Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

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

May 19, 1992

Sue Niedzwiecki, RN
Infection Control Coordinator
Standish Community Hospital
and Skilled Nursing Facility
Post Office Box 579
Standish, Michigan 48658

Dear Ms. Niedzwiecki:

This is in response to your letter of April 17, in which you requested clarification concerning the use of appropriate disinfectants, as required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulation, 29 CFR 1910.1030, "Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens".

As stated in OSHA Instruction CPL 2-2.44C, "Enforcement Procedures for the Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens Standard" (copy enclosed), a product must be registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a tuberculocidal disinfectant in order for OSHA to consider it to be effective in the cleanup of a contaminated item or surface.

A solution of 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite (household bleach) diluted between 1:10 and 1:100 with water is also acceptable for the cleanup of contaminated items or surfaces.

Quaternary ammonia products are appropriate for use in general housekeeping procedures which do not involve the clean-up of contaminated items or surfaces. Please bear in mind, however, that the term "contaminated" is defined as the presence OR REASONABLY ANTICIPATED PRESENCE of blood or other potentially infectious material.

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