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.

April 10, 2017

 

Mr. Aaron C. Lee
74 Main Street
Unit B2
Windsor Locks, Connecticut 06096

 

Dear Mr. Lee,

Thank you for your letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Your letter was forwarded to the Directorate of Enforcement Programs for an answer to your question regarding OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP) standard, 29 CFR 1910.1030. You requested clarification of the application of the BBP standard’s requirement for employees providing first aid. This letter constitutes OSHA’s interpretation only of the requirements and may not be applicable to any question not delineated within your original correspondence. Your situation is summarized below, and your paraphrased question is followed by our response.

Background: Your letter stated that advanced first aid training is provided to approximately 80 security guards (contracted and in-house employed) at your facility. You noted that “…security officers are mandated to respond to medical calls and mandated to provide aid, therefore they have reasonable anticipation of exposure to blood and/or other body fluids in the course of their normal job duties…” Enclosed with your letter was a portion of an internal e-mail, which stated “that first aid providers whose primary job is NOT first aid administration WILL NOT have to be offered a pre-exposure hepatitis B vaccine as required under the standard unless these secondary first aid responders are exposed to hepatitis B on the job.” Additionally, the e-mail stated “…it is not necessary to provide ‘pre-exposure’ vaccinations to be in [OSHA] compliance, as long as the caveats below are met.” The e-mail paraphrases portions of paragraph XIII.F.8 of the OSHA compliance directive, Enforcement Procedures for the Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens Standard (CPL 02-02-069, 11/27/2001).  

Question: Are we required to provide BBP training and pre-exposure hepatitis B vaccine options to security officers who are mandated to respond to render first aid, or do they meet the conditions as described in section XIII.F.8 in the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens compliance directive?

Response: OSHA’s policy exception to the requirement of offering pre-exposure hepatitis B vaccinations for workers who may provide first aid as a collateral duty, does not apply to “…public safety personnel who are expected to render first aid in the course of their work.” CPL 02-02-069, paragraph XIII.F.8b. Security guards are public safety personnel and thus must be offered the pre-exposure hepatitis B vaccinations.

That being said, you must develop and implement all of the requirements and protections specified in the BBP standard for your in-house security guards. In addition, you have a joint responsibility with the staffing agency for providing these protections to the contracted security guards. At a minimum, you would be obligated to provide site-specific BBP training, and take reasonable measures to ensure that the staffing agency complies with the other provisions of the BBP standard for their workers. The responsibility for providing the other protections of the BBP standard should be specified through contractual agreements between you and the staffing agency, (e.g., who is responsible for providing generic BBP training, offering the hepatitis B vaccinations, as well as post-exposure evaluation and follow-up, and recordkeeping). See OSHA’s publication entitled Temporary Worker Initiative (TWI) Bulletin No. 6- Bloodborne Pathogens, for additional guidance for protecting temporary workers, at www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3888.pdf.

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. OSHA’s requirements are set by statute, standards, and regulations. Our interpretation letters do not create new or additional requirements but rather explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. From time to time, letters are affected when the agency updates a standard, a legal decision impacts a standard, or changes in technology affect the interpretation. To assure that you are using the correct information and guidance please consult OSHA’s website at www.osha.gov.  If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Office of Health Enforcement at 202-693-2100.

Sincerely,


 

Thomas Galassi, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs