Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents|
| Standard Number:||1910.1030; 1910.1030(d)(2)(v); 1910.1030(d)(2)(vi)|
|This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any situation not delineated within the original correspondence.|
The new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) "Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Health-Care Settings" (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, October25, 2002) supports the use of alcohol-based hand rubs as an effective means for decontaminating hands in healthcare settings. Is this consistent with the requirements for handwashing established in OSHA's bloodborne pathogens standard?Many of CDC's hand hygiene guidelines are for infection control and patient safety, which OSHA standards do not specifically address. However, we feel that these guidelines which do address occupational exposures to blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) are consistent with OSHA's bloodborne pathogens standard. In paragraph (d)(2) of OSHA's standard, the section that most appropriately addresses "handwashing" in the scenario that you describe, the following is stated:
(v) Employers shall ensure that employees wash their hands immediately or as soon as feasible after removal of gloves or other personal protective equipment. (vi) Employers shall ensure that employees wash hands and any other skin with soap and water, or flush mucous membranes with water immediately or as soon as feasible following contact of such body areas with blood or other potentially infectious materials.OSHA interprets this to mean that when an employee is removing gloves and has had contact, meaning occupational exposure to blood or blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM), hands must be washed with an appropriate soap and running water. If a sink is not readily accessible (e.g., in the field) for instances where there has been occupational exposure, hands may be decontaminated with a hand cleanser or towelette, but must be washed with soap and running water as soon as feasible. If there has been no occupational exposure to blood or OPIM, antiseptic hand cleansers may be used as an appropriate "handwashing" practice.
|Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents|