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 1, 1996


MEMORANDUM FOR:         Richard S. Terrill
                       Acting Regional Administrator
                       Region X

FROM:                   John B. Miles, Jr., Director
                       Directorate of Compliance Program

SUBJECT:                Response: Bloodborne Pathogen Standard (BBP)
                       and Alaska CASPA - Code Interpretation

This memorandum is in response to your request for an explanation of OSHA's position and interpretation detailing workers and work activity covered under 29 CFR 1910.1030. We have reviewed your response to the state of Alaska in regards to the CASPA and find your interpretation of the bloodborne pathogens standard (BBP) is correct.

The BBP standard applies to all industries with the exception of construction and longshoring. Under this standard, employers are required to determine which job classifications and which specific tasks and procedures involve or potentially involve occupational exposure to blood and other potentially infectious materials (OPIM). As you clearly stated in your letter to the Commissioner for the Alaska Department of Labor, OSHA would not normally consider maintenance, janitorial, and/or housekeeping personnel in a non-healthcare environment to have occupational exposure to blood and OPIM. However, it is the employer's responsibility to determine whether or not there is occupational exposure with respect to these and all job classifications, worker tasks, and job requirements. The determination of occupational exposure must be made on a case-by-case basis. Neither OSHA nor an employer can rule out or determine that a specific job does not have occupational exposure based solely on the job title.

If a job or task is evaluated by the employer, OSHA, or a state program state, and exposure to blood or OPIM is found to exist, the employer would be held responsible for providing all applicable provisions of the BBP standard to its occupationally exposed workers. We are in agreement with your CASPA determination that an investigation in response to the formal complaint needs to be conducted by the state of Alaska in order to determine if the custodians have occupational exposure. If occupational exposure is determined to exist, then the required provisions of the BBP standard would have to be implemented by the employer.

If you have any further questions or if we can be of any further assistance, please contact Richard Fairfax or Wanda Bissell of my staff at (202) 219-8036.