• Publication Date:
  • Publication Type:
    Proposed Rule
  • Fed Register #:
  • Standard Number:
  • Title:
    Occupational Exposure to Tuberculosis


Occupational Safety and Health Administration

29 CFR Part 1910

[Docket No. H-371]

RIN 1218-AB46

Occupational Exposure to Tuberculosis

AGENCY: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Labor.

ACTION: Limited re-opening of the rulemaking record for Occupational Exposure to Tuberculosis (TB).

SUMMARY: The Agency is re-opening the record in the TB rulemaking to allow interested persons to review the National Academy of Sciences/Institute of Medicine (NAS/IOM) report, "Tuberculosis in the Workplace" and the comments by the peer reviewers on OSHA's draft final risk assessment. This record re-opening is limited to the draft final risk assessment, the peer review comments on that assessment, and the NAS/IOM report.

DATES: Comments and data must be postmarked no later than March 25, 2002. Comments submitted electronically or by FAX must be submitted by March 25, 2002.

ADDRESSES: Send two copies of your comments to: Docket Office, Docket H-371, Room N-2625, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210. Comments of 10 pages or fewer may be transmitted by FAX to: 202-693-1648, provided that the original and one copy of the comment are sent to the Docket Office immediately thereafter.

You may also submit comments electronically to http://ecomments.osha.gov. Information such as studies and journal articles cannot be attached to electronic submissions and must be submitted in duplicate to the docket office address listed above. Such attachments must clearly identify the respondent's electronic submission by name, date, and subject, so that they can be attached to the correct submission.

The entire record for the TB rulemaking, including the peer reviewers' reports, OSHA's draft final risk assessment and the NAS/IOM report, is available for inspection and copying in the Docket Office, Docket H-371, telephone 202-693-2350.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Amanda Edens, Directorate of Health Standards Programs, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Room N-3718, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210, Telephone (202) 693-2270, FAX (202) 693-1678.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On October 17, 1997, OSHA published a proposed standard for Occupational Exposure to TB (62 FR 54160). In the proposal, the Agency made a preliminary determination based on a review of the available data that workers in hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and certain other work settings are at significant risk of incurring TB infection while caring for their patients and clients or performing certain procedures potentially involving exposure to TB.

Many persons submitted comments addressing OSHA's preliminary quantitative risk assessment and suggested that OSHA should use more current data in developing its final quantitative risk assessment. In response to these concerns, OSHA reopened the rulemaking record to solicit data and comments with respect to assessing the occupational risk of TB infection and disease (64 FR 34625, June 28, 1999). In addition, the Agency provided a draft of its final risk assessment (Ex. 184) for peer review to two experts in the fields of TB epidemiology and risk assessment. The peer reviewers selected were Dr. Richard Menzies and Dr. Mark Nicas. Dr. Menzies, Professor and Director of the Respiratory Epidemiology Unit at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, is a physician experienced in the epidemiology, diagnosis and treatment of TB and is a recognized research scientist, having published numerous scientific papers in the area of occupational exposure to and treatment of TB. Dr. Menzies is also an expert in the use of tuberculin skin testing as a diagnostic for infection. Dr. Mark Nicas, Professor at the University of California Berkeley and a Certified Industrial Hygienist, is a recognized research scientist, having published numerous scientific papers in the area of occupational exposure to TB and the development of mathematical models for TB transmission. These two reviewers evaluated the overall methodology used by OSHA in the draft final risk assessment, the appropriateness of these studies for the exposure scenarios, the adequacy of the mathematical models, the values of the parameters used to estimate the TB case activation and death rates, the use and estimates of state background infection rates, and the uncertainties associated with the OSHA risk estimates. (Exs. 185 and 186)

In 1999, the U.S. Congress requested that the National Academy of Sciences undertake a short-term study of occupational TB (Public Law 106-113) including evaluation of the risks to health care workers due to occupational exposure to TB, the extent to which the TB guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are being implemented, and the effectiveness of an OSHA TB standard to protect workers from occupational exposure to TB. The report that was prepared by the IOM, the health policy arm of the Academy, was released on January 16, 2001. In view of the significance of this report, OSHA is placing it in the record for comment. (Ex. 187)

Authority: This document was prepared under the direction of John L. Henshaw, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20210. It is issued under section 6(b) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 655), Secretary of Labor's Order No. 3-2000 (65 FR 50017) and 29 CFR part 1911.

Signed at Washington, DC, this 17th day of January, 2002.

John L. Henshaw,
Assistant Secretary of Labor.

[FR Doc. 02-1712 Filed 1-23-02; 8:45 am]