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Title 29 Part 1960 → Subpart D

Title 29 → Subtitle B → Chapter XVII → Part 1960 → Subpart D

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations e-CFR

Title 29 Part 1960 → Subpart D

e-CFR data is current as of August 20, 2019

Title 29Subtitle BChapter XVIIPart 1960 → Subpart D


Title 29: Labor
PART 1960—BASIC PROGRAM ELEMENTS FOR FEDERAL EMPLOYEE OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH PROGRAMS AND RELATED MATTERS


§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.

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§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]

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§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.

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§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.

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§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]

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§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]

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§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.

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