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• Publication Date: 06/28/1999
• Publication Type: Notice
• Fed Register #: 64:34625-34626
• Standard Number: 1910; 1911
• Title: Occupational Exposure to Tuberculosis.


DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

29 CFR Part 1910

[Docket No. H-371]

RIN 1218-AB46

Occupational Exposure to Tuberculosis

AGENCY: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Department of Labor.

ACTION: Notice of limited reopening of rulemaking record on preliminary risk assessment.

SUMMARY: On October 17, 1997, OSHA published its proposed standard to regulate occupational exposure to tuberculosis (TB) (62 FR 54160). Public hearings on the proposal were held in Washington, DC, Los Angeles, CA, New York City, NY, and Chicago, IL between April 7 and June 4, 1998. The post-hearing comment period closed on October 5, 1998. OSHA re-opened the rulemaking record on June 17, 1999 (64 FR 32447) to submit to the record the Agency's report on practices to protect workers from TB in homeless shelter settings and several other studies that had become available after the close of the rulemaking record and to request comments on these studies. In addition to the information requested in the record re-opening published on June 17, 1999, OSHA now requests additional comment and information on issues related to the Agency's preliminary risk assessment for occupational exposure to tuberculosis.

DATES: Comments and data from interested parties should be postmarked no later than August 2, 1999.

ADDRESSES: Send two copies of your comments to: Docket Office, Docket H-371, Room N2625, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20210. Comments limited to 10 pages or fewer may also be transmitted by FAX to: 202-693-1648, provided that the original and one copy of the comment are sent to the Docket Office immediately thereafter.

Comments may also be submitted electronically through OSHA's Internet site at URL, http://ecomments.osha.gov. Information such as studies and journal articles cannot be attached to electronic submissions and must be submitted in duplicate to the above address. Such attachments must clearly identify the respondent's electronic submission by name, date, and subject, so that they can be attached to the correct submission.

The entire record for the TB rulemaking is available for inspection and copying in the Docket Office, Docket H-371, telephone 202-693-2350.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Bonnie Friedman, Office of Information and Consumer Affairs, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Room N-3647, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20210, Telephone (202) 693-1999, FAX (202) 693-1634.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

On October 17, 1997, OSHA published its proposed standard for occupational exposure to TB (62 FR 54160). Based on a review of the data, OSHA made a preliminary determination that workers in hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and certain other work settings are at significant risk of incurring TB infection while performing certain procedures or caring for their patients and clients. OSHA proposed a standard that would require employers to protect TB-exposed workers by means of infection prevention and control measures that have been demonstrated to be highly effective in reducing or eliminating job-related TB infections.

During the comment period and the public hearing, several commenters suggested that OSHA's estimates of the risk of TB infection, activation to TB disease, and subsequent deaths for health care workers were too high. Although OSHA's risk assessment methodology received little challenge, some commenters objected to OSHA's use of studies showing increased risk to workers in both hospitals and long-term care facilities for the elderly.

Request for Comments

In order to obtain the best, most recent data for the purpose of providing the most accurate risk estimates, OSHA requests public comment on any new data or studies that will assist the Agency in determining occupational risk and the reasons why a particular study or set of data should be used. OSHA especially wishes to obtain studies that could provide estimates of TB infection rates for workers in hospitals, long-term care facilities, in-home health care operations, homeless shelters, and correctional facilities.

This document was prepared under the direction of Charles N. Jeffress, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20210.

It is issued under section 6(b) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 655), Secretary of Labor's Order No. 1-90 (55 FR 9033) and 29 CFR part 1911.

Signed at Washington, DC, this 22nd day of June, 1999.

Charles N. Jeffress,
Assistant Secretary of Labor.


[FR Doc. 99-16291 Filed 6-25-99; 8:45 am]

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