Office of the Federal Register (OFR)

Executive Orders

Executive Order 12196--Occupational safety and health programs for Federal employees

Source: The provisions of Executive Order 12196 of Feb. 26, 1980, appear at 45 FR 12769, 3 CFR, 1980 Comp., p. 145, unless otherwise noted.

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and statutes of the United States of America, including Section 7902(c) of Title 5 of the United States Code and in accord with Section 19 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, as amended (29 U.S.C. 668), it is ordered:

1-1. Scope of this Order.

1-101. This order applies to all agencies of the Executive Branch except military personnel and uniquely military equipment, systems, and operations.

1-102. For the purposes of this order, the term "agency" means an Executive department, as defined in 5 U.S.C. 101, or any employing unit or authority of the Federal government, other than those of the judicial and legislative branches. Since section 19 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act ("the Act") covers all Federal employees, however, the Secretary of Labor ("the Secretary") shall cooperate and consult with the heads of agencies in the legislative and judicial branches of the government to help them adopt safety and health programs.

1-2. Heads of Agencies.

1-201. The head of each agency shall:
(a) Furnish to employees places and conditions of employment that are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm.
(b) Operate an occupational safety and health program in accordance with the requirements of this order and basic program elements promulgated by the Secretary.
(c) Designate an agency official with sufficient authority to represent the interest and support of the agency head to be responsible for the management and administration of the agency occupational safety and health program.
(d) Comply with all standards issued under section 6 of the Act, except where the Secretary approves compliance with alternative standards. When an agency head determines it necessary to apply a different standard, that agency head shall, after consultation with appropriate occupational safety and health committees where established, notify the Secretary and provide justification that equivalent or greater protection will be assured by the alternate standard.
(e) Assure prompt abatement of unsafe or unhealthy working conditions. Whenever an agency cannot promptly abate such conditions, it shall develop an abatement plan setting forth a timetable for abatement and a summary of interim steps to protect employees. Employees exposed to the conditions shall be informed of the provisions of the plan. When a hazard cannot be abated without assistance of the General Services Administration or other Federal lessor agency, an agency shall act with the lessor agency to secure abatement.
(f) Establish procedures to assure that no employee is subject to restraint, interference, coercion, discrimination or reprisal for filing a report of an unsafe or unhealthy working condition, or other participation in agency occupational safety and health program activities.
(g) Assure that periodic inspections of all agency workplaces are performed by personnel with equipment and competence to recognize hazards.
(h) Assure response to employee reports of hazardous conditions and require inspections within twenty-four hours for imminent dangers, three working days for potential serious conditions, and twenty working days for other conditions. Assure the right to anonymity of those making the reports.
(i) Assure that employee representatives accompany inspections of agency workplaces.
(j) Operate an occupational safety and health management information system, which shall include the maintenance of such records as the Secretary may require.
(k) Provide safety and health training for supervisory employees, employees responsible for conducting occupational safety and health inspections, all members of occupational safety and health committees where established, and other employees.
(l) Submit to the Secretary an annual report on the agency occupational safety and health program that includes information the Secretary prescribes.

1-3. Occupational Safety and Health Committees.

1-301. Agency heads may establish occupational safety and health committees. If committees are established, they shall be established at both the national level and, for agencies with field or regional offices, other appropriate levels. The committees shall be composed of representatives of management and an equal number of nonmanagement employees or their representatives. Where there are exclusive bargaining representatives for employees at the national or other level in an agency, such representatives shall select the appropriate nonmanagement members of the committee.

1-302. The committees shall, except where prohibited by law,
(a) Have access to agency information relevant to their duties, including information on the nature and hazardousness of substances in agency workplaces.
(b) Monitor performance, including agency inspections, of the agency safety and health programs at the level they are established.
(c) Consult and advise the agency on the operation of the program.

1-303. A Committee may request the Secretary of Labor to conduct an evaluation or inspection pursuant to this order if half of a Committee is not substantially satisfied with an agency's response to a report of hazardous working conditions.

1-4. Department of Labor.

1-401. The Secretary of Labor shall:
(a) Provide leadership and guidance to the heads of agencies to assist them with their occupational safety and health responsibilities.
(b) Maintain liaison with the Office of Management and Budget in matters relating to this order and coordinate the activities of the Department with those of other agencies that have responsibilities or functions related to Federal employee safety and health, including the Office of Personnel Management, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the General Services Administration.
(c) Issue, subject to the approval of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and in consultation with the Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health, a set of basic program elements. The program elements shall help agency heads establish occupational safety and health committees and operate effective occupational safety and health programs, and shall provide flexibility to each agency head to implement a program consistent with its mission, size and organization. Upon request of an agency head, and after consultation with the Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health, the Secretary may approve alternate program elements.
(d) Prescribe recordkeeping and reporting requirements.
(e) Assist agencies by providing training materials, and by conducting training programs upon request and with reimbursement.
(f) Facilitate the exchange of ideas and information throughout the government about occupational safety and health.
(g) Provide technical services to agencies upon request, where the Secretary deems necessary, and with reimbursement. These services may include studies of accidents, causes of injury and illness, identification of unsafe and unhealthful working conditions, and means to abate hazards.
(h) Evaluate the occupational safety and health programs of agencies and promptly submit reports to the agency heads. The evaluations shall be conducted through such scheduled headquarters or field reviews, studies or inspections as the Secretary deems necessary, at least annually for the larger or more hazardous agencies or operations, and as the Secretary deems appropriate for the smaller or less hazardous agencies.
(i) Conduct unannounced inspections of agency workplaces when the Secretary determines necessary if an agency does not have occupational safety and health committees; or in response to reports of unsafe or unhealthful working conditions, upon request of occupational safety and health committees under Section 1-3; or, in the case of a report of an imminent danger, when such a committee has not responded to an employee who has alleged to it that the agency has not adequately responded to a report as required in 1-201(h). When the Secretary or his designee performs an inspection and discovers unsafe or unhealthy conditions, a violation of any provisions of this order, or any safety or health standards adopted by an agency pursuant to this order, or any program element approved by the Secretary, he shall promptly issue a report to the head of the agency and to the appropriate occupational safety and health committee, if any. The report shall describe the nature of the findings and may make recommendations for correcting the violation.
(j) Submit to the President each year a summary report of the status of the occupational safety and health of Federal employees, and, together with agency responses, evaluations of individual agency progress and problems in correcting unsafe and unhealthful working conditions, and recommendations for improving their performance.
(k) Submit to the President unresolved disagreements between the Secretary and agency heads, with recommendations.
(l) Enter into agreements or other arrangements as necessary or appropriate with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and delegate to it the inspection and investigation authority provided under this section.

[Sec. 1-401 amended by Executive Order 12608 of Sept. 9, 1987, 52 FR 34617, 3 CFR, 1987 Comp., p. 245]

1-5. The Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health.

1-501. The Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health, established pursuant to Executive Order No. 11612, is continued. It shall advise the Secretary in carrying out responsibilities under this order. The Council shall consist of sixteen members appointed by the Secretary, of whom eight shall be representatives of Federal agencies and eight shall be representatives of labor organizations representing Federal employees. The members shall serve three-year terms with the terms of five or six members expiring each year, provided this Council is renewed every two years in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The members currently serving on the Council shall be deemed to be its initial members under this order and their terms shall expire in accordance with the terms of their appointment.

1-502. The Secretary, or a designee, shall serve as the Chairman of the Council, and shall prescribe rules for the conduct of its business.

1-503. The Secretary shall make available necessary office space and furnish the Council necessary equipment, supplies, and staff services, and shall perform such functions with respect to the Council as may be required by the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended (5 U.S.C. App. I).

1-6. General Services Administration.

1-601. Within six months of the effective date of this order the Secretary of Labor and the Administrator of the General Services Administration shall initiate a study of conflicts that may exist in their standards and other requirements affecting Federal employee safety and health, and shall establish a procedure for resolving conflicting standards for space leased by the General Services Administration.

1-602. In order to assist the agencies in carrying out their duties under Section 19 of the Act and this order the Administrator shall:
(a) Upon request, require personnel of the General Services Administration to accompany the Secretary or an agency head on any inspection or investigation conducted pursuant to this order of a facility subject to the authority of the General Services Administration.
(b) Assure prompt attention to reports from agencies of unsafe or unhealthy conditions of facilities subject to the authority of the General Services Administration; where abatement cannot be promptly effected, submit to the agency head a timetable for action to correct the conditions; and give priority in the allocation of resources available to the Administrator for prompt abatement of the conditions.
(c) Procure and provide safe supplies, devices, and equipment, and establish and maintain a product safety program for those supplies, devices, equipment and services furnished to agencies, including the issuance of Material Safety Data Sheets when hazardous substances are furnished them.

1-7. General Provisions.

1-701. Employees shall be authorized official time to participate in the activities provided for by this order.

1-702. Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or alter the powers and duties of the Secretary or heads of other Federal agencies pursuant to Section 19 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, Chapter 71 of Title 5 of the United States Code, Sections 7901, 7902, and 7903 of Title 5 of the United States Code, nor shall it be construed to alter any other provisions of law or Executive Order providing for collective bargaining agreements and related procedures, or affect the responsibilities of the Director of Central Intelligence to protect intelligence sources and methods (50 U.S.C. 403(d)(3)).

1-703. Executive Order No. 11807 of September 28, 1974, is revoked.

1-704. This Order is effective October 1, 1980.

[Sec. 1-704 amended by Executive Order 12223 of June 30, 1980, 45 FR 45235, 3 CFR, 1980 Comp., p. 268]

Editorial note: The Federal Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health was continued until Sept. 30, 1989, by Executive Order 12610 of Sept. 30, 1987, 52 FR 36901, 3 CFR, 1987 Comp., p. 250. Executive Order 12610 also provides that, notwithstanding the provisions of any other Executive order, the functions of the President under the Federal Advisory Committee Act which are applicable to the Council, except that of reporting annually to Congress, shall be performed by the Secretary of Labor in accordance with guidelines and procedures established by the Administrator of General Services.