ICS Magazine

OSHA Tightens Reins on Information Availability on Web

January 11, 2001
Washington, D.C. (Business Wire) -- OSHA has issued an agency-wide directive to tighten its procedures for posting information on the agency’s web site. The move is in response, in part, to last year’s "telecommuting" controversy where workplace rules were posted without fanfare or public notice.

A copy of the OSHA document was discovered and posted on the web site of NetCompliance, Inc., a Washington, DC-based Internet provider of "paperless" compliance solutions and online worker training programs for companies regulated by OSHA, the EPA, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and other government agencies.

The OSHA policy directive "defines responsibilities related to Internet usage and administration" and "prescribes clearance procedures for OSHA website postings," according to the document's executive summary.

The 31-page document also establishes and assigns responsibilities to the OSHA Internet Technical Advisory Group; tasks Regional Administrators and Directors with assigning Web officers to various agency offices; and defines the role of the OSHA Webmaster regarding clearance and posting of OSHA materials on its website.

Further, any entity that wants a link to OSHA's web site must provide "apolitical" information that "supports the agency's mission," according to the document, and must pass 11 criteria questions, including: Is the (link) information significant, useful and unbiased? Does the link provide information that is not available on other non-profit or government Websites?; Does the link lead directly to appropriate technical documents rather than to the home page of the commercial site?; Does the link lead more-or-less directly to something advocating a political party or adversary's position on OSHA issues?; Does the link contain information contrary to OSHA policy or standards? If so, what justifies inclusion of this link?