Requesting a Variance From the Recordkeeping Rule

If you wish to keep records in a different manner from that prescribed by the Part 1904 regulations, submit a variance petition to OSHA in Washington D.C. You may obtain a variance only if you can show that your alternative recordkeeping system:

  • Collects the same information as Part 1904 requires;

  • Meets the purposes of the OSH Act; and

  • Does not interfere with the administration of the Act.

Include the following items in your variance petition:

  • Name and address;

  • A list of the state(s) where the variance would be used;

  • The address(es) of the business establishment(s) involved;

  • A description of why you are seeking a variance;

  • A description of the different recordkeeping procedures you propose to use;

  • A description of how your proposed procedures will collect the same information as would be collected by Part 1904 and achieve the purpose of the Act; and

  • A statement that you have informed your employees of the petition by giving them or their authorized representative a copy of the petition and by posting a statement summarizing the petition in the same way as notices are posted under §1903.2(a).

During the time OSHA is processing your variance request, record injuries and illnesses according to Part 1904. You may not use your own system until it receives final approval. OSHA will take the following steps to process your variance petition:

  1. Offer your employees and their authorized representatives an opportunity to submit written data, views, and arguments about your variance petition.

  2. Allow the public to comment on your variance petition by publishing the petition in the Federal Register. If the petition is published, the notice will establish a public comment period and may include a schedule for a public meeting on the petition.

  3. After reviewing your variance petition and any comments from your employees and the public, OSHA will decide whether or not your proposed recordkeeping procedures will meet the purposes of the OSH Act, will not otherwise interfere with the Act, and will provide the same information as the Part 1904 regulations. If your procedures meet these criteria, the Agency may grant the variance subject to such conditions as he or she finds appropriate.

  4. If the variance is granted, OSHA will publish a notice in the Federal Register to announce the variance. The notice will include the practices the variance allows you to use, any conditions that apply, and the reasons for allowing the variance.

If you have already been cited by OSHA for not following the Part 1904 regulations, your variance petition will not affect the citation and penalty. However, OSHA may elect not to review your variance petition if it includes an element for which you have been cited and the citation is still under review by a court, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), or the OSH Review Commission.

Your variance may be revoked if there is a good cause. The procedures revoking a variance will follow the same process as OSHA uses for reviewing variance petitions, except in cases of willfulness or where necessary for public safety, you will be:

  • Notified in writing of the facts or conduct that may warrant revocation of your variance; and

  • Provided (including your employees and authorized employee representatives) with an opportunity to participate in the revocation procedures.

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