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 https://www.osha.gov.

October 19, 1993

The Honorable Thomas E. Petri
U.S. House of Representative
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Congressman Petri:

This is in response to your letter of September 2, addressed to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) which was referred to this office for response. Your letter addressed the concerns of your constituent, Mr. David C. Jording, regarding the OSHA standard on occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens, 29 CFR 1910.1030. After carefully reviewing your constituent's concerns, it appears that Mr. Jording may misunderstand the requirements of the standard.

The bloodborne pathogens standard requires that the employer make the determination of which jobs and/or tasks involve occupational exposure. Occupational exposure is defined as reasonably anticipated exposure to blood or other potentially infectious material as the result of performing one's job duties. Those employees for whom it can be reasonably anticipated that they will have contact with blood or other potentially infectious material during the course of their job duties are covered by the regulation, including the requirement to provide the hepatitis B vaccine free of charge to the covered employee. Employees who do not have occupational exposure are not covered by the scope of the standard.

Teachers are not covered by the standard unless they are designated as responsible for rendering first aid or medical assistance should the need arise or have other occupational exposure. If the teacher's only exposure is as a result of be a designated first aider, the vaccine may be offered following the teacher's involvement in a first aid incident (see enclosed News Release).

OSHA does not provide the funds for any sector (public or private) to comply with the standard. Public sector employees are covered only in those states which operate their own states occupational safety and health programs.

We hope this information will enable you to adequately address the concerns of your constituent. If we can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact my office.


Roger A. Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs