- 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.
June 24, 1993
Mr. Todd W Cline
Constangy, Brooks & Smith
101 South Stratford Road,
Winston-Salem, NC 27104
Dear Mr. Cline:
This is in response to your letter of April 13, regarding the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulation 29 CFR 1910.1030, "Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens." You wrote on behalf of a client you identified as "Gas Company," and asked if their company is covered by the bloodborne pathogens standard.
The bloodborne pathogens standard addresses the broad issue of occupational exposure to blood and other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) and is not meant solely for employees in health care settings. Since there is no population that is risk-free for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV) infectivity, any employee who has occupational exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials 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 OPIM that may result from the performance of an employee's duties."
Your letter stated, "The Company does not employ an occupational nurse in any of its activities or at any of [its] locations, nor is anyone `designated,' either expressly or implicitly to provide emergency first aid. While no one is designated to provide first aid, all field employees are trained in CPR and emergency response." The key to this issue is not whether employees have been trained in first aid, but whether they are also designated as responsible for rendering medical assistance. The standard does not necessarily apply to employees who are trained in first aid, but only to those employees who are required by the employer to actually administer first aid. Such employees are covered under the bloodborne pathogens standard, and the Gas Company is required to write an exposure control plan as well as provide all other protections of the standard to them.
OSHA has issued a policy statement specifying that, while designated first aiders are covered under the scope of the standard, failure to offer the hepatitis B vaccine pre-exposure to persons who render first aid only as a collateral duty will be considered "de minimis," a technical violation carrying no penalties, provided that a number of conditions are met. Please see the enclosed news release for more details.
We hope this has been responsive to your client's concerns. Thank you for your interest in employee safety and health.
Roger A. Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs
April 13, 1993
Mr. Roger Clark, Director
Directorate of Health
Francis Perkins Building
U.S. Department of Labor - OSHA
100 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20210
Re: Bloodborne Pathogens
Dear Mr. Clark:
The firm with whom I am associated represents a corporation which I shall refer to as "Gas Company" or "Company". Gas Company recently asked me whether it is covered by the Bloodborne Pathogen Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1030. After reviewing the information provided by Gas Company with Pat Tyson in our Atlanta office, he recommended that I contact you and request a formal opinion from OSHA.
Gas Company is an interstate natural gas pipeline. It owns, operates and maintains several thousand miles of natural gas transmission pipeline and associated facilities, and employs approximately 1,350 employees. Approximately, 450 of these employees work in office settings, while approximately 900 work in "field" settings principally located in rural, sometimes remote, areas at compressor or metering stations and at storage facilities. The number of employees working at any given field location ranges from approximately two to approximately sixty, depending upon the function of the location.
The Company also has five employees engaged exclusively as safety support staff. These safety representatives are not assigned to any location, but routinely visit all locations. They are certified to, and do in fact, teach a Red Cross CPR multimedia course at many locations. Each safety representative is responsible for fifteen to eighteen locations.
The scope of work at the field locations includes a full range of mechanical, engineering, operational and maintenance tasks associated with the gathering, storage, compression, transmission, and monitoring of natural gas and the maintenance of pipeline right-of-way.
In addition to these routine tasks, the Company from time to time engages in the construction of new facilities and pipeline and the repair and replacement of existing facilities and pipeline. Major construction projects are performed by third-party construction contractors under the supervision of Gas Company project managers. Smaller construction and right-of-way maintenance projects are performed both by third-party contractors (with and without direct supervision of Gas Company project managers) and by Gas Company employees, depending on the circumstances.
The Company does not employ an occupational nurse in any of its activities or at any of the aforementioned locations, nor is anyone "designated," either expressly or impliedly, to provide emergency first aid. While no one is designated to provide first aid, all field employees are trained in CPR and emergency rescue.
Based upon the aforementioned information, I would respectfully request an opinion from your office as to whether this Company is covered by the Bloodborne Pathogen Standard and must, therefore, develop an Exposure Control Plan. Thank you for your time. I look forward to your response.
Todd W. Cline