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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.
April 1, 1993
MEMORANDUM FOR: REGIONAL ADMINISTRATORS ATTENTION: REGIONAL RECORDKEEPING COORDINATORS THRU: LEO CAREY Director Office of Field Programs FROM: STEPHEN A. NEWELL Director Office of Statistics SUBJECT: Recording Cases on the OSHA Log that involve Bloodborne Pathogens
The concepts and definitions for OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping for all private sector employers are contained in 29 CFR 1904, the instructions on the OSHA 200 Log, and the supplemental instructions contained in the Recordkeeping Guidelines for Occupational Injuries and Illnesses. For cases involving bloodborne pathogens, cases are recordable under 29 CFR Part 1904 when any employee experiences an "exposure incident" as defined below, that meets the criteria listed on page 6 of CPL 2- 2.44C (attached).
For recordkeeping purposes, "exposure incident" is defined as "a specific eye, mouth, other mucous membrane, non-intact skin, or parenteral contact with blood or other potentially infectious material..." In addition, "non-intact skin" includes skin with dermatitis, hang-nails, cuts, abrasions, chafing, etc. Therefore, cases involving an "exposure incident" to an employee may be recordable while cases involving a splash to a person's "intact" skin are not recordable.
Recommendation of Treatment
Under 29 CFR 1904, medical treatment includes treatment that is actually provided as well as treatment that is clearly required but not provided. Thus, recommended treatment need not be rendered to satisfy the recordability criteria. This is consistent with the recordkeeping practices relating to cases other than those involving bloodborne pathogens. This guidance can be found on page 44 of the Recordkeeping Guidelines, Q & A F- 5. For example, cases involving an employee's refusal to take prescription medication or to allow sutures to be applied do not change the recordability of the injury. This is why Section J(2) of CPL 2-2.44c includes "...the recommendation of medical treatment..." in its recordability requirements.
Please make sure that your Bloodborne Coordinators are also made aware of this information.