Powered by GoogleTranslate

Alert: Due to routine maintenance on the OSHA website, some pages are temporarily unavailable.
To file a complaint with OSHA or to ask a safety and health question, call 1-800-321-6742 (OSHA).

Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1910.1030

August 25, 1992

The Honorable J. James Exon
United States Senator
287 Federal Building
100 Centennial Mall
North Lincoln, Nebraska 68508

Dear Senator Exon:

This is in further response to your letter of June 23, on behalf of your constituent, Dr. Robert McKeeman, in which you requested information on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulation 29 CFR 1910.1030, "Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens."

With respect to Dr. McKeeman's first question regarding OSHA requirements to prohibit all eating and drinking in the waiting room, we can clarify for him that OSHA's jurisdiction covers only employees of an establishment, not patients or clients. Paragraph (d)(2)(ix) of this regulation prohibits the consumption of food and drink by employees in areas of the establishment in which work involving exposure or potential exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) occurs, or where the potential for contamination of work surfaces exists.

OSHA, therefore, does not require that a doctor prohibit patients from eating or drinking, or mothers from feeding hungry babies, in the waiting room. Further, assuming that under the specific conditions in a given establishment it is not reasonably anticipated that a waiting patient could contaminate cups or other serving utensils which the employees would handle, serving those patients coffee would likewise not be prohibited.

Regarding Dr. McKeeman's concern that OSHA's compliance officers "... have to generate enough fines to pay for their wages, and for the expenses of the department ...," OSHA is funded through the normal governmental budgetary process, not through generation of fines. Section 17(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 states, "... Civil penalties owed under this Act shall be paid to the Secretary for deposit into the Treasury of the United States and shall accrue to the United States ...."

We hope this information is responsive to your concerns.


Patricia K. Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs

Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents

Thank You for Visiting Our Website

You are exiting the Department of Labor's Web server.

The Department of Labor does not endorse, takes no responsibility for, and exercises no control over the linked organization or its views, or contents, nor does it vouch for the accuracy or accessibility of the information contained on the destination server. The Department of Labor also cannot authorize the use of copyrighted materials contained in linked Web sites. Users must request such authorization from the sponsor of the linked Web site. Thank you for visiting our site. Please click the button below to continue.