- 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.
August 27, 1992
Mr. and Mrs. David Jurgus
Virginia, Illinois 62691
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Jurgus:
This is in response to your letter regarding the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulation 29 CFR 1910.1030, "Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens." Specifically, you were concerned that Pathway School in Jacksonville, Illinois, is considered a medical facility, and that OSHA regulations are discriminatory against the disabled.
The bloodborne pathogens standard addresses the broad issue of occupational exposure to blood and other potentially infectious materials (OPIM), and is not intended solely for employees in health care settings. Since there is no population that is risk-free from human immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis B virus infectivity, any employee who has occupational exposure to blood or OPIM is included within the scope of this standard. It is important to note that "occupational exposure" is defined as "reasonably anticipated skin, eye, mucous membrane, or parenteral contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials that may result from the performance of an employee's duties." If any employees of Pathway School have occupational exposure, they are covered by the standard.
You stated that you do not think your son should be fed by school personnel wearing masks or goggles, or given physical therapy by personnel wearing gloves. It is not OSHA's expectation that protective equipment would be required for employees assisting students in eating, or providing physical therapy under normal circumstances. The standard requires the employer to evaluate the task and the potential contact with blood and OPIM. The employer is to select and assure the use of "appropriate" personal protective equipment, when necessary, based on this determination.
OSHA's mission is to ensure a safe and healthy workplace for employees. It is not our intent to discriminate against the students, patients, or clients with whom employees work. If you have further concerns regarding the bloodborne pathogens standard, you may contact your regional OSHA office at the following address:
DOL-OSHA, Region V
Attn: Bloodborne Coordinator
230 S. Dearborn St., Rm 3244
Chicago, IL 60604
We hope this adequately addresses your concerns.
Patricia K. Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs