the complainant will be considered to have met the required burden if the complaint on its face, supplemented as appropriate through interviews of the complainant, alleges the existence of facts and either direct or circumstantial evidence to meet the required showing, i.e., to give rise to an inference that the named person knew or suspected that the employee engaged in protected activity and that the protected activity was a contributing factor in the unfavorable personnel action. Normally the burden is satisfied, for example, if the complaint shows that the adverse personnel action took place shortly after the protected activity, giving rise to the inference that it was a factor in the adverse action. If the required showing has not been made, the complainant will be so advised and the investigation will not commence.


(c) Notwithstanding a finding that a complainant has made a prima facie showing, as required by this section, an investigation of the complaint shall not be conducted if the named person, pursuant to the procedures provided in this paragraph, demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that it would have taken the same unfavorable personnel action in the absence of the complainant’s protected behavior or conduct. Within 20 days of receipt of the notice of the filing of the complaint, the named person may submit to the Assistant Secretary a written statement and any affidavits or documents substantiating his or her position. Within the same 20 days, the named person may request a meeting with the Assistant Secretary to present his or her position.


(d) If the named person fails to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that it would have taken the same unfavorable personnel action in the absence of the behavior protected by the Act, the Assistant Secretary will conduct an investigation. Investigations will be conducted in a manner that protects the confidentiality of any person who provides information on a confidential basis, other than the complainant, in accordance with part 70 of title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations.


(e) Prior to the issuance of findings and a preliminary order as provided for in § 1981.105, if the Assistant Secretary has reasonable cause, on the basis of information gathered under the procedures of this part, to believe that the named person has violated the Act and that preliminary reinstatement is warranted, the Assistant Secretary will again contact the named person to give notice of the substance of the relevant evidence supporting the complainant’s allegations as developed during the course of the investigation. This evidence includes any witness statements, which will be redacted to protect the identity of confidential informants where statements were given in confidence; if the statements cannot be redacted without revealing the identity of confidential informants, summaries of their contents will be provided. The named person will be given the opportunity to submit a written response, to meet with the investigators to present statements from witnesses in support of his or her position, and to present legal and factual arguments. The named person will present this evidence within 10 business days of the Assistant Secretary’s notification pursuant to this paragraph, or as soon afterwards as the Assistant Secretary and the named person can agree, if the interests of justice so require.


§ 1981.105 Issuance of findings and preliminary orders.

(a) After considering all the relevant information collected during the investigation, the Assistant Secretary shall issue, within 60 days of filing of the complaint, written findings as to whether or not there is reasonable cause to believe that the named person has discriminated against the complainant in violation of the Act.


(1) If the Assistant Secretary concludes that there is reasonable cause to believe that a violation has occurred, he or she shall accompany the findings with a preliminary order providing relief to the complainant. The preliminary order shall include, where appropriate, a requirement that the named person abate the violation; reinstatement of the complainant to his or her former position, together with the compensation (including back pay), terms, conditions and privileges of the complainant’s employment; and payment of compensatory damages. Where the named person establishes that the complainant is a security risk (whether or not the information is obtained after the complainant’s discharge), a preliminary order of reinstatement would not be appropriate. At the complainant’s request the order shall also assess against the named person the complainant’s costs and expenses (including attorney’s and expert witness fees) reasonably incurred in connection with the filing of the complaint.


(2) If the Assistant Secretary concludes that a violation has not occurred, the Assistant Secretary will notify the parties of that finding.


(b) The findings and the preliminary order will be sent by means that allow OSHA to confirm delivery to all parties of record. The letter accompanying the findings and order will inform the parties of their right to file objections and to request a hearing, and of the right of the named person to request attorney’s fees from the administrative law judge, regardless of whether the named person has filed objections, if the named person alleges that the complaint was frivolous or brought in bad faith. The letter also will give the address of the Chief Administrative Law Judge or appropriate information regarding filing objections electronically with the Office of Administrative Law Judges. At the same time, the Assistant Secretary will file with the Chief Administrative Law Judge, U.S. Department of Labor, a copy of the original complaint and a copy of the findings and order.


(c) The findings and the preliminary order will be effective 60 days after receipt by the named person pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section, unless an objection and a request for a hearing has been filed as provided at § 1981.106. However, the portion of any preliminary order requiring reinstatement will be effective immediately upon receipt of the findings and preliminary order.


[69 FR 17591, Apr. 5, 2004, as amended at 86 FR 1790, Jan. 11, 2021]


Subpart B – Litigation

§ 1981.106 Objections to the findings and the preliminary order and request for a hearing.

(a) Any party who desires review, including judicial review, of the findings and preliminary order, or a named person alleging that the complaint was frivolous or brought in bad faith who seeks an award of attorney’s fees, must file any objections and/or a request for a hearing on the record within 60 days of receipt of the findings and preliminary order pursuant to § 1981.105(b). The objection or request for attorney’s fees and request for a hearing must be in writing and state whether the objection is to the findings, the preliminary order, and/or whether there should be an award of attorney’s fees. The date of the postmark, facsimile transmittal, or electronic transmittal will be considered to be the date of filing; if the objection is filed in person, by hand-delivery or other means, the objection is filed upon receipt. Objections must be filed with the Chief Administrative Law Judge, U.S. Department of Labor, in accordance with 29 CFR part 18, and copies of the objections must be served at the same time on the other parties of record, the OSHA official who issued the findings and order, and the Associate Solicitor, Division of Fair Labor Standards, U.S. Department of Labor.


(b)(1) If a timely objection is filed, all provisions of the preliminary order will be stayed, except for the portion requiring preliminary reinstatement, which shall not be automatically stayed. The portion of the preliminary order requiring reinstatement will be effective immediately upon the named person’s receipt of the findings and preliminary order, regardless of any objections to the order. The named person may file a motion with the Office of Administrative Law Judges for stay of the Assistant Secretary’s preliminary order.


(2) If no timely objection is filed with respect to either the findings or the preliminary order, the findings or preliminary order, as the case may be, shall become the final decision of the Secretary, not subject to judicial review.


[69 FR 17591, Apr. 5, 2004, as amended at 86 FR 1790, Jan. 11, 2021]


§ 1981.107 Hearings.

(a) Except as provided in this part, proceedings will be conducted in accordance with the rules of practice and procedure for administrative hearings before the Office of Administrative Law Judges, codified at subpart A, part 18 of title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations.


(b) Upon receipt of an objection and request for hearing, the Chief Administrative Law Judge will promptly assign the case to a judge who will notify the parties of the day, time, and place of hearing. The hearing is to commence expeditiously, except upon a showing of good cause or unless otherwise agreed to by the parties. Hearings will be conducted de novo, on the record. Administrative law judges have broad discretion to limit discovery in order to expedite the hearing.


(c) If both the complainant and the named person object to the findings and/or order, the objections will be consolidated and a single hearing will be conducted.


(d) Formal rules of evidence will not apply, but rules or principles designed to assure production of the most probative evidence will be applied. The administrative law judge may exclude evidence that is immaterial, irrelevant, or unduly repetitious.


[69 FR 17591, Apr. 5, 2004, as amended at 86 FR 1790, Jan. 11, 2021]


§ 1981.108 Role of Federal agencies.

(a)(1) The complainant and the named person will be parties in every proceeding. At the Assistant Secretary’s discretion, the Assistant Secretary may participate as a party or as amicus curiae at any time at any stage of the proceedings. This right to participate includes, but is not limited to, the right to petition for review of a decision of an administrative law judge, including a decision approving or rejecting a settlement agreement between the complainant and the named person.


(2) Copies of pleadings in all cases, whether or not the Assistant Secretary is participating in the proceeding, must be sent to the Assistant Secretary, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and to the Associate Solicitor, Division of Fair Labor Standards, U.S. Department of Labor, Washington, DC 20210.


(b) The Secretary of Transportation may participate as amicus curiae at any time in the proceedings, at the Secretary of Transportation’s discretion. At the request of the Secretary of Transportation, copies of all pleadings in a case must be sent to the Secretary of Transportation, whether or not the Secretary of Transportation is participating in the proceeding.


§ 1981.109 Decision and orders of the administrative law judge.

(a) The decision of the administrative law judge will contain appropriate findings, conclusions, and an order pertaining to the remedies provided in paragraph (b) of this section, as appropriate. A determination that a violation has occurred may only be made if the complainant has demonstrated that protected behavior or conduct was a contributing factor in the unfavorable personnel action alleged in the complaint. Relief may not be ordered if the named person demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that it would have taken the same unfavorable personnel action in the absence of any protected behavior. Neither the Assistant Secretary’s determination to dismiss a complaint without completing an investigation pursuant to § 1981.104(b) nor the Assistant Secretary’s determination to proceed with an investigation is subject to review by the administrative law judge, and a complaint may not be remanded for the completion of an investigation or for additional findings on the basis that a determination to dismiss was made in error. Rather, if there otherwise is jurisdiction, the administrative law judge will hear the case on the merits.


(b) If the administrative law judge concludes that the party charged has violated the law, the order shall direct the party charged to take appropriate affirmative action to abate the violation, including, where appropriate, reinstatement of the complainant to that person’s former position, together with the compensation (including back pay), terms, conditions, and privileges of that employment, and compensatory damages. At the request of the complainant, the administrative law judge shall assess against the named person all costs and expenses (including attorney and expert witness fees) reasonably incurred. If, upon the request of the named person, the administrative law judge determines that a complaint was frivolous or was brought in bad faith, the judge may award to the named person a reasonable attorney’s fee, not exceeding $1,000.


(c) The decision will be served upon all parties to the proceeding. Any administrative law judge’s decision requiring reinstatement or lifting an order of reinstatement by the Assistant Secretary will be effective immediately upon receipt of the decision by the named person, and will not be stayed by the filing of a timely petition for review with the Administrative Review Board. All other portions of the judge’s order will be effective 10 business days after the date of the decision unless a timely petition for review has been filed with the Administrative Review Board.


§ 1981.110 Decision and orders of the Administrative Review Board.

(a) Any party desiring to seek review, including judicial review, of a decision of the Administrative Law Judge, or a named person alleging that the complaint was frivolous or brought in bad faith who seeks an award of attorney’s fees, must file a written petition for review with the Administrative Review Board (“the Board”). The decision of the Administrative Law Judge will become the final order of the Secretary unless, pursuant to this section, a petition for review is timely filed with the Board. The petition for review must specifically identify the findings, conclusions, or orders to which exception is taken. Any exception not specifically urged ordinarily will be deemed to have been waived by the parties. To be effective, a petition must be filed within 10 business days of the date of the decision of the Administrative Law Judge. The date of the postmark, facsimile transmittal, or email communication will be considered to be the date of filing; if the petition is filed in person, by hand delivery or other means, the petition is considered filed upon receipt. The petition must be served on all parties and on the Chief Administrative Law Judge at the time it is filed with the Board. Copies of the petition for review and all briefs must be served on the Assistant Secretary, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and on the Associate Solicitor, Division of Fair Labor Standards, U.S. Department of Labor, Washington, DC 20210.


(b) If a timely petition for review is filed pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section, the decision of the administrative law judge will become the final order of the Secretary unless the Board, within 30 days of the filing of the petition, issues an order notifying the parties that the case has been accepted for review. If a case is accepted for review, the decision of the administrative law judge will be inoperative unless and until the Board issues an order adopting the decision, except that a preliminary order of reinstatement will be effective while review is conducted by the Board, unless the Board grants a motion to stay the order. The Board will specify the terms under which any briefs are to be filed. The Board will review the factual determinations of the administrative law judge under the substantial evidence standard.


(c) The decision of the Board shall be issued within 90 days of the conclusion of the hearing, which will be deemed to be the conclusion of all proceedings before the Administrative Law Judge – i.e., 10 business days after the date of the decision of the Administrative Law Judge unless a motion for reconsideration has been filed with the Administrative Law Judge in the interim. The decision will be served upon all parties and the Chief Administrative Law Judge. The decision will also be served on the Assistant Secretary, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and on the Associate Solicitor, Division of Fair Labor Standards, U.S. Department of Labor, even if the Assistant Secretary is not a party.


(d) If the ARB concludes that the party charged has violated the law, the ARB shall order the party charged to take appropriate affirmative action to abate the violation, including, where appropriate, reinstatement of the complainant to that person’s former position, together with the compensation (including back pay), terms, conditions, and privileges of that employment, and compensatory damages. At the request of the complainant, the Board shall assess against the named person all costs and expenses (including attorney and expert witness fees) reasonably incurred. Such order is subject to discretionary review by the Secretary as provided in Secretary’s Order 01-2020 (or any successor to that order).


(e) If the ARB concludes that the party charged has not violated the law, the ARB will issue an order denying the complaint. If, upon the request of the named person, the Board determines that a complaint was frivolous or was brought in bad faith, the Board may award to the named person reasonable attorney fees, not exceeding $1,000. An order under this section is subject to discretionary review by the Secretary as provided in Secretary’s Order 01-2020 (or any successor to that order).


[69 FR 17591, Apr. 5, 2004, as amended at 85 FR 30622, May 20, 2020; 86 FR 1790, Jan. 11, 2021]


Subpart C – Miscellaneous Provisions

§ 1981.111 Withdrawal of complaints, objections, and findings; settlement.

(a) At any time prior to the filing of objections to the findings or preliminary order, a complainant may withdraw his or her complaint under the Act by filing a written withdrawal with the Assistant Secretary. The Assistant Secretary will then determine whether to approve the withdrawal. The Assistant Secretary will notify the named person of the approval of any withdrawal. If the complaint is withdrawn because of settlement, the settlement will be approved in accordance with paragraph (d) of this section.


(b) The Assistant Secretary may withdraw his or her findings or a preliminary order at any time before the expiration of the 60-day objection period described in § 1981.106, provided that no objection has yet been filed, and substitute new findings or preliminary order. The date of the receipt of the substituted findings or order will begin a new 60-day objection period.


(c) At any time before the findings or order become final, a party may withdraw his or her objections to the findings or order by filing a written withdrawal with the administrative law judge or, if the case is on review, with the Board. The judge or the Board, as the case may be, will determine whether to approve the withdrawal. If the objections are withdrawn because of settlement, the settlement will be approved in accordance with paragraph (d) of this section.


(d)(1) Investigative settlements. At any time after the filing of a complaint, and before the findings and/or order are objected to or become a final order by operation of law, the case may be settled if the Assistant Secretary, the complainant and the named person agree to a settlement.


(2) Adjudicatory settlements. At any time after the filing of objections to the Assistant Secretary’s findings and/or order, the case may be settled if the participating parties agree to a settlement and the settlement is approved by the administrative law judge if the case is before the judge, or by the Board if a timely petition for review has been filed with the Board. A copy of the settlement will be filed with the administrative law judge or the Board, as the case may be.


(e) Any settlement approved by the Assistant Secretary, the administrative law judge, or the Board will constitute the final order of the Secretary and may be enforced pursuant to § 1981.113.


§ 1981.112 Judicial review.

(a) Within 60 days after the issuance of a final order (including a decision issued by the Secretary upon his or her discretionary review) for which judicial review is available, any person adversely affected or aggrieved by the order may file a petition for review of the order in the United States Court of Appeals for the circuit in which the violation allegedly occurred or the circuit in which the complainant resided on the date of the violation. A final order of the Secretary is not subject to judicial review in any criminal or other civil proceeding.


(b) If a timely petition for review is filed, the record of a case, including the record of proceedings before the administrative law judge, will be transmitted by the Board to the appropriate court pursuant to the rules of the court.


[69 FR 17591, Apr. 5, 2004, as amended at 85 FR 30622, May 20, 2020]


§ 1981.113 Judicial enforcement.

Whenever any person has failed to comply with a preliminary order of reinstatement or a final order or the terms of a settlement agreement, the Secretary or a person on whose behalf the order was issued may file a civil action seeking enforcement of the order in the United States district court for the district in which the violation was found to have occurred.


§ 1981.114 Special circumstances; waiver of rules.

In special circumstances not contemplated by the provisions of this part, or for good cause shown, the administrative law judge or the Board on review may, upon application, after three days notice to all parties, waive any rule or issue any orders that justice or the administration of the Act requires.


PART 1982 – PROCEDURES FOR THE HANDLING OF RETALIATION COMPLAINTS UNDER THE NATIONAL TRANSIT SYSTEMS SECURITY ACT AND THE FEDERAL RAILROAD SAFETY ACT


Authority:6 U.S.C. 1142 and 49 U.S.C. 20109; Secretary of Labor’s Order 01-2012 (Jan. 18, 2012), 77 FR 3912 (Jan. 25, 2012); Secretary’s Order No. 01-2020, 85 FR 13186 (March 6, 2020).



Source:80 FR 69132, Nov. 9, 2015, unless otherwise noted.

Subpart A – Complaints, Investigations, Findings and Preliminary Orders

§ 1982.100 Purpose and scope.

(a) This part implements procedures of the National Transit Systems Security Act (NTSSA), 6 U.S.C. 1142, and the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA), 49 U.S.C. 20109, as amended. NTSSA provides for employee protection from retaliation because the employee has engaged in protected activity pertaining to public transportation safety or security (or, in circumstances covered by the statute, the employee is perceived to have engaged or to be about to engage in protected activity). FRSA provides for employee protection from retaliation because the employee has engaged in protected activity pertaining to railroad safety or security (or, in circumstances covered by the statute, the employee is perceived to have engaged or to be about to engage in protected activity), has requested medical or first aid treatment, or has followed orders or a treatment plan of a treating physician. It also protects an employee against delay, denial or interference with first aid or medical treatment for a workplace injury.


(b) This part establishes procedures under NTSSA and FRSA for the expeditious handling of retaliation complaints filed by employees, or by persons acting on their behalf, and sets forth the Secretary’s interpretations of NTSSA and FRSA on certain statutory issues. These rules, together with those codified at 29 CFR part 18, set forth the procedures under NTSSA or FRSA for submission of complaints, investigations, issuance of findings and preliminary orders, objections to findings and orders, litigation before administrative law judges, post-hearing administrative review, and withdrawals and settlements.


§ 1982.101 Definitions.

As used in this part:


(a) Assistant Secretary means the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health or the person or persons to whom he or she delegates authority under NTSSA or FRSA.


(b) Business days means days other than Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays.


(c) Complainant means the employee who filed a NTSSA or FRSA complaint or on whose behalf a complaint was filed.


(d) Employee means an individual presently or formerly working for, an individual applying to work for, or an individual whose employment could be affected by a public transportation agency or a railroad carrier, or a contractor or subcontractor of a public transportation agency or a railroad carrier.


(e) FRSA means Section 1521 of the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, Public Law 110-053, August 3, 2007, as further amended by Public Law 110-432, October, 16, 2008, codified at 49 U.S.C. 20109.


(f) NTSSA means Section 1413 of the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, Public Law 110-053, August 3, 2007, codified at 6 U.S.C. 1142.


(g) OSHA means the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the United States Department of Labor.


(h) Public transportation means regular, continuing shared-ride surface transportation services that are open to the general public or open to a segment of the general public defined by age, disability, or low income; and does not include: Intercity passenger rail transportation provided by the entity described in chapter 243 (or a successor to such entity); intercity bus service; charter bus service; school bus service; sightseeing service; courtesy shuttle service for patrons of one or more specific establishments; or intra-terminal or intra-facility shuttle services.


(i) Public transportation agency means a publicly owned operator of public transportation eligible to receive federal assistance under 49 U.S.C. chapter 53.


(j) Railroad means any form of nonhighway ground transportation that runs on rails or electromagnetic guideways, including commuter or other short-haul railroad passenger service in a metropolitan or suburban area and commuter railroad service that was operated by the Consolidated Rail Corporation on January 1, 1979; and high speed ground transportation systems that connect metropolitan areas, without regard to whether those systems use new technologies not associated with traditional railroads; but does not include rapid transit operations in an urban area that are not connected to the general railroad system of transportation.


(k) Railroad carrier means a person providing railroad transportation, except that, upon petition by a group of commonly controlled railroad carriers that the Secretary of Transportation determines is operating within the United States as a single, integrated rail system, the Secretary of Transportation may by order treat the group of railroad carriers as a single railroad carrier for purposes of one or more provisions of part A, subtitle V of title 49 and implementing regulations and order, subject to any appropriate conditions that the Secretary of Transportation may impose.


(l) Respondent means the person alleged to have violated NTSSA or FRSA.


(m) Secretary means the Secretary of Labor or person to whom authority under NTSSA or FRSA has been delegated.


(n) Any future statutory amendments that affect the definition of a term or terms listed in this section will apply in lieu of the definition stated herein.


§ 1982.102 Obligations and prohibited acts.

(a) National Transit Systems Security Act. (1) A public transportation agency, contractor, or subcontractor of such agency, or officer or employee of such agency, shall not discharge, demote, suspend, reprimand, or in any other way retaliate against, including but not limited to intimidating, threatening, restraining, coercing, blacklisting, or disciplining, an employee if such retaliation is due, in whole or in part, to the employee’s lawful, good faith act done, or perceived by the employer to have been done or about to be done –


(i) To provide information, directly cause information to be provided, or otherwise directly assist in any investigation regarding any conduct which the employee reasonably believes constitutes a violation of any Federal law, rule, or regulation relating to public transportation safety or security, or fraud, waste, or abuse of Federal grants or other public funds intended to be used for public transportation safety or security, if the information or assistance is provided to or an investigation stemming from the provided information is conducted by –


(A) A Federal, State or local regulatory or law enforcement agency (including an office of the Inspector General under the Inspector General Act of 1978 (5 U.S.C. App.; Pub. L. 95-452));


(B) Any Member of Congress, any Committee of Congress, or the Government Accountability Office; or


(C) A person with supervisory authority over the employee or such other person who has the authority to investigate, discover, or terminate the misconduct;


(ii) To refuse to violate or assist in the violation of any Federal law, rule, or regulation relating to public transportation safety or security;


(iii) To file a complaint or directly cause to be brought a proceeding related to the enforcement of this section or to testify in that proceeding;


(iv) To cooperate with a safety or security investigation by the Secretary of Transportation, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or the National Transportation Safety Board; or


(v) To furnish information to the Secretary of Transportation, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the National Transportation Safety Board, or any Federal, State, or local regulatory or law enforcement agency as to the facts relating to any accident or incident resulting in injury or death to an individual or damage to property occurring in connection with public transportation.


(2)(i) A public transportation agency, contractor, or subcontractor of such agency, or officer or employee of such agency, shall not discharge, demote, suspend, reprimand, or in any other way retaliate against, including but not limited to intimidating, threatening, restraining, coercing, blacklisting, or disciplining, an employee for –


(A) Reporting a hazardous safety or security condition;


(B) Refusing to work when confronted by a hazardous safety or security condition related to the performance of the employee’s duties, if the conditions described in paragraph (a)(2)(ii) of this section exist; or


(C) Refusing to authorize the use of any safety- or security-related equipment, track, or structures, if the employee is responsible for the inspection or repair of the equipment, track, or structures, when the employee believes that the equipment, track, or structures are in a hazardous safety or security condition, if the conditions described in paragraph (a)(2)(ii) of this section exist.


(ii) A refusal is protected under paragraph (a)(2)(i)(B) and (C) of this section if –


(A) The refusal is made in good faith and no reasonable alternative to the refusal is available to the employee;


(B) A reasonable individual in the circumstances then confronting the employee would conclude that –


(1) The hazardous condition presents an imminent danger of death or serious injury; and


(2) The urgency of the situation does not allow sufficient time to eliminate the danger without such refusal; and


(C) The employee, where possible, has notified the public transportation agency of the existence of the hazardous condition and the intention not to perform further work, or not to authorize the use of the hazardous equipment, track, or structures, unless the condition is corrected immediately or the equipment, track, or structures are repaired properly or replaced.


(iii) In this paragraph (a)(2), only paragraph (a)(2)(i)(A) shall apply to security personnel, including transit police, employed or utilized by a public transportation agency to protect riders, equipment, assets, or facilities.


(b) Federal Railroad Safety Act. (1) A railroad carrier engaged in interstate or foreign commerce, a contractor or a subcontractor of such a railroad carrier, or an officer or employee of such a railroad carrier, may not discharge, demote, suspend, reprimand, or in any other way retaliate against, including but not limited to intimidating, threatening, restraining, coercing, blacklisting, or disciplining, an employee if such retaliation is due, in whole or in part, to the employee’s lawful, good faith act done, or perceived by the employer to have been done or about to be done –


(i) To provide information, directly cause information to be provided, or otherwise directly assist in any investigation regarding any conduct which the employee reasonably believes constitutes a violation of any Federal law, rule, or regulation relating to railroad safety or security, or gross fraud, waste, or abuse of Federal grants or other public funds intended to be used for railroad safety or security, if the information or assistance is provided to or an investigation stemming from the provided information is conducted by –


(A) A Federal, State, or local regulatory or law enforcement agency (including an office of the Inspector General under the Inspector General Act of 1978 (5 U.S.C. App.; Public Law 95-452));


(B) Any Member of Congress, any committee of Congress, or the Government Accountability Office; or


(C) A person with supervisory authority over the employee or such other person who has the authority to investigate, discover, or terminate the misconduct;


(ii) To refuse to violate or assist in the violation of any Federal law, rule, or regulation relating to railroad safety or security;


(iii) To file a complaint, or directly cause to be brought a proceeding related to the enforcement of 49 U.S.C. part A of subtitle V or, as applicable to railroad safety or security, 49 U.S.C. chapter 51 or 57, or to testify in that proceeding;


(iv) To notify, or attempt to notify, the railroad carrier or the Secretary of Transportation of a work-related personal injury or work-related illness of an employee;


(v) To cooperate with a safety or security investigation by the Secretary of Transportation, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or the National Transportation Safety Board;


(vi) To furnish information to the Secretary of Transportation, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the National Transportation Safety Board, or any Federal, State, or local regulatory or law enforcement agency as to the facts relating to any accident or incident resulting in injury or death to an individual or damage to property occurring in connection with railroad transportation; or


(vii) To accurately report hours on duty pursuant to 49 U.S.C. chapter 211.


(2)(i) A railroad carrier engaged in interstate or foreign commerce, or an officer or employee of such a railroad carrier, shall not discharge, demote, suspend, reprimand, or in any other way retaliate against, including but not limited to intimidating, threatening, restraining, coercing, blacklisting, or disciplining, an employee for –


(A) Reporting, in good faith, a hazardous safety or security condition;


(B) Refusing to work when confronted by a hazardous safety or security condition related to the performance of the employee’s duties, if the conditions described in paragraph (b)(2)(ii) of this section exist; or


(C) Refusing to authorize the use of any safety-related equipment, track, or structures, if the employee is responsible for the inspection or repair of the equipment, track, or structures, when the employee believes that the equipment, track, or structures are in a hazardous safety or security condition, if the conditions described in paragraph (b)(2)(ii) of this section exist.


(ii) A refusal is protected under paragraph (b)(2)(i)(B) and (C) of this section if –


(A) The refusal is made in good faith and no reasonable alternative to the refusal is available to the employee;


(B) A reasonable individual in the circumstances then confronting the employee would conclude that –


(1) The hazardous condition presents an imminent danger of death or serious injury; and


(2) The urgency of the situation does not allow sufficient time to eliminate the danger without such refusal; and


(C) The employee, where possible, has notified the railroad carrier of the existence of the hazardous condition and the intention not to perform further work, or not to authorize the use of the hazardous equipment, track, or structures, unless the condition is corrected immediately or the equipment, track, or structures are repaired properly or replaced.


(iii) In this paragraph (b)(2), only paragraph (b)(2)(i)(A) shall apply to security personnel employed by a railroad carrier to protect individuals and property transported by railroad.


(3) A railroad carrier or person covered under this section may not:


(i) Deny, delay, or interfere with the medical or first aid treatment of an employee who is injured during the course of employment. If transportation to a hospital is requested by an employee injured during the course of employment, the railroad shall promptly arrange to have the injured employee transported to the nearest hospital where the employee can receive safe and appropriate medical care.


(ii) Discipline, or threaten discipline to, an employee for requesting medical or first aid treatment, or for following orders or a treatment plan of a treating physician, except that –


(A) A railroad carrier’s refusal to permit an employee to return to work following medical treatment shall not be considered a violation of FRSA if the refusal is pursuant to Federal Railroad Administration medical standards for fitness of duty or, if there are no pertinent Federal Railroad Administration standards, a carrier’s medical standards for fitness for duty.


(B) For purposes of this paragraph, the term “discipline” means to bring charges against a person in a disciplinary proceeding, suspend, terminate, place on probation, or make note of reprimand on an employee’s record.


§ 1982.103 Filing of retaliation complaints.

(a) Who may file. An employee who believes that he or she has been retaliated against in violation of NTSSA or FRSA may file, or have filed by any person on the employee’s behalf, a complaint alleging such retaliation.


(b) Nature of filing. No particular form of complaint is required. A complaint may be filed orally or in writing. Oral complaints will be reduced to writing by OSHA. If the complainant is unable to file the complaint in English, OSHA will accept the complaint in any language.


(c) Place of filing. The complaint should be filed with the OSHA office responsible for enforcement activities in the geographical area where the employee resides or was employed, but may be filed with any OSHA officer or employee. Addresses and telephone numbers for these officials are set forth in local directories and at the following Internet address: http://www.osha.gov.


(d) Time for Filing. Within 180 days after an alleged violation of NTSSA or FRSA occurs, any employee who believes that he or she has been retaliated against in violation of NTSSA or FRSA may file, or have filed by any person on the employee’s behalf, a complaint alleging such retaliation. The date of the postmark, facsimile transmittal, electronic communication transmittal, telephone call, hand-delivery, delivery to a third-party commercial carrier, or in-person filing at an OSHA office will be considered the date of filing. The time for filing a complaint may be tolled for reasons warranted by applicable case law. For example, OSHA may consider the time for filing a complaint equitably tolled if a complainant mistakenly files a complaint with another agency instead of OSHA within 180 days after becoming aware of the alleged violation.


§ 1982.104 Investigation.

(a) Upon receipt of a complaint in the investigating office, OSHA will notify the respondent of the filing of the complaint, of the allegations contained in the complaint, and of the substance of the evidence supporting the complaint. Such materials will be redacted, if necessary, consistent with the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a, and other applicable confidentiality laws. OSHA will also notify the respondent of its rights under paragraphs (b) and (f) of this section and § 1982.110(e). OSHA will provide an unredacted copy of these same materials to the complainant (or the complainant’s legal counsel if complainant is represented by counsel), and to the Federal Railroad Administration, the Federal Transit Administration, or the Transportation Security Administration as appropriate.


(b) Within 20 days of receipt of the notice of the filing of the complaint provided under paragraph (a) of this section, the respondent may submit to OSHA a written statement and any affidavits or documents substantiating its position. Within the same 20 days, the respondent may request a meeting with OSHA to present its position.


(c) During the investigation, OSHA will request that each party provide the other parties to the whistleblower complaint with a copy of submissions to OSHA that are pertinent to the whistleblower complaint. Alternatively, if a party does not provide its submissions to OSHA to the other party, OSHA will provide them to the other party (or the party’s legal counsel if the party is represented by counsel) at a time permitting the other party an opportunity to respond. Before providing such materials to the other party, OSHA will redact them, if necessary, consistent with the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a, and other applicable confidentiality laws. OSHA will also provide each party with an opportunity to respond to the other party’s submissions.


(d) Investigations will be conducted in a manner that protects the confidentiality of any person who provides information on a confidential basis, other than the complainant, in accordance with part 70 of this title.


(e)(1) A complaint will be dismissed unless the complainant has made a prima facie showing that protected activity was a contributing factor in the adverse action alleged in the complaint.


(2) The complaint, supplemented as appropriate by interviews of the complainant, must allege the existence of facts and evidence to make a prima facie showing as follows:


(i) The employee engaged in a protected activity (or, in circumstances covered by NTSSA and FRSA, was perceived to have engaged or to be about to engage in protected activity);


(ii) The respondent knew or suspected that the employee engaged in the protected activity (or, in circumstances covered by NTSSA and FRSA, perceived the employee to have engaged or to be about to engage in protected activity);


(iii) The employee suffered an adverse action; and


(iv) The circumstances were sufficient to raise the inference that the protected activity (or perception thereof) was a contributing factor in the adverse action.


(3) For purposes of determining whether to investigate, the complainant will be considered to have met the required burden if the complaint on its face, supplemented as appropriate through interviews of the complainant, alleges the existence of facts and either direct or circumstantial evidence to meet the required showing, i.e., to give rise to an inference that the respondent knew or suspected that the employee engaged in protected activity (or, in circumstances covered by NTSSA and FRSA, perceived the employee to have engaged or to be about to engage in protected activity), and that the protected activity (or perception thereof) was a contributing factor in the adverse action. The burden may be satisfied, for example, if the complaint shows that the adverse action took place shortly after the protected activity, or at the first opportunity available to the respondent, giving rise to the inference that it was a contributing factor in the adverse action. If the required showing has not been made, the complainant (or the complainant’s legal counsel if complainant is represented by counsel) will be so notified and the investigation will not commence.


(4) Notwithstanding a finding that a complainant has made a prima facie showing, as required by this section, further investigation of the complaint will not be conducted if the respondent demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that it would have taken the same adverse action in the absence of the complainant’s protected activity.


(5) If the respondent fails to make a timely response or fails to satisfy the burden set forth in the prior paragraph, OSHA will proceed with the investigation. The investigation will proceed whenever it is necessary or appropriate to confirm or verify the information provided by the respondent.


(f) Prior to the issuance of findings and a preliminary order as provided for in § 1982.105, if OSHA has reasonable cause, on the basis of information gathered under the procedures of this part, to believe that the respondent has violated NTSSA or FRSA and that preliminary reinstatement is warranted, OSHA will contact the respondent (or the respondent’s legal counsel if respondent is represented by counsel) to give notice of the substance of the relevant evidence supporting the complainant’s allegations as developed during the course of the investigation. This evidence includes any witness statements, which will be redacted to protect the identity of confidential informants where statements were given in confidence; if the statements cannot be redacted without revealing the identity of confidential informants, summaries of their contents will be provided. The complainant will also receive a copy of the materials that must be provided to the respondent under this paragraph. Before providing such materials, OSHA will redact them, if necessary, consistent with the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a, and other applicable confidentiality laws. The respondent will be given the opportunity to submit a written response, to meet with the investigators, to present statements from witnesses in support of its position, and to present legal and factual arguments. The respondent must present this evidence within 10 business days of OSHA’s notification pursuant to this paragraph, or as soon afterwards as OSHA and the respondent can agree, if the interests of justice so require.


§ 1982.105 Issuance of findings and preliminary orders.

(a) After considering all the relevant information collected during the investigation, the Assistant Secretary will issue, within 60 days of filing of the complaint, written findings as to whether or not there is reasonable cause to believe that the respondent has retaliated against the complainant in violation of NTSSA or FRSA.


(1) If the Assistant Secretary concludes that there is reasonable cause to believe that a violation has occurred, the Assistant Secretary will accompany the findings with a preliminary order providing relief to the complainant. The preliminary order will include, where appropriate: Affirmative action to abate the violation; reinstatement with the same seniority status that the employee would have had, but for the retaliation; any back pay with interest; and payment of compensatory damages, including compensation for any special damages sustained as a result of the retaliation, including litigation costs, expert witness fees, and reasonable attorney fees. Interest on back pay will be calculated using the interest rate applicable to underpayment of taxes under 26 U.S.C. 6621 and will be compounded daily. The preliminary order will also require the respondent to submit documentation to the Social Security Administration or the Railroad Retirement Board, as appropriate, allocating any back pay award to the appropriate months or calendar quarters. The preliminary order may also require the respondent to pay punitive damages up to $250,000.


(2) If the Assistant Secretary concludes that a violation has not occurred, the Assistant Secretary will notify the parties of that finding.


(b) The findings and, where appropriate, the preliminary order will be sent by means that allow OSHA to confirm delivery to all parties of record (and each party’s legal counsel if the party is represented by counsel). The findings and, where appropriate, the preliminary order will inform the parties of the right to object to the findings and/or order and to request a hearing, and of the right of the respondent under NTSSA to request award of attorney fees not exceeding $1,000 from the administrative law judge (ALJ) regardless of whether the respondent has filed objections, if the respondent alleges that the complaint was frivolous or brought in bad faith. The findings and, where appropriate, the preliminary order also will give the address of the Chief Administrative Law Judge, U.S. Department of Labor, or appropriate information regarding filing objections electronically with the Office of Administrative Law Judges. At the same time, the Assistant Secretary will file with the Chief Administrative Law Judge a copy of the original complaint and a copy of the findings and/or order.


(c) The findings and any preliminary order will be effective 30 days after receipt by the respondent (or the respondent’s legal counsel if the respondent is represented by counsel), or on the compliance date set forth in the preliminary order, whichever is later, unless an objection and/or a request for a hearing has been timely filed as provided at § 1982.106. However, the portion of any preliminary order requiring reinstatement will be effective immediately upon the respondent’s receipt of the findings and of the preliminary order, regardless of any objections to the findings and/or the order.


[80 FR 69132, Nov. 9, 2015, as amended at 86 FR 1790, Jan. 11, 2021]


Subpart B – Litigation

§ 1982.106 Objections to the findings and the preliminary order and requests for a hearing.

(a) Any party who desires review, including judicial review, of the findings and preliminary order, or a respondent alleging that the complaint was frivolous or brought in bad faith who seeks an award of attorney fees under NTSSA, must file any objections and/or a request for a hearing on the record within 30 days of receipt of the findings and preliminary order pursuant to § 1982.105. The objections, request for a hearing, and/or request for attorney fees must be in writing and state whether the objections are to the findings, the preliminary order, and/or whether there should be an award of attorney fees. The date of the postmark, facsimile transmittal, or electronic transmittal is considered the date of filing; if the objection is filed in person, by hand-delivery or other means, the objection is filed upon receipt. Objections must be filed with the Chief Administrative Law Judge, U.S. Department of Labor, in accordance with 29 CFR part 18, and copies of the objections must be served at the same time on the other parties of record, the OSHA official who issued the findings and order, the Assistant Secretary, and the Associate Solicitor, Division of Fair Labor Standards, U.S. Department of Labor.


(b) If a timely objection is filed, all provisions of the preliminary order will be stayed, except for the portion requiring preliminary reinstatement, which will not be automatically stayed. The portion of the preliminary order requiring reinstatement will be effective immediately upon the respondent’s receipt of the findings and preliminary order, regardless of any objections to the order. The respondent may file a motion with the Office of Administrative Law Judges for a stay of the Assistant Secretary’s preliminary order of reinstatement, which shall be granted only based on exceptional circumstances. If no timely objection is filed with respect to either the findings and/or the preliminary order, the findings or preliminary order will become the final decision of the Secretary, not subject to judicial review.


[80 FR 69132, Nov. 9, 2015, as amended at 86 FR 1790, Jan. 11, 2021]


§ 1982.107 Hearings.

(a) Except as provided in this part, proceedings will be conducted in accordance with the rules of practice and procedure for administrative hearings before the Office of Administrative Law Judges, codified at subpart A of part 18 of this title.


(b) Upon receipt of an objection and request for hearing, the Chief Administrative Law Judge will promptly assign the case to an ALJ who will notify the parties of the day, time, and place of hearing. The hearing is to commence expeditiously, except upon a showing of good cause or unless otherwise agreed to by the parties. Hearings will be conducted de novo on the record. Administrative Law Judges have broad discretion to limit discovery in order to expedite the hearing.


(c) If both the complainant and the respondent object to the findings and/or order, the objections will be consolidated and a single hearing will be conducted.


(d) Formal rules of evidence will not apply, but rules or principles designed to assure production of the most probative evidence will be applied. The ALJ may exclude evidence that is immaterial, irrelevant, or unduly repetitious.


[80 FR 69132, Nov. 9, 2015, as amended at 86 FR 1791, Jan. 11, 2021]


§ 1982.108 Role of Federal agencies.

(a)(1) The complainant and the respondent will be parties in every proceeding and must be served with copies of all documents in the case. At the Assistant Secretary’s discretion, the Assistant Secretary may participate as a party or as amicus curiae at any time at any stage of the proceeding. This right to participate includes, but is not limited to, the right to petition for review of a decision of an ALJ, including a decision approving or rejecting a settlement agreement between the complainant and the respondent.


(2) Parties must send copies of documents to OSHA and to the Associate Solicitor, Division of Fair Labor Standards, U.S. Department of Labor, only upon request of OSHA, or when OSHA is participating in the proceeding, or when service on OSHA and the Associate Solicitor is otherwise required by these rules.


(b) The Department of Homeland Security or the Department of Transportation, if interested in a proceeding, may participate as amicus curiae at any time in the proceeding, at those agencies’ discretion. At the request of the interested federal agency, copies of all documents in a case must be sent to the federal agency, whether or not the agency is participating in the proceeding.


§ 1982.109 Decision and orders of the administrative law judge.

(a) The decision of the ALJ will contain appropriate findings, conclusions, and an order pertaining to the remedies provided in paragraph (d) of this section, as appropriate. A determination that a violation has occurred may be made only if the complainant has demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence that protected activity was a contributing factor in the adverse action alleged in the complaint.


(b) If the complainant has satisfied the burden set forth in the prior paragraph, relief may not be ordered if the respondent demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that it would have taken the same adverse action in the absence of any protected activity.


(c) Neither OSHA’s determination to dismiss a complaint without completing an investigation pursuant to § 1982.104(e) nor OSHA’s determination to proceed with an investigation is subject to review by the ALJ, and a complaint may not be remanded for the completion of an investigation or for additional findings on the basis that a determination to dismiss was made in error. Rather, if there otherwise is jurisdiction, the ALJ will hear the case on the merits or dispose of the matter without a hearing if the facts and circumstances warrant.


(d)(1) If the ALJ concludes that the respondent has violated the law, the ALJ will issue an order that will include, where appropriate: Affirmative action to abate the violation; reinstatement with the same seniority status that the employee would have had, but for the retaliation; any back pay with interest; and payment of compensatory damages, including compensation for any special damages sustained as a result of the retaliation, including litigation costs, expert witness fees, and reasonable attorney fees. Interest on back pay will be calculated using the interest rate applicable to underpayment of taxes under 26 U.S.C. 6621 and will be compounded daily. The order will also require the respondent to submit documentation to the Social Security Administration or the Railroad Retirement Board, as appropriate, allocating any back pay award to the appropriate months or calendar quarters. The order may also require the respondent to pay punitive damages up to $250,000.


(2) If the ALJ determines that the respondent has not violated the law, an order will be issued denying the complaint. If, upon the request of the respondent, the ALJ determines that a complaint filed under NTSSA was frivolous or was brought in bad faith, the ALJ may award to the respondent a reasonable attorney fee, not exceeding $1,000.


(e) The decision will be served upon all parties to the proceeding, the Assistant Secretary, and the Associate Solicitor, Division of Fair Labor Standards, U.S. Department of Labor. Any ALJ’s decision requiring reinstatement or lifting an order of reinstatement by the Assistant Secretary will be effective immediately upon receipt of the decision by the respondent. All other portions of the ALJ’s order will be effective 14 days after the date of the decision unless a timely petition for review has been filed with the Administrative Review Board (ARB), U.S. Department of Labor. The decision of the ALJ will become the final order of the Secretary unless a petition for review is timely filed with the ARB and the ARB accepts the petition for review.


§ 1982.110 Decision and orders of the Administrative Review Board.

(a) Any party desiring to seek review, including judicial review, of a decision of the ALJ, or a respondent alleging that the complaint under NTSSA was frivolous or brought in bad faith who seeks an award of attorney fees, must file a written petition for review with the ARB. The parties should identify in their petitions for review the legal conclusions or orders to which they object, or the objections may be deemed waived. A petition must be filed within 14 days of the date of the decision of the ALJ. The date of the postmark, facsimile transmittal, or electronic communication transmittal will be considered to be the date of filing; if the petition is filed in person, by hand delivery or other means, the petition is considered filed upon receipt. The petition must be served on all parties and on the Chief Administrative Law Judge at the time it is filed with the ARB. Copies of the petition for review must be served on the Assistant Secretary, and on the Associate Solicitor, Division of Fair Labor Standards.


(b) If a timely petition for review is filed pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section, the decision of the ALJ will become the final order of the Secretary unless the ARB, within 30 days of the filing of the petition, issues an order notifying the parties that the case has been accepted for review. If a case is accepted for review, the decision of the ALJ will be inoperative unless and until the ARB issues an order adopting the decision, except that any order of reinstatement will be effective while review is conducted by the ARB, unless the ARB grants a motion by the respondent to stay that order based on exceptional circumstances. The ARB will specify the terms under which any briefs are to be filed. The ARB will review the factual determinations of the ALJ under the substantial evidence standard. If no timely petition for review is filed, or the ARB denies review, the decision of the ALJ will become the final order of the Secretary. If no timely petition for review is filed, the resulting final order is not subject to judicial review.


(c) The decision of the ARB will be issued within 120 days of the conclusion of the hearing, which will be deemed to be 14 days after the date of the decision of the ALJ, unless a motion for reconsideration has been filed with the ALJ in the interim. In such case, the conclusion of the hearing is the date the motion for reconsideration is denied or 14 days after a new decision is issued. The ARB’s decision will be served upon all parties and the Chief Administrative Law Judge. The decision also will be served on the Assistant Secretary, and on the Associate Solicitor, Division of Fair Labor Standards, U.S. Department of Labor, even if the Assistant Secretary is not a party.


(d) If the ARB concludes that the respondent has violated the law, the ARB will issue an order providing relief to the complainant. The order will include, where appropriate, affirmative action to abate the violation; reinstatement with the same seniority status that the employee would have had but for the retaliation; any back pay with interest; and payment of compensatory damages, including compensation for any special damages sustained as a result of the retaliation, including litigation costs, expert witness fees, and reasonable attorney fees. Interest on back pay will be calculated using the interest rate applicable to underpayment of taxes under 26 U.S.C. 6621 and will be compounded daily. The order will also require the respondent to submit documentation to the Social Security Administration or the Railroad Retirement Board, as appropriate, allocating any back pay award to the appropriate months or calendar quarters. The order may also require the respondent to pay punitive damages up to $250,000. Such order is subject to discretionary review by the Secretary as provided in Secretary’s Order 01-2020 (or any successor to that order).


(e) If the ARB concludes that the respondent has not violated the law, the ARB will issue an order denying the complaint. If, upon the request of the respondent, the ARB determines that a complaint under NTSSA was frivolous or was brought in bad faith, the ARB may award to the respondent reasonable attorney fees, not exceeding $1,000. An order under this section is subject to discretionary review by the Secretary as provided in Secretary’s Order 01-2020 (or any successor to that order).


[80 FR 69132, Nov. 9, 2015, as amended at 85 FR 30622, May 20, 2020; 86 FR 1791, Jan. 11, 2021]


Subpart C – Miscellaneous Provisions

§ 1982.111 Withdrawal of complaints, findings, objections, and petitions for review; settlement.

(a) At any time prior to the filing of objections to the Assistant Secretary’s findings and/or preliminary order, a complainant may withdraw his or her complaint by notifying OSHA, orally or in writing, of his or her withdrawal. OSHA then will confirm in writing the complainant’s desire to withdraw and determine whether to approve the withdrawal. OSHA will notify the parties (or each party’s legal counsel if the party is represented by counsel) of the approval of any withdrawal. If the complaint is withdrawn because of settlement, the settlement must be submitted for approval in accordance with paragraph (d) of this section. A complainant may not withdraw his or her complaint after the filing of objections to the Assistant Secretary’s findings and/or preliminary order.


(b) The Assistant Secretary may withdraw the findings and/or preliminary order at any time before the expiration of the 30-day objection period described in § 1982.106, provided that no objection has been filed yet, and substitute new findings and/or a new preliminary order. The date of the receipt of the substituted findings or order will begin a new 30-day objection period.


(c) At any time before the Assistant Secretary’s findings and/or order become final, a party may withdraw its objections to the Assistant Secretary’s findings and/or order by filing a written withdrawal with the ALJ. If the case is on review with the ARB, a party may withdraw its petition for review of an ALJ’s decision at any time before that decision becomes final by filing a written withdrawal with the ARB. The ALJ or the ARB, as the case may be, will determine whether to approve the withdrawal of the objections or the petition for review. If the ALJ approves a request to withdraw objections to the Assistant Secretary’s findings and/or order, and there are no other pending objections, the Assistant Secretary’s findings and/or order will become the final order of the Secretary. If the ARB approves a request to withdraw a petition for review of an ALJ decision, and there are no other pending petitions for review of that decision, the ALJ’s decision will become the final order of the Secretary. If objections or a petition for review are withdrawn because of settlement, the settlement must be submitted for approval in accordance with paragraph (d) of this section.


(d)(1) Investigative settlements. At any time after the filing of a complaint, and before the findings and/or order are objected to or become a final order by operation of law, the case may be settled if OSHA, the complainant, and the respondent agree to a settlement. OSHA’s approval of a settlement reached by the respondent and the complainant demonstrates OSHA’s consent and achieves the consent of all three parties.


(2) Adjudicatory settlements. At any time after the filing of objections to the Assistant Secretary’s findings and/or order, the case may be settled if the participating parties agree to a settlement and the settlement is approved by the ALJ if the case is before the ALJ, or by the ARB if the ARB has accepted the case for review. A copy of the settlement will be filed with the ALJ or the ARB, as the case may be.


(e) Any settlement approved by OSHA, the ALJ, or the ARB will constitute the final order of the Secretary and may be enforced in United States district court pursuant to § 1982.113.


§ 1982.112 Judicial review.

(a) Within 60 days after the issuance of a final order (including a decision issued by the Secretary upon his or her discretionary review) for which judicial review is available, any person adversely affected or aggrieved by the order may file a petition for review of the order in the United States Court of Appeals for the circuit in which the violation allegedly occurred or the circuit in which the complainant resided on the date of the violation.


(b) A final order is not subject to judicial review in any criminal or other civil proceeding.


(c) If a timely petition for review is filed, the record of a case, including the record of proceedings before the ALJ, will be transmitted by the ARB or the ALJ, as the case may be, to the appropriate court pursuant to the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure and the local rules of such court.


[80 FR 69132, Nov. 9, 2015, as amended at 85 FR 30623, May 20, 2020]


§ 1982.113 Judicial enforcement.

(a) Whenever any person has failed to comply with a preliminary order of reinstatement, or a final order, including one approving a settlement agreement, issued under NTSSA, the Secretary may file a civil action seeking enforcement of the order in the United States district court for the district in which the violation was found to have occurred. Whenever any person has failed to comply with a preliminary order of reinstatement, or a final order, including one approving a settlement agreement, issued under NTSSA, a person on whose behalf the order was issued may file a civil action seeking enforcement of the order in the appropriate United States district court.


(b) Whenever a person has failed to comply with a preliminary order of reinstatement, or a final order, including one approving a settlement agreement, issued under FRSA, the Secretary may file a civil action seeking enforcement of the order in the United States district court for the district in which the violation was found to have occurred.


§ 1982.114 District court jurisdiction of retaliation complaints.

(a) If there is no final order of the Secretary, 210 days have passed since the filing of the complaint, and there is no showing that there has been delay due to the bad faith of the complainant, the complainant may bring an action at law or equity for de novo review in the appropriate district court of the United States, which will have jurisdiction over such an action without regard to the amount in controversy. At the request of either party, the action shall be tried by the court with a jury.


(b) A proceeding under paragraph (a) of this section shall be governed by the same legal burdens of proof specified in § 1982.109. An employee prevailing in a proceeding under paragraph (a) shall be entitled to all relief necessary to make the employee whole, including, where appropriate: Reinstatement with the same seniority status that the employee would have had, but for the retaliation; any back pay with interest; and payment of compensatory damages, including compensation for any special damages sustained as a result of the retaliation, including litigation costs, expert witness fees, and reasonable attorney fees. The court may also order punitive damages in an amount not to exceed $250,000.


(c) Within 7 days after filing a complaint in federal court, a complainant must file with the Assistant Secretary, the ALJ, or the ARB, depending upon where the proceeding is pending, a copy of the file-stamped complaint. In all cases, a copy of the complaint must also be served on the OSHA official who issued the findings and/or preliminary order, the Assistant Secretary, and the Associate Solicitor, Division of Fair Labor Standards, U.S. Department of Labor.


§ 1982.115 Special circumstances; waiver of rules.

In special circumstances not contemplated by the provisions of these rules, or for good cause shown, the ALJ or the ARB on review may, upon application, after three-days notice to all parties, waive any rule or issue such orders that justice or the administration of NTSSA or FRSA requires.


PART 1983 – PROCEDURES FOR THE HANDLING OF RETALIATION COMPLAINTS UNDER SECTION 219 OF THE CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY IMPROVEMENT ACT OF 2008


Authority:15 U.S.C. 2087; Secretary’s Order 1-2012 (Jan. 18, 2012), 77 FR 3912 (Jan. 25, 2012); Secretary’s Order 01-2020, 85 FR 13186 (March 6, 2020).



Source:77 FR 40503, July 10, 2012, unless otherwise noted.

Subpart A – Complaints, Investigations, Findings and Preliminary Orders

§ 1983.100 Purpose and scope.

(a) This part implements procedures of the employee protection provisions of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), 15 U.S.C. 2087. CPSIA provides for employee protection from retaliation because the employee has engaged in protected activity pertaining to consumer product safety.


(b) This part establishes procedures under CPSIA for the expeditious handling of retaliation complaints filed by employees, or by persons acting on their behalf. These rules, together with those codified at 29 CFR part 18, set forth the procedures under CPSIA for submission of complaints, investigations, issuance of findings and preliminary orders, objections to findings and orders, litigation before administrative law judges (ALJs), post-hearing administrative review, and withdrawals and settlements.


§ 1983.101 Definitions.

As used in this part:


(a) Assistant Secretary means the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health or the person or persons to whom he or she delegates authority under CPSIA.


(b) Business days means days other than Saturdays, Sundays, and Federal holidays.


(c) Commission means the Consumer Product Safety Commission.


(d) Complainant means the employee who filed a CPSIA complaint or on whose behalf a complaint was filed.


(e)(1) Consumer product means any article, or component part thereof, produced or distributed:


(i) For sale to a consumer for use in or around a permanent or temporary household or residence, a school, in recreation, or otherwise; or


(ii) For the personal use, consumption or enjoyment of a consumer in or around a permanent or temporary household or residence, a school, in recreation, or otherwise.


(iii) The term “consumer product” includes any mechanical device which carries or conveys passengers along, around, or over a fixed or restricted route or course or within a defined area for the purpose of giving its passengers amusement, which is customarily controlled or directed by an individual who is employed for that purpose and who is not a consumer with respect to such device, and which is not permanently fixed to a site, but does not include such a device that is permanently fixed to a site.


(2) The term consumer product does not include:


(i) Any article which is not customarily produced or distributed for sale to, or use or consumption by, or enjoyment of, a consumer;


(ii) Tobacco and tobacco products;


(iii) Motor vehicles or motor vehicle equipment (as defined by 49 U.S.C. 30102(a)(6) and (7));


(iv) Pesticides (as defined by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (7 U.S.C. 136 et seq.));


(v) Any article or any component of any such article which, if sold by the manufacturer, producer, or importer, would be subject to the tax imposed by 26 U.S.C. 4181;


(vi) Aircraft, aircraft engines, propellers, or appliances (as defined in 49 U.S.C. 40102(a));


(vii) Boats which could be subjected to safety regulation under 46 U.S.C. chapter 43; vessels, and appurtenances to vessels (other than such boats), which could be subjected to safety regulation under title 52 of the Revised Statutes or other marine safety statutes administered by the department in which the Coast Guard is operating; and equipment (including associated equipment, as defined in 46 U.S.C. 2101(1)), to the extent that a risk of injury associated with the use of such equipment on boats or vessels could be eliminated or reduced by actions taken under any statute referred to in this definitional section;


(viii) Drugs, devices, or cosmetics (as such terms are defined in 21 U.S.C. 321(g), (h), and (i)); or


(ix) Food (the term “food” means all “food,” as defined in 21 U.S.C. 321(f), including poultry and poultry products (as defined in 21 U.S.C. 453(e) and (f)), meat, meat food products (as defined in 21 U.S.C. 601(j)), and eggs and egg products (as defined in 21 U.S.C. 1033)).


(f) CPSIA means Section 219 of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, Public Law 110-314, 122 Stat. 3016 (Aug. 14, 2008) (codified at 15 U.S.C. 2087).


(g) Distributor means a person to whom a consumer product is delivered or sold for purposes of distribution in commerce, except that such term does not include a manufacturer or retailer of such product.


(h) Employee means an individual presently or formerly working for, an individual applying to work for, or an individual whose employment could be affected by a manufacturer, private labeler, distributor, or retailer.


(i) Manufacturer means any person who manufactures or imports a consumer product. A product is manufactured if it is manufactured, produced, or assembled.


(j) OSHA means the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the United States Department of Labor.


(k) Private labeler means an owner of a brand or trademark on the label of a consumer product which bears a private label. A consumer product bears a private label if:


(1) The product (or its container) is labeled with the brand or trademark of a person other than a manufacturer of the product,


(2) The person with whose brand or trademark the product (or container) is labeled has authorized or caused the product to be so labeled, and


(3) The brand or trademark of a manufacturer of such product does not appear on such label.


(l) Retailer means a person to whom a consumer product is delivered or sold for purposes of sale or distribution by such person to a consumer.


(m) Respondent means the employer named in the complaint who is alleged to have violated CPSIA.


(n) Secretary means the Secretary of Labor or person to whom authority under CPSIA has been delegated.


(o) Any future statutory amendments that affect the definition of a term or terms listed in this section will apply in lieu of the definition stated herein.


§ 1983.102 Obligations and prohibited acts.

(a) No manufacturer, private labeler, distributor, or retailer may discharge or otherwise retaliate against, including, but not limited to, intimidating, threatening, restraining, coercing, blacklisting or disciplining, any employee with respect to the employee’s compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because the employee, whether at the employee’s initiative or in the ordinary course of the employee’s duties (or any person acting pursuant to a request of the employee), engaged in any of the activities specified in paragraphs (b)(1) through (4) of this section.


(b) An employee is protected against retaliation (as described in paragraph (a) of this section) by a manufacturer, private labeler, distributor, or retailer because the employee (or any person acting pursuant to a request of the employee):


(1) Provided, caused to be provided, or is about to provide or cause to be provided to the employer, the Federal Government, or the attorney general of a State information relating to any violation of, or any act or omission the employee reasonably believes to be a violation of any provision of the Consumer Product Safety Act, as amended by CPSIA, or any other Act enforced by the Commission, or any order, rule, regulation, standard, or ban under any such Acts;


(2) Testified or is about to testify in a proceeding concerning such violation;


(3) Assisted or participated or is about to assist or participate in such a proceeding; or


(4) Objected to, or refused to participate in, any activity, policy, practice, or assigned task that the employee (or other such person) reasonably believed to be in violation of any provision of the Consumer Product Safety Act, as amended by CPSIA, or any other Act enforced by the Commission, or any order, rule, regulation, standard, or ban under any such Acts.


(c) This part shall have no application with respect to an employee of a manufacturer, private labeler, distributor, or retailer who, acting without direction from such manufacturer, private labeler, distributor, or retailer (or such person’s agent), deliberately causes a violation of any requirement relating to any violation or alleged violation of any order, regulation, or consumer product safety standard under the Consumer Product Safety Act, as amended by CPSIA, or any other law enforced by the Commission.


§ 1983.103 Filing of retaliation complaint.

(a) Who may file. An employee who believes that he or she has been retaliated against by a manufacturer, private labeler, distributor, or retailer in violation of CPSIA may file, or have filed by any person on the employee’s behalf, a complaint alleging such retaliation.


(b) Nature of filing. No particular form of complaint is required. A complaint may be filed orally or in writing. Oral complaints will be reduced to writing by OSHA. If the complainant is unable to file the complaint in English, OSHA will accept the complaint in any language.


(c) Place of filing. The complaint should be filed with the OSHA office responsible for enforcement activities in the geographical area where the employee resides or was employed, but may be filed with any OSHA officer or employee. Addresses and telephone numbers for these officials are set forth in local directories and at the following Internet address: http://www.osha.gov.


(d) Time for filing. Within 180 days after an alleged violation of CPSIA occurs, any employee who believes that he or she has been retaliated against in violation of CPSIA may file, or have filed by any person on the employee’s behalf, a complaint alleging such retaliation. The date of the postmark, facsimile transmittal, electronic communication transmittal, telephone call, hand-delivery, delivery to a third-party commercial carrier, or in-person filing at an OSHA office will be considered the date of filing. The time for filing a complaint may be tolled for reasons warranted by applicable case law.


§ 1983.104 Investigation.

(a) Upon receipt of a complaint in the investigating office, the Assistant Secretary will notify the respondent of the filing of the complaint, of the allegations contained in the complaint, and of the substance of the evidence supporting the complaint. Such materials will be redacted, if necessary, in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a, and other applicable confidentiality laws. The Assistant Secretary will also notify the respondent of its rights under paragraphs (b) and (f) of this section and § 1983.110(e). The Assistant Secretary will provide an unredacted copy of these same materials to the complainant (or the complainant’s legal counsel if complainant is represented by counsel), and to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.


(b) Within 20 days of receipt of the notice of the filing of the complaint provided under paragraph (a) of this section, the respondent and the complainant each may submit to the Assistant Secretary a written statement and any affidavits or documents substantiating its position. Within the same 20 days, the respondent and the complainant each may request a meeting with the Assistant Secretary to present its position.


(c) Throughout the investigation, the agency will provide to the complainant (or the complainant’s legal counsel if complainant is represented by counsel) a copy of all of respondent’s submissions to the agency that are responsive to the complainant’s whistleblower complaint. Before providing such materials to the complainant, the agency will redact them, if necessary, in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a, and other applicable confidentiality laws. The agency will also provide the complainant with an opportunity to respond to such submissions.


(d) Investigations will be conducted in a manner that protects the confidentiality of any person who provides information on a confidential basis, other than the complainant, in accordance with part 70 of this title.


(e)(1) A complaint will be dismissed unless the complainant has made a prima facie showing that protected activity was a contributing factor in the adverse action alleged in the complaint.


(2) The complaint, supplemented as appropriate by interviews of the complainant, must allege the existence of facts and evidence to make a prima facie showing as follows:


(i) The employee engaged in a protected activity;


(ii) The respondent knew or suspected that the employee engaged in the protected activity;


(iii) The employee suffered an adverse action; and


(iv) The circumstances were sufficient to raise the inference that the protected activity was a contributing factor in the adverse action.


(3) For purposes of determining whether to investigate, the complainant will be considered to have met the required burden if the complaint on its face, supplemented as appropriate through interviews of the complainant, alleges the existence of facts and either direct or circumstantial evidence to meet the required showing, i.e., to give rise to an inference that the respondent knew or suspected that the employee engaged in protected activity and that the protected activity was a contributing factor in the adverse action. The burden may be satisfied, for example, if the complaint shows that the adverse action took place shortly after the protected activity, giving rise to the inference that it was a contributing factor in the adverse action. If the required showing has not been made, the complainant (or the complainant’s legal counsel if complainant is represented by counsel) will be so notified and the investigation will not commence.


(4) Notwithstanding a finding that a complainant has made a prima facie showing, as required by this section, an investigation of the complaint will not be conducted or will be discontinued if the respondent demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that it would have taken the same adverse action in the absence of the complainant’s protected activity.


(5) If the respondent fails to make a timely response or fails to satisfy the burden set forth in the prior paragraph, the Assistant Secretary will proceed with the investigation. The investigation will proceed whenever it is necessary or appropriate to confirm or verify the information provided by the respondent.


(f) Prior to the issuance of findings and a preliminary order as provided for in § 1983.105, if the Assistant Secretary has reasonable cause, on the basis of information gathered under the procedures of this part, to believe that the respondent has violated CPSIA and that preliminary reinstatement is warranted, the Assistant Secretary will again contact the respondent (or the respondent’s legal counsel if respondent is represented by counsel) to give notice of the substance of the relevant evidence supporting the complainant’s allegations as developed during the course of the investigation. This evidence includes any witness statements, which will be redacted to protect the identity of confidential informants where statements were given in confidence; if the statements cannot be redacted without revealing the identity of confidential informants, summaries of their contents will be provided. The complainant will also receive a copy of the materials that must be provided to the respondent under this paragraph. Before providing such materials to the complainant, the agency will redact them, if necessary, in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a, and other applicable confidentiality laws. The respondent will be given the opportunity to submit a written response, to meet with the investigators, to present statements from witnesses in support of its position, and to present legal and factual arguments. The respondent must present this evidence within 10 business days of the Assistant Secretary’s notification pursuant to this paragraph, or as soon thereafter as the Assistant Secretary and the respondent can agree, if the interests of justice so require.


§ 1983.105 Issuance of findings and preliminary orders.

(a) After considering all the relevant information collected during the investigation, the Assistant Secretary will issue, within 60 days of the filing of the complaint, written findings as to whether or not there is reasonable cause to believe that the respondent has retaliated against the complainant in violation of CPSIA.


(1) If the Assistant Secretary concludes that there is reasonable cause to believe that a violation has occurred, the Assistant Secretary will accompany the findings with a preliminary order providing relief to the complainant. The preliminary order will require, where appropriate: affirmative action to abate the violation; reinstatement of the complainant to his or her former position, together with the compensation (including back pay and interest), terms, conditions and privileges of the complainant’s employment; and payment of compensatory damages, including, at the request of the complainant, the aggregate amount of all costs and expenses (including attorney’s and expert witness fees) reasonably incurred. Interest on back pay will be calculated using the interest rate applicable to underpayment of taxes under 26 U.S.C. 6621 and will be compounded daily.


(2) If the Assistant Secretary concludes that a violation has not occurred, the Assistant Secretary will notify the parties of that finding.


(b) The findings and, where appropriate, the preliminary order will be sent by means that allow OSHA to confirm delivery to all parties of record (and each party’s legal counsel if the party is represented by counsel). The findings and, where appropriate, the preliminary order will inform the parties of the right to object to the findings and/or order and to request a hearing, and of the right of the respondent to request an award of attorney’s fees not exceeding $1,000 from the ALJ, regardless of whether the respondent has filed objections, if the respondent alleges that the complaint was frivolous or brought in bad faith. The findings and, where appropriate, the preliminary order also will give the address of the Chief Administrative Law Judge, U.S. Department of Labor, or appropriate information regarding filing objections electronically with the Office of Administrative Law Judges. At the same time, the Assistant Secretary will file with the Chief Administrative Law Judge a copy of the original complaint and a copy of the findings and/or order.


(c) The findings and any preliminary order will be effective 30 days after receipt by the respondent (or the respondent’s legal counsel if the respondent is represented by counsel), or on the compliance date set forth in the preliminary order, whichever is later, unless an objection and/or a request for hearing has been timely filed as provided at § 1983.106. However, the portion of any preliminary order requiring reinstatement will be effective immediately upon the respondent’s receipt of the findings and the preliminary order, regardless of any objections to the findings and/or the order.


[77 FR 40503, July 10, 2012, as amended at 86 FR 1791, Jan. 11, 2021]


Subpart B – Litigation

§ 1983.106 Objections to the findings and the preliminary order and requests for a hearing.

(a) Any party who desires review, including judicial review, of the findings and/or preliminary order, or a respondent alleging that the complaint was frivolous or brought in bad faith who seeks an award of attorney’s fees under CPSIA, must file any objections and/or a request for a hearing on the record within 30 days of receipt of the findings and preliminary order pursuant to § 1983.105. The objections, request for a hearing, and/or request for attorney’s fees must be in writing and state whether the objections are to the findings, the preliminary order, and/or whether there should be an award of attorney’s fees. The date of the postmark, facsimile transmittal, or electronic transmittal is considered the date of filing; if the objection is filed in person, by hand-delivery or other means, the objection is filed upon receipt. Objections must be filed with the Chief Administrative Law Judge, U.S. Department of Labor, in accordance with 29 CFR part 18, and copies of the objections must be served at the same time on the other parties of record, the OSHA official who issued the findings and order, the Assistant Secretary, and the Associate Solicitor, Division of Fair Labor Standards, U.S. Department of Labor.


(b) If a timely objection is filed, all provisions of the preliminary order will be stayed, except for the portion requiring preliminary reinstatement, which will not be automatically stayed. The portion of the preliminary order requiring reinstatement will be effective immediately upon the respondent’s receipt of the findings and preliminary order, regardless of any objections to the order. The respondent may file a motion with the Office of Administrative Law Judges for a stay of the Assistant Secretary’s preliminary order of reinstatement, which shall be granted only based on exceptional circumstances. If no timely objection is filed with respect to either the findings or the preliminary order, the findings and/or the preliminary order will become the final decision of the Secretary, not subject to judicial review.