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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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

July 21, 1992

Ms. Patricia A. Johnson
Safety Specialist
Air Products and Chemicals, Inc.
7201 Hamilton Boulevard
Allentown, Pennsylvania 18195-1501

Dear Ms. Johnson:

This is in response to your letter of June 18, addressed to Dorothy Strunk, Acting Assistant Secretary. You expressed concern that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was revisiting the applicability of 29 CFR 1910.1030, the "Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens" standard, to persons who administer first aid as part of their job duties.

OSHA has recently issued a policy statement specifying that, while designated first aiders are covered under the scope of the standard, failure to offer the hepatitis B vaccine pre-exposure to persons who render first aid only as a collateral duty will be considered a technical violation carrying no penalties, provided that a number of conditions are met (see enclosed news release and proposed change to the compliance directive, OSHA Instruction CPL 2-2.44C).

While we share your concern that the requirements of this standard not be diluted, we believe that the parameters placed on this exception will be sufficient to provide protection to those employees who render first aid on an occasional basis. These conditions include the requirement that employers institute a reporting procedure for all first aid incidents involving the presence of blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) and offer the vaccine to any employee who has rendered first aid in such an incident regardless of the occurrence of an actual "exposure incident" as defined by the standard.

We appreciate the fact that your company and others have invested significant amounts of time, materials, and money to develop their training and compliance programs, that you have already begun the vaccination program for first aiders, and that your company "believes that the public health value of following the bloodborne pathogens standard is important and will continue its program regardless of OSHA's decision".

We hope this information adequately addresses your concerns and thank you for your obvious concern with worker safety and health.


Patricia K. Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs