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Privacy Act System Notice 09-20-0159

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System name: Records of Subjects in Certification, Testing, Studies of Personal Protective Devices, and Accident Investigations. HHS/CDC/NIOSH.

Security classification: None.

System location: National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), PO Box 18070, 626 Cochrans Mill Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15236.

Data are also occasionally located at contractor sites as studies are developed, data collected, and reports written. A list of contractor sites where individually identifiable data are currently located is available upon request to the system manager.

Also, occasionally data may be located at the facilities of collaborating researchers where analyses are performed, data collected and reports written. A list of these facilities is available upon request to the system manager. Data may be located only at those facilities that have an adequate data security program and the collaborating researcher must return the data to NIOSH or destroy individual identifiers at the conclusion of the project.

Categories of individuals covered by the system: Individuals exposed to hazardous work environments and individuals selected as control groups are covered by this system. Additionally, the system pertains to individuals selected to test the interaction between people, personal protection or safety equipment, users of such equipment, and a hazardous environment. Some examples include individuals involved in investigated accidents and persons selected to perform respirator face piece fit tests, perform lifting and manual materials handling studies, perform work tests while wearing protective equipment, perform strength test studies, and perform hand speed tests.

Categories of records in the system: The system contains such records as physical examinations, questionnaires, results of laboratory tests (physiological measures and performance tests), workplace performances records, occupational histories, medical histories, demographic data, and related medical information. The specific types of records collected and maintained are determined by the needs of the individual study.

Authority for maintenance of the system: Public Health Service Act, Section 301, "Research and Investigation" (42 U.S.C. 241); Occupational Safety and Health Act, Section 20, "Research and Related Activities" (29 U.S.C. 669); and the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, Section 501, "Research" (30 U.S.C. 951).

Purpose(s): The purpose of this system is to permit acquisition of information related to certification and performance of personal protective equipment, and safety research studies.

Routine uses of records maintained in the system, including categories of users and the purposes of such uses: Disclosure may be made to a congressional office from the record of an individual in response to a verified inquiry from the congressional office made at the written request of that individual.

In the event of litigation where the defendant is: (a) the Department, any component of the Department, or any employee of the Department in his or her official capacity; (b) the United States where the Department determines that the claim, if successful, is likely to directly affect the operations of the Department or any of its components; or (c) any Department employee in his or her individual capacity where the Department of Justice has agreed to represent such employee, for example, in defending a claim against the Public Health Service based upon an individual's mental or physical condition and alleged to have arisen because of activities of the Public Health Service in connection with such individual, disclosure may be made to the Department of Justice to enable that Department to present an effective defense, provided that such disclosure is compatible with the purpose for which the records were collected.

Portions of records (name, Social Security number if known, date of birth, and last known address) may be disclosed to one or more sources selected from those listed in Appendix 1. This may be done to determine if the individual has died so that a death certificate can be obtained. Knowing the cause of death enables NIOSH to evaluate whether excess occupationally-related mortality is occurring.

In the event of litigation initiated at the request of NIOSH, the Institute may disclose such records as it deems desirable or necessary to the Department of Justice and to the Department of Labor, Office of the Solicitor, where appropriate, to enable the Departments to effectively represent the Institute, provided such disclosure is compatible with the purpose for which the records were collected. The only types of litigative proceedings that NIOSH is authorized to request are: (1) enforcement of a subpoena issued to an employer to provide relevant information; and (2) contempt citations against an employer for failure to comply with a warrant obtained by the Institute.

Records subject to the Privacy Act are disclosed to private firms for data entry, computer systems analysis and computer programming services. The contractors promptly return data entry records after the contracted work is completed. The contractors are required to maintain Privacy Act safeguards.

Disclosure may be made to NIOSH collaborating researchers (NIOSH contractors, grantees, cooperative agreement holders, or other Federal or State scientists) in order to accomplish the research purpose for which the records are collected. The collaborating researchers must agree in writing to comply with the confidentiality provisions of the Privacy Act and NIOSH must have determined that the researchers' data security procedures will protect confidentiality.

