Skip to main content

OSHRCOccupational Safety & Health Review Commission

Frequently Asked Questions

Question:  Is There A Difference Between The Occupational Safety And Health Administration (OSHA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC or Review Commission)?

Answer:     Yes.  OSHA is part of the Department of Labor, whereas OSHRC is an independent federal agency, separate and apart from the Department of Labor.  OSHRC serves as an administrative court that holds administrative hearings and provides appellate review of contested OSHA citations and penalties issued to an employer following an OSHA inspection.  The vast majority of the records maintained by OSHRC are materials that have been filed for these trials and appeals 

Question: What Do I Do With The Pre-Printed Post Card That I Received In The Mail With The Notice Of Docketing?

Answer: There is a perforation in the center of the post card that will allow you to separate it into two halves. 

- The top half of the post card is the certificate of service.  It is to be completed by the employer by providing the requested information.  The completed top half should then be returned to the Commission.

-The bottom half of the postcard is the Notice to Employees Regarding Safety and Health Citations.  It is to be posted where the OSHA citation is required to be posted.  It is not to be returned to the Commission.

Question: On The Top Half Of The Post Card That I Received In The Mail With The Notice Of Docketing There Are Two Lines For Writing In The Names Of Authorized Employee Representatives [Unions].  What Do I Do If There Are No Authorized Employee Representatives?

Answer: If there are no authorized employee representatives [unions], those lines may be left blank.

Question: How Do I Request A Subpoena?

Answer:  Your request must be submitted in writing to the Administrative Law Judge assigned to the case.  Please include the number and type of subpoenas requested (i.e. ad testificandum (to testify) or duces tecum (to produce documents)), along with the name and address of the party or parties being subpoenaed.  See Rev. Com. Rule § 2200.57

Question: Who Fills Out The Subpoena?

Answer:  The subpoena is filled out by the person requesting it.

Question: When Do I Need To File An Answer?

Answer:   The cited employer (respondent) must file an answer within 20 days after receiving the complaint from the Secretary of Labor.  In your answer, you must admit or deny all allegations in the complaint.  See Rev. Com. Rule § 2200.34(b).  Keep in mind that you are not required to file an answer if your case is designated for Simplified Proceedings.  See Rev. Com. Rule § 2200.205(a).

Question: Do I Need To Do Anything After Filing My Answer?

Answer:  No.  After the answer is filed, the parties should wait to hear from the Administrative Law Judge assigned to the case.

Question: Where Should I Send My Penalty Check?

Answer:  Please contact the Regional OSHA Office handling your case for penalty collecting procedures.

Question: How Do I Become A Party To A Case?

Answer:  If you are an affected employee or an authorized employee representative, you may become a party at any time prior to 10 days before the start of the hearing. Your notice stating that you have chosen to become a party must be submitted in writing and identify a matter in which the OSH Act confers a right to participate. You must also provide a copy of the notice to all other parties.  See Rev. Com. Rule § 2200.07 and § 2200.20.
Additionally, any interested party may submit a request to intervene in a case at any time prior to 10 days before the commencement of the hearing. The request must be in writing and show that permitting the intervention will assist in the determination of the issues in question and will not unduly delay the case. See Rev. Com. Rule § 2200.21.

Question: My Case has Settled, Why Did I Receive A Notice Of Hearing?

Answer:  The Administrative Law Judge specifies a date by which he/she is to receive the settlement agreement.  If that time has expired and no agreement has been submitted, the Judge will issue a notice scheduling the case for a hearing.

Question: Who Should I Talk To About Resolving/Settling The Case?

Answer:  The attorney in the Office of the Solicitor/U.S. Department of Labor who is handling your case.

Question: If I File A Document By Fax, Do I Also Need To Send The Original?

Answer:  No.  Any document may be filed with the Review Commission or its Administrative Law Judges by fax.  Filing is complete at the time that the fax is received by the Review Commission or the Judge.  A document filed by fax has the same force and effect as an original. See Rev. Com. Rule § 2200.8(f)(1)

Question: When Can I  Electronically File A Document To An Administrative Law Judge or the Review Commission?

Answer:  Only when all parties consent to electronic service and electronic filing.  See Rev. Com. Rule §2200.8(g)

Question:  I don’t like the search results I get from the search engine on the OSHRC website AND/ OR the search engine on the OSHRC website doesn’t seem to be working.  Do I have any alternatives?

Answer:  Most major search engines allow you to limit your search using that search engine to a particular website. Try looking under the advanced search options for that search engine and enter “” as the desired website.

Here are two examples: and enter “” under “Search within a site or domain:” and enter “” under “only search in this domain/site:”

Question:  I Want To File A Workplace Safety (or Health) Complaint, Do I Send The Complaint To The Review Commission?

Answer:  No, such complaints must be filed with OSHA.

Question:  How Do I Submit A FOIA Request To The Review Commission?

Answer:  FOIA requests must be made in writing and should be submitted by mail, e-mail, courier, fax, or in person.  To best process your FOIA request, we encourage you to address your FOIA request like this:

Freedom of Information Act Request
Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission
FOIA Requester Service Center
1120 20th Street, NW, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20036-3457

Fax: (202) 606-5417

If you wish to submit a FOIA request by e-mail, please contact the FOIA Requester Service Center at (202) 606-5700 for an e-mail address.  Please be aware that the vast majority of the records maintained by OSHRC are those records filed in cases where an OSHA citation or penalty has been contested.  To contact OSHA for their records, please go to: