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OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov.
April 17, 1992
Peter W. Michaels
Cooper, White & Cooper
201 California Street
San Francisco, California 94111
Dear Mr. Michaels:
This is in response to your letter of February 24, in which you requested clarification concerning the scope of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulation on "Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens", 29 CFR 1910.1030. Specifically, you requested an interpretation on the coverage of janitorial workers.
OSHA does not generally consider maintenance personnel/janitorial /housekeeping staff employed in non-health care facilities to have occupational exposure. "Occupational exposure" is defined as "reasonably anticipated skin, eye, mucous membrane, or parenteral contact with blood or other potentially infectious material which may result from the performance on an employee's duties."
At the same time, it is the employer's responsibility to determine which job classifications or specific tasks and procedures involve occupational exposure. If OSHA determines, on a case-by-case basis, that sufficient evidence exists of reasonably anticipated exposure, the employer will be held responsible for providing the protections of 29 CFR 1910.1030 to the employees with occupational exposure.
As you are no doubt aware, the State of California administers its own occupational safety and health program which is overseen and monitored by federal OSHA. State plan regulations must be at least as effective as federal OSHA regulations, and the state may choose to promulgate and enforce requirements which are stricter than federal OSHA's. We, therefore, recommend that you contact your state plan regarding this issue as well. They may be reached at the following address and phone number:
Dr. John Howard, Chief California Department of Industrial Relations Division of Occupational Safety and Health Room 5202 455 Golden Gate Avenue San Francisco, California 94102 Phone: (415) 703-4341
We hope this information is responsive to your concerns. Thank you for your interest in worker safety and health.
Patricia K. Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs