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Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1910.1030

February 21, 1995

MEMORANDUM FOR: ALL REGIONAL ADMINISTRATORS

ATTENTION:      BLOODBORNE COORDINATORS

FROM:           JOHN B. MILES, JR., DIRECTOR DIRECTOR OF COMPLIANCE
               PROGRAMS

SUBJECT:        Reusable Sharps Containers
The purpose of this memorandum is to provide a reminder to the field concerning OSHA's policy on the proper handling of reusable sharps containers. Reusable sharps containers are an acceptable alternative to disposable containers and are permitted if the risk to servicing employees is eliminated.

The Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens Standard contains a provision under the housekeeping requirements in paragraph (d)(4) that states in part that reusable containers shall not be opened, emptied, or cleaned manually. Compliance with this provision can be accomplished if the reusable containers are designed to be opened, emptied and cleaned using a fully automated system, and if such procedures are actually accomplished with that automated system in a manner which does not expose employees to the risk of percutaneous injury.

During inspections conducted in facilities where reusable sharps containers are handled, CSHOs are reminded to ensure that the facility is in compliance with the Bloodborne Pathogens standard as well as other applicable standards such as the Lockout-Tagout standard.

Should you have any questions concerning this matter, please contact Wanda Bissell of the Office of Health Compliance Assistance at (202) 219-8036.


Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents

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