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.

November 13, 1997

Jolene Shaw
Occupational Safety & Health Officer
Thomas Jefferson University
Office of Environmental Health and Safety
Suite 1630-Edison Building
130 S. 9th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Dear Ms. Shaw:

This is in reply to your question whether alternatives to latex or vinyl may be used for protective gloves to comply with the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens standard, 29 CFR 1910.1030. The standard specifies that appropriate gloves are to be used; it does not specify the usage of latex or vinyl gloves. The OSHA enforcement directive, [CPL 2-2.69], references latex and vinyl materials on page [39]. We do not intend this to prohibit other materials from being used. Other materials may be used if the alternative materials will provide adequate protection against bloodborne pathogens. The glove manufacturer should be able toprovide the required information concerning the acceptability of the glove material for protection against transmission of bloodborne pathogens.

Thus, usage of gloves made from other materials such as thermoplastic elastomers would be acceptable to meet 29 CFR 1910.1030 if the gloves provide appropriate protection for the situation in which the gloves are used. The studies that you provided from the manufacturer would be acceptable to OSHA.

Please contact this office if we may be of further assistance.


Assistant Regional Administrator

[Corrected 10/29/02]