Policies and practices for storing, retrieving, accessing, retaining, and disposing of records in the system:

Storage: Manual files, computer cards, tapes/disks and printouts, microfilm, index audiogram files, audiograms, and questionnaire forms.

Retrievability: Name, assigned number, plant name, and year tested are some of the indices used to retrieve records from these systems. Other retrieval methods are utilized as individual research dictates.


  1. 1. Authorized Users: Access is granted to only a limited number of physicians, scientists, statisticians, and designated support staff of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as authorized by the system manager to accomplish the stated purposes for which the data in this system have been collected.
  1. Physical Safeguards: Locked cabinets in locked rooms, electronic anti-intrusion devices in operation at the Federal Records Center, security guard service in buildings, personnel screening of visitors.
  1. Procedural Safeguards: The NIOSH Local Area Network (LAN) uses security packages to control unauthorized access to the system. Attempts to gain access by unauthorized individuals are automatically recorded and reviewed on a daily basis. Protection for computerized records both on the mainframe and the NIOSH LAN include programmed verification of valid user identification code and password prior to logging on to the system, mandatory password changes, limited log-ins, virus protection, and user rights/file attribute restrictions. Password protection imposes user name and password log-in requirements to prevent unauthorized access. Each user name is assigned limited access rights to files and directories at varying levels to control file sharing. There are routine daily backup procedures and secure off-site storage is available for backup tapes. Additional safeguards may be built into the program by the system analyst as warranted by the sensitivity of the data.
  1. Implementation Guidelines: The safeguards outlined above are in accordance with the HHS Information Security Program Policy and FIPS Pub 200, “Minimum Security Requirements for Federal Information and Information Systems.” Data maintained on CDC’s Mainframe and the NIOSH LAN are in compliance with OMB Circular A-130, Appendix III. Security is provided for information collection, processing, transmission, storage, and dissemination in general support systems and major applications.

Retention and disposal: Records are retained and disposed of according to the provisions of the CDC Records Control Schedule for NIOSH records.  Records are maintained in agency while the approval and certification is active, at a minimum for three years. Personal identifiers are stripped from records when no longer needed. Disposal methods include burning or shredding paper materials or transferring records to the Federal Records Center when no longer needed for evaluation and analysis. Records destroyed by paper recycling process when 20 years old, unless needed for further study.

System manager(s) and address: Computer Engineer, National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), PO Box 18070, 626 Cochrans Mill Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15236.

Notification procedure: An individual may learn if a record exists about himself or herself by contacting the system manager at the above address. Requesters in person must provide driver's license or other positive identification. Individuals who do not appear in person must either: (1) submit a notarized request to verify their identity; or (2) must certify that they are the individuals they claim to be and that they understand that the knowing and willful request for or acquisition of a record pertaining to an individual under false pretenses is a criminal offense under the Privacy Act subject to a $5,000 fine.

An individual who requests notification of or access to medical records shall, at the time the request is made, designate in writing a responsible representative who is willing to review the record and inform the subject individual of its contents at the representative's discretion.

The following information must be provided when requesting notification: (1)

full name; (2) the approximate date and place of the study, if known; and (3) nature of the questionnaire or study in which the requester participated.

Record access procedures: Same as notification procedures. Requesters should also reasonably specify the record contents being sought. An accounting of disclosures that have been made of the record, if any, may be requested.

Contesting record procedures: Contact the official at the address specified under System Manager above, reasonably identify the record and specify the information being contested, the corrective action sought, and the reasons for requesting the correction, along with supporting information to show how the record is inaccurate, incomplete, untimely, or irrelevant.

Record source categories: Information is obtained from the individual and from employer records.

Systems exempted from certain provisions of the act: None.

[Federal Register: November 24, 1986 (Volume 51, Number 226)] [Notices] [Page 42482-42484] (PDF - 1 MB)


  • Page last updated: April 11, 2012
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