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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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

October 22, 1992

Mr. Eugene J. Wingerter
Executive Director/CEO
National Solid Waste
Management Association
1730 Rhode Island Avenue, N.W., Suite 1000
Washington, D.C. 20036

Dear Mr. Wingerter:

This is in response to your letter of July 17, regarding clarification of the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulation 29 CFR 1910.1030, "Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens" and to confirm the subsequent discussion between Mr. David Kendall of this office and Mr. Tom Goldberg of your staff. You specifically requested that OSHA accept the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) "Infectious Substances" label in lieu of the OSHA "Biohazard" label for the outermost container for medical waste during off-site transportation. We apologize for the delay in this response.

OSHA representatives have discussed this issue with representatives of the DOT to avoid the imposition of conflicting regulatory requirements. Therefore, OSHA will accept the DOT label in lieu of the OSHA label on outer containers of regulated waste, or containers of other materials which may contain blood or other potentially infectious materials, where the DOT label is required by DOT.

Labeling in accordance with paragraph 29 CFR 1910.1030(g)(1)(i) of the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens standard is required for such containers where DOT regulations do not apply. Labeling under the OSHA standard is required, for example, while the containers are functioning as collection receptacles within facilities generating the waste or other contaminated material defined above, or for containers of such materials that are exempt from DOT labeling requirements.

We hope this information is responsive to your concerns. Thank you for your interest in employee safety and health.


Roger A. Clark,
Directorate of Compliance Programs