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.

March 26, 1997

Lorena C. Argo, SRNS
Florida State Hospital
Staff Development
Florida State Hospital
Post Office Box 1000
Chattahoochee, Florida 32324-1000

Dear Ms. Argo:

This is in response to your facsimile inquiry that was received on February 26, 1997, in the Office of Health Compliance Assistance (OHCA). Your question concerns the training provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Bloodborne Pathogen Standard. Specifically, you have asked about the use of telephones to meet the requirement in 29 CFR 1910.1030(g)(2)(vii)(N) that requires the employer provide opportunity to the employees to interact with the trainer in a question and answer period.

The use of the telephone for the question and answer period would depend on the competency of the trainers, their accessibility, and the ratio of trainers answering the phone to the number of employees calling with questions. The trainer does not have to be present in the room with the employees. The training must be tailored to the language and educational level of the employees, for example if any of the trainees speak and understand only Spanish, the training must be presented in Spanish. In addition, a generic program that is used at numerous sites, must be supplemented with site-specific information. For example, if the 15 sites you will be showing the training video are different, such as an Urgent Care center compared to a child care facility, each site must receive additional training on the specific site. This could include such things as the location of blood spill kits, what person to call in case of a needle stick, and where employees go to receive the Hepatitis vaccine.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) does not have jurisdiction over state, county, or municipal employees. Based on the letterhead of your fax, it appears that you will be training state employees. The information presented here is an interpretation of the Federal standard and applies to the private sector. The state of Florida may have regulations that differ, so it is advisable that you check with state or local authorities for a final answer to your question.

Thank you for your interest in safety and health. If you need further assistance, please feel free to call Wanda Bissell of my staff at (202) 219-8036 ext. 36.


Stephen Mallinger, Acting Director
Office of Health Compliance Assistance


DATE:     February 26, 1997

TO:       Office of Health Compliance Assistance

FROM:     Lorena C. Argo, SRNS

SUBJECT:  OSHA Regulation re Instructor Eligibility

We have prepared a video which includes a presentation on HIV/AIDS and OSHA. We would like to be able to televise the program to all 15 units from our video studio. Do we have to have an instructor present in the classroom on each unit or could we use the instructor who coordinated the program plus three others qualified to teach HIV/AIDS/OSHA programs to serve as interactive communicators to answer questions by phone as is done on interactive satellite television programs?

We would greatly appreciate your input on this question. Thank you in advance for your help.