- Standard Number:
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.
July 28, 1992
Mr. James C. Cokendolpher
Texas Tech University
Health Sciences Center
Department of Preventive Medicine
NPTN-Antimicrobial Compliant System
Lubbock, Texas 79430
Dear Mr. Cokendolpher:
This is in response to your letter of April 22, 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". Your question specifically relates to the use of sodium hypochlorite solutions (bleach) for disinfection of environmental surfaces. We apologize for the delay in this response.
You correctly note in your letter that OSHA Instruction CPL 2- 2.44C, "Enforcement Procedures for the Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens Standard", states that disinfectant products registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as tuberculocidal are considered "appropriate" for the cleanup of a contaminated item or surface. OSHA recognizes that, although generic sodium hypochlorite (household bleach) solutions are not registered as such, they are generally recommended by the U.S. Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for disinfection of environmental surfaces.
In response to your request that OSHA clarify its position, we confirm that, in accordance with the recommendations of the CDC, solutions of 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite diluted between 1:10 and 1:100 with water are also acceptable for disinfection of environmental surfaces and for decontamination of sites following initial cleanup (i.e., wiping up) of spills of blood or other potentially infectious materials. A similar clarifying statement will be included in a subsequent change to OSHA Instruction CPL 2-2.44C.
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