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Title 5 Part 293 → Subpart E

Title 5 → Chapter I → Subchapter B → Part 293 → Subpart E

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations e-CFR

Title 5 Part 293 → Subpart E

e-CFR data is current as of June 25, 2019

Title 5Chapter ISubchapter BPart 293 → Subpart E


Title 5: Administrative Personnel
PART 293—PERSONNEL RECORDS


§293.501   Applicability of regulations.

The applicability of this subpart is identical to that described in §293.301.

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§293.502   Definitions.

For the purpose of this Subpart—

Employee is defined at 5 U.S.C. 2105 and excludes student volunteers and contractor employees.

Employee Assistance and Counseling Record means the record created when an employee participates in an agency assistance/counseling program (e.g., drug or alcohol abuse or personal counseling programs under Pub. L. 91-616, 92-255, and 79-658, respectively).

Employee Exposure Record (which is to be interpreted consistent with the term as it is defined at 29 CFR 1910.20(c)(8)) means a record containing any of the following kinds of information concerning employee exposure to toxic substances or harmful physical agents (as defined at 29 CFR 1910.20(c)(11)):

(a) Environmental (workplace) monitoring or measuring, including personal, area, grab, wipe, or other form of sampling, as well as related collection and analytical methodologies, calculations, and other background data relevant to interpretation of the results obtained;

(b) Biological monitoring results which directly assess the absorption of a substance or agent by body systems (e.g., the level of a chemical in the blood, urine, breath, hair, fingernails, etc.) but not including results which assess the biological effect of a substance or agent;

(c) Material safety data sheets; or

(d) Any other record, in the absence of the above, which reveals the identity (e.g., chemical, common, or trade name) of a toxic substance of harmful physical agent.

Employee Medical File System (EMFS) means the agency's complete system (automated, microformed, and paper records) for employee occupational medical records.

Employee Medical Folder (EMF) means a separate file folder (normally SF 66-D) established to contain all of the occupational medical records (both long-tern and short-term records) designated for retention, which will be maintained by the employing agency during the employee's Federal service.

Epidemiological Record means a record maintained by an agency or subelement thereof as a result of an official medical research study conducted under the authority of the agency.

Implementing instructions means any form of internal agency issuance that provides the guidance required in §293.503 and any other guidance the agency deems appropriate.

Occupational Medical Record means an occupation-related, chronological, cumulative record, regardless of the form or process by which it is maintained (e.g., paper document, microfiche, microfilm, or automatic data processing media), of information about health status developed on an employee, including personal and occupational health histories and the opinions and written evaluations generated in the course of diagnosis and/or employment-related treatment/examination by medical health care professionals and technicians. This definition includes the definition of medical records at 29 CFR 1910.20(c)(6); when the term “Occupational Medical Record” is used in these regulations, it includes “Employee Exposure Records” (as that term is defined in this section) and occupational illness, accident, and injury records.

Non-occupational/Patient Record means a record of treatment or examination, created and maintained by a health care facility, when the person is admitted to or voluntarily seeks treatment at the health care facility for non-job-related reasons. Records maintained by an agency dispensary are patient records for the purposes of these regulations except when such records result as a condition of employment or relate to an on-the-job occurrence. In these cases, the records are “Occupational Medical Records” as defined herein.

Non-personal Record means any agency aggregate or statistical record or report resulting from studies covering employees or resulting from studies or the work-site environment.

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§293.503   Implementing instructions.

Agencies must issue written internal instructions describing how their EMFS is to be implemented. These instructions must—

(a) Describe overall operation of the system within the agency including the designation of the agency official who will be responsible for overall system management. When the agency has a medical officer, that individual must be named the system manager. The system manager may then designate others within the agency to handle the day-to-day management of the records, e.g., the custodian of the records at the site where they are maintained;

(b) Be prepared with joint participation by agency medical, health, and safety, and personnel officers;

(c) Describe where and under whose custody employee occupational medical records will be physically maintained;

(d) Designate which agency office(s) will be responsible for deciding when and what occupational medical records are to be disclosed either to other agency officials or outside the agency;

(e) Ensure proper records retention and security, and preserve confidentiality of doctor/patient relationships;

(f) Provide that when the agency is requesting an EMF from the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), the request form will show the name, title, and address of that agency's system manager or designee, who is the only official authorized to receive the EMF;

(g) Be consistent with Office regulations relating to personnel actions when medical evidence is a factor (5 CFR parts 339, 432, 630, 752, and 831);

(h) Provide guidance on how an accounting of any record disclosure, as required by the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. 552a(c)), will be done in a way that ensures that the accounting will be available for the life of the EMF;

(i) When long-term occupational medical records exist, provide for the creation of an EMF for an employee transferring to another agency or leaving Government service, and whether an EMF is to be established at the time an employee is being reassigned within the agency;

(j) Ensure a right of access (consistent with any special Privacy Act handling procedures invoked) to the records, in whatever format they are maintained, by the employee or a designated representative;

(k) Ensure that a knowledgeable official determines that all appropriate long-term occupational medical records are in an EMF prior to its transfer to another agency, to the NPRC, or to another office within the same employing agency;

(l) Ensure that all long-term occupational medical records an agency receives in an EMF are maintained, whether in that same EMF or by some other agency procedure, and forwarded to a subsequent employing agency or to NPRC;

(m) Ensure that, if occupational medical records are to be physically located in the same office as the Official Personnel Folder (OPF), the records are maintained physically apart from each other;

(n) Sets forth a policy that distinguishes, particularly for purposes of records disclosure, records in the nature of physician treatment records (which are generally not appropriate for disclosure to non-medical officials) from other medical reports properly available to officials making management decisions concerning the employee;

(o) Provide guidance that distinguishes records properly subject to this part from those (e.g., Postal Service or Foreign Service employee medical records) subject to different rules, particularly in Privacy Act and Freedom of Information Act matters;

(p) Ensure that guidance regarding the processing of Privacy Act matters is consistent with Office regulations implementing the Privacy Act at 5 CFR parts 293 and 297; and

(q) Ensure that no security classification is assigned to an EMF by including therein any occupational medical record that has such a classification. In this regard, the agency creating the classified medical record is required to retain it separately from the EMF while placing a notice in the EMF of its existence and describing where requests for this record are to be submitted.

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§293.504   Composition of, and access to, the Employee Medical File System.

(a) All employee occupational medical records (which exclude employee assistance/counseling, patient, non-personal, and epidemiological records) whether they are maintained in an automated, microform, or paper mode, and wherever located in the agency, are part of the EMFS. The records maintained in the EMFS are part of a Governmentwide Privacy Act system of records established by the Office. Agencies have the responsibility to ensure that such documents are maintained in accordance with the Office's Privacy Act regulations in part 297 of this chapter, with the agency's instructions implementing those regulations, and with the retention schedule for employee medical records stipulated in §293.511. While non-occupational/patient records pertaining to an employee are not required to be included as a record within the EMFS, under certain conditions to be discussed in subsequent OPM guidance, copies of such records are occupationally-related and, in those cases, may be included in the system.

(b) Agencies must provide employees access to their own EMFS records consistent with Office regulations contained in §297.204(c) of this chapter. When unexcepted access can be provided directly to the employee, such unexcepted access must also be provided to any representative specifically designated in writing by the employee to receive the record. Disclosure of an employee's occupational medical records to agency officials (both medical and non-medical) will be granted only when the specific information sought is needed for the performance of official duties.

(c) Other agencies for employee occupational medical records made to the custodian of the records must be processed in accordance with the disclosure provisions of the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. 552a(b)) and the Office's regulations at part 297 of this chapter.

(d) Processing of a Privacy Act request for amendment of any EMFS record must be consistent with the Office's regulations contained in part 297 of this chapter regarding amendment of records.

[51 FR 33235, Sept. 19, 1986, as amended at 66 FR 66709, Dec. 27, 2001]

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§293.505   Establishment and protection of Employee Medical Folder.

(a) As required by these rules, agencies must establish an EMF when the employee leaves the employing agency and occupational medical records for that employee exist; agencies may also establish an EMF (if none presently exists) for active employees if the agency chooses. An agency must request the transfer of an existing EMF (and maintain that EMF as received) at the same time it requests the transfer of an employee's OPF using the procedures contained in §293.306.

(b) Neither the original occupational medical record nor duplicates are to be retained in the OPF. Prior to the establishment of an EMF for a separating employee, when such records are created, they must be maintained physically apart from the OPF, although they may be kept in the same office.

(c) Records in an EMF, whether or not located in an office other than where the OPF is maintained, must be properly safeguarded using procedures ensuring equal or greater levels of protection as those in §293.106. Disclosures must be made only to those authorized to receive them, as described in §293.504(b), and employees must be able to ascertain from agency implementing instructions the location of all of their medical records. An EMF must be under the control of a specifically designated medical, health, safety, or personnel officer as prescribed in the agency's implementing internal procedures.

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§293.506   Ownership of the Employee Medical Folder.

The EMF of each employee in a position subject to civil service rules and regulations is part of the records of the Office. When the EMF also contains occupational medical records created during employment in a position not subject to the civil service (e.g., with the Postal Service), the EMF is then part of the records of both the Office and the employing agency.

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§293.507   Maintenance and content of the Employee Medical Folder.

The agency head must maintain all appropriate employee occupational medical records in the EMFS. When an EMF is established for an employee, as required in §293.504, the agency's EMFS must be searched to obtain all records designated for retention in the EMF.

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§293.508   Type of folder to be used.

Each agency must use a folder that (a) has been specifically identified as the EMF and issued through Federal Supply Service contracts (Standard Form 66 D); (b) has been authorized as an exception to this form by the Office for use by a specific agency; or (c) in the case of an EMF containing records under joint control of the Office and another agency, an exception to the use of this form that has been jointly authorized.

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§293.509   Use of existing Employee Medical Folders upon transfer or reemployment.

The requirements of §293.306, regarding the use of existing OPFs, apply to the use of existing EMFs upon the employee's transfer to or reemployment in a new employing agency.

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§293.510   Disposition of Employee Medical Folders.

(a) When an employee transfers to another Federal agency, the EMF must be transferred to the gaining agency at the same time as the employee's OPF. The EMF is to be addressed only to the gaining agency's designated manager (medical, health, safety, or personnel officer, or other designee) of the EMFS.

(b) When an employee is separated from the Federal service, the EMF must be forwarded to the NPRC with the OPF, using the instructions in §293.307 of this part.

(c) When a former Federal employee is re-employed by an agency, and that agency believes that an EMF exists, either at the last employing agency or at the NPRC, the agency will request the EMF, but no sooner than 30 days after the date of the new appointment. No EMFs will be routinely retrieved during the initial review process (as is done with the OPF) except when authority exists for the agency to require a medical evaluation prior to reaching a decision on employability. EMFs are to be transferred by the NPRC only to the agency-designated manager (medical, health, safety, or personnel, or other designee) shown on the request form.

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§293.511   Retention schedule.

(a) Temporary EMFS records must not be placed in a newly-created EMF for a separating employee and must be removed from an already existing EMF before its transfer to another agency or to the NPRC. Such records must be disposed of in accordance with General Records Schedule (GRS) 1, item 21, issued by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

(b) Occupational Medical Records considered to be long-term records must be maintained for the duration of employment, plus 30 years or for as long as the OPF is maintained, whichever is longer. Therefore, upon separation, the records must be provided to the employee's new agency, or they must be transferred to the NPRC, which will dispose of them in accordance with GRS 1, item 21, issued by NARA.

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