Published Date: 07/21/2014
By George Ports
Are there requirements that give employees the right to access their medical records maintained by their employer?
Yes. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to allow employees, past employees and designated representatives to have access to their medical and exposure records. Access means the ability to examine and copy these records at no cost.
OSHA defines an employee medical record as a record concerning the health status of an employee which is made or maintained by a physician, nurse or other health care personnel, or technician including the following:
- Medical and employment questionnaires or histories
- Results of medical examinations
- Medical opinions, diagnoses, progress notes and recommendations
- First aid records
- Descriptions of treatments including prescriptions
- Employee medical complaints
Records not considered as medical records by OSHA are those such as:
- Records containing information about physical specimens such as blood and urine samples
- Health insurance claims if kept separately from medical records
- Records created only for use of voluntary employee assistance programs
OSHA defines employee exposure records as exposure to toxic substances and harmful physical agents such as:
- Metals and dusts (lead, cadmium, silica, etc.)
- Biological agents (bacteria, viruses, fungi, etc.)
- Physical stress (heat, cold, noise, vibration, repetitive motion, etc.)
Employers are required by OSHA to maintain employee medical records during employment plus 30 years. Employee exposure records are to be maintained for 30 years from the date received or made by the employer.
For more information, attend the Advice and Resolution Corner Plus members only webcast scheduled for this Wednesday, July 23, 2014 from 8:30 am until 9:00 am. You can self-register for this webinar at https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/663669263.
Feel free to share this link with anyone from your organization who would benefit from attending.