§ 85a.5 - Conduct of investigations of places of employment.
(a)(1) Prior to beginning a site visit, NIOSH authorized representatives will present their credentials to the employer, owner, operator or agent in charge at the place of employment, explain the nature, purpose and scope of the investigation and the records specified in § 85a.3 which they wish to review, abstract or duplicate.
(2) In those instances where site visits are not necessary to the conduct of an investigation and the initial contact is made verbally, NIOSH authorized representatives will, at the request of the employer, owner, operator or agent in charge at the place of employment, provide a written explanation of the nature, purpose and scope of the investigation and the records specified in § 85a.3 which they wish to review, abstract or duplicate.
(b)(1) At the commencement of an investigation, the employer, owner, operator or agent in charge at the place of employment shall precisely identify that information which is trade secret and might be seen or obtained by the NIOSH authorized representatives during the investigation. If the NIOSH authorized representatives have no clear reason to question such identification, such information will not be disclosed by NIOSH in accordance with the provisions of section 15 of the OSH Act. Generally, NIOSH will not question trade secret designations; however, if NIOSH at any time does question such identification, not less than 15 days' notice to the employer, owner, operator or agent will be given of the intention to remove the trade secret designation from such information. The employer, owner, operator or agent may within that period submit a request to the Director, NIOSH, to reconsider this intention and may provide additional information in support of the trade secret designation. The Director, NIOSH, will notify the employer, owner, operator or agent in writing of the decision which will become effective no sooner than 15 days after the date of such notice.
(2) In those instances where the NIOSH authorized representative is a person fulfilling a contract agreement with NIOSH or is serving as an expert or consultant to NIOSH pursuant to the Act, the employer, owner, operator or agent in charge at the place of employment may, after advising the NIOSH contractor or consultant in writing, elect to withhold information deemed to be a trade secret from such a NIOSH authorized representative or prohibit entry into the area of the place of employment where such entry will reveal trade secrets. In those instances, where the subject information is needed or access to the area of the place of employment is necessary, in the judgment of NIOSH, to fulfill the goals of the investigation, NIOSH regular employees will then obtain the information or enter the subject area of the place of employment.
(c)(1) NIOSH authorized representatives will be in charge of site visits conducted pursuant to this part.
(2) Where there is a request by the representative of the State agency and/or employees, who were notified pursuant to § 85a.4(a)(1) or § 85a.4(a)(2) to accompany the NIOSH authorized representatives during the site visit of the place of employment, the NIOSH authorized representatives will allow this request if they determine that this will aid the investigation; or where, in the judgment of the NIOSH authorized representatives, good cause has been shown why accompaniment by a third party who is not an employee of the employer is reasonably necessary to the conduct of an effective and thorough site visit, they may permit such third party to accompany them during the site visit: Provided however, That access by such person(s) to areas described in § 85a.5(c)(4) shall be in accordance with the requirements of such provision and access to areas containing trade secrets shall be with the consent of the employer, owner, operator or agent in charge at the place of employment.
(3) NIOSH authorized representatives are authorized to deny the right of accompaniment under this paragraph to any person whose conduct in their judgment interferes with a fair and orderly site visit. In all instances, a representative of the employer shall be permitted to accompany the NIOSH authorized representatives during the site visit of the place of employment.
(4) With regard to information classified by an agency of the United States Government in the interest of national security, only persons authorized to have access to such information may accompany NIOSH authorized representatives in areas containing such information.
(d)(1) NIOSH authorized representatives are authorized: To collect environmental samples and samples of substances; to measure environmental conditions and employee exposures (including measurement of employee exposure by the attachment of personal sampling devices to employees with their consent); to take or obtain photographs, video recordings related to the purpose of the investigation; to employ other reasonable investigative techniques, including medical examinations, anthropometric measurements and standardized and experimental functional tests of employees with the informed consent of such employees; to review, abstract, and duplicate such personnel records as are pertinent to mortality, morbidity, injury, safety, and other similar studies; and to question and interview privately any employer, owner, operator, agency, or employee from the place of employment. The employer, owner, operator, or agency shall have the opportunity to review photographs, and video recordings taken or obtained for the purpose of identifying those which contain or might reveal a trade secret.
(2) Prior to the conduct of medical examinations, anthropometric measurements or functional tests of any employees, the NIOSH authorized representatives will obtain approval of the procedures to be utilized from the NIOSH Institutional Review Board and no employee examination, measurement or test will be undertaken without the informed consent of such employee.
(e) NIOSH authorized representatives will comply with all safety and health rules and practices at the place of employment and all NIOSH, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and Mine Safety and Health Administration regulations and policies during a site visit and will provide and use appropriate protective clothing and equipment. In situations requiring specialized or unique types of protective equipment, such equipment shall be furnished by the employer, owner, operator or agent in charge at the place of employment.
(f) The conduct of site visits will be such as to preclude unreasonable disruption of the operations of the place of employment.