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 29, 1999

Mr. Bruce Cunha, RN, MS, COHN-s
Director of Employee Health and Safety
Marshfield Clinic
Marshfield, WI 54449

Dear Mr. Cunha:

We apologize for the delay in our response to your letter of June 23, 1999 which was forwarded to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) Office of Health Compliance Assistance (OHCA) by the Chicago Regional Office. You requested a clarification regarding the standard 29 CFR 1910.1030, "Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens."

The bloodborne pathogen standard requires that an employer provide the vaccination series and post exposure follow-up procedures to an employee in the event of an exposure. You asked for an interpretation of "who is responsible for the follow-up when an employee of one facility has a blood exposure in another facility." As described in your scenario, the physicians are the employees, the Clinic is the employer and the Hospital is a host employer. The employer, in this case the Clinic, would be responsible for providing follow-up procedures at no cost to the employee.

Contractual agreements between the employees and the host employer, such as you have described, are not part of OSHA's jurisdiction. OSHA's requirement simply states that it is the employer's (the Clinic's) duty to ensure that follow-up procedures are accomplished. The employer (the Clinic) would be subject to citation if follow-up procedures were not provided.

You also asked if the Hospital, who will do all the testing, acting as a healthcare professional, must abide by §1910.1030(f)(5) and provide the Clinic with the information as described in paragraph (f)(5). As stated in the standard, the employer (the Clinic) must obtain a written opinion from the healthcare professional (the Hospital) and provide it to the employee within 15 working days. The employer (the Clinic) is allowed access specifically to the healthcare professional's written opinion in order to comply with this paragraph of the standard.

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. Please feel free to contact the Office of Health Compliance Assistance at (202) 693-2190, should you require further assistance.


Richard E. Fairfax, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs