- 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.
November 6, 1992
Mr. Larry T. Worden
920 Oxford Road
Glen Ellyn, Illinois 60137
Dear Mr. Worden:
This is in response to your inquiries of June 15 to Mr. William Wierdt of our office in Chicago, and of June 16 to President George Bush regarding the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulation 29 CFR 1910.1030, "Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens." Please accept our apology for the delay in this response.
Specifically, you expressed your concern that OSHA is "considering to not apply the new OSHA bloodborne pathogen standard to the construction industry." You felt that such a decision would be "...a grave mistake."
In addressing the OSHA Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health on May 19, Dorothy Strunk, Acting Assistant Secretary of OSHA, informed the Committee that a determination had been made that the bloodborne pathogen standard does not apply to the construction industry. She explained that this policy decision was based on a concern that the construction industry was not explicitly afforded notice and, in fact, did not participate in the rulemaking process.
While the bloodborne pathogens standard does not apply to construction work, as defined in 29 CFR 1910.12(b), it does apply to employees performing maintenance activities which involve making or keeping a structure, fixture, or foundation in proper condition in a routine, schedule, or anticipated fashion and, if they experience occupational exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials.
OSHA expects the construction employer performing such functions listed above to take the following precautions as required by the referenced standards:
Section 29 CFR 1926.21(b)(2) requires that the employer instruct each employee in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions and in the regulations applicable to his or her work environment in order to control or eliminate any hazards or other exposure to illness or injury. Under this provision, the employer is required to train designated first aid providers in the hazards of bloodborne pathogens.
Section 29 CFR 1926.25 requires that containers be provided for the collection and separation of waste. This includes containers for sharps and other hazardous waste which may be generated from rendering medical assistance.
Finally, section 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act, which requires employers to furnish a workplace which is free from recognized hazards which may cause or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm, may be applied, where appropriate, to the industries not covered by the bloodborne pathogens standard. Section 5(a)(1) citations must, of course, meet the requirements outlined in the Field Operations Manual, Chapter IV, and will only be issued where there is a serious and recognized hazard which cannot be abated by implementing an abatement method required by the above standards
We hope this information is responsive to your concerns. Thank you for your interest in worker safety and health.
Roger A. Clark,
Directorate of Compliance Programs