UCR Program

Ensuring the well-being of our members in the workplace is one of the primary objectives of PASS. We are engaged with the agency in several collaborative initiatives designed to foster the safety culture. It is also vital that we not lose sight of the foundational principles of the federal occupational safety and health program these collaborative initiatives support and enhance.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates that the agency provide a workplace free of hazards to employee safety and health. Hazards must be identified through employee reports and inspections of the workplace before those hazards result in an illness or injury. Annual agency safety inspections, and the workplace inspection tool (WIT), where inspection results are recorded, are emphasized by the agency and familiar to most of us. Unfortunately, the system provided by the agency for employee reports of hazards is less advertised and understood. Our workplace representatives have been fielding frequent questions regarding the avenues employees should use to report hazards to occupational safety and health (OSH).

The FAA-wide system provided for employees to report OSH hazards is the unsatisfactory condition report (UCR) program. The UCR program is an online reporting and recordkeeping system hosted by the Safety Management Information System (SMIS) at https://smis.faa.gov on the agency intranet. There have been some significant misunderstandings in the workplace regarding the proper use of this system when reporting workplace hazards.

Paragraph 7a of FAA Order 1800.6B, Unsatisfactory Condition Report, states that UCRs filed to report hazards to occupational safety and health must be handled as required by the governing OSHA regulation (29 CFR 1960.28). That regulation clearly states that employees are not required to provide an oral report to the agency, including their supervisor, before initiating a UCR. The order, online UCR instructions, and UCR program training material make no distinction between UCRs initiated to report workplace OSH hazards and those to report other types of unsatisfactory conditions. Employees are required to discuss unsatisfactory conditions, other than those initiated to address OSH hazards, with their supervisor before initiating the UCR. We do recommend that an oral report be given to the supervisor as soon as possible after a hazard is identified so that any action to protect employees from harm is not delayed while the UCR is processed.

The regulation also clearly states that any oral report given shall be reduced to writing by the person receiving the report if not done so by the reporting employee. A written UCR should be initiated even in cases where the hazard is immediately eliminated. This is necessary to ensure that we are all able to learn from situations identified by others. This data is also important in identifying trends that may require additional attention by our employee representatives during workplace inspections, areas where additional employee safety training may be appropriate, or modifications made to equipment design and installation or maintenance procedures.

Hopefully, this brief discussion of the UCR program has helped in understanding the responsibility to report workplace hazards and given you confidence to report them with a UCR whether you elect to discuss them with your supervisor or not. If you have additional questions, please contact your PASS safety representative. For a list of PASS safety representative and their contact information, click here. Employees may also contact National ATO Safety Representative Ray Baggett at raymond.baggett@passmember.net, National AVS/AFS Safety Representative Colleen Stevens at colleen.stevens@passmember.net or National DoD Safety Representative Jason Davis at jason.davis@passmember.net.

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