Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1910.1030; 1910.1030(d)(2)(i); 1910.1030(d)(3)(x)


January 29, 2007

Ms. Linda King, MSOH, MT(ASCP)SC
Quality Assurance Analyst/Safety Officer
Mercy Integrated Laboratories
2222 Cherry Street
Toledo, Ohio 43608

Dear Ms. King:

Thank you for your May 19, 2006, letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Your letter was forwarded to OSHA's Directorate of Enforcement Programs (DEP). This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any question(s) or scenarios not delineated within your original correspondence.

Scenario: It is our understanding that the use of Becton Dickinson's (BD's) blood collection tubes with Hemogard® closure meets the OSHA requirement of preventing exposure to employees, and employees utilizing them do not need to wear a face shield or use a countertop shield when removing the caps from blood tubes which have the Hemogard® closure. BD makes the claim that Hemogard® closures prevent spatter, unlike the conventional rubber caps which have a tendency to spatter the blood when being removed.

Question: Is shielding required during cap removal from BD blood tubes with a Hemogard® closure?

Reply: Blood tubes with Hemogard® closure have been designed to minimize spatter during the removal of blood tube caps. The manufacturers of blood tubes with Hemogard® closure provide specific instructions on the proper technique required to ensure that the device functions as intended. It is important to keep in mind that the effectiveness of an engineering device is often dependent upon the user. Additionally, compliance with the bloodborne pathogens standard requires, among other things, the use of engineering controls and appropriate work practices for preventing exposure to blood or OPIM [29 CFR 1910.1030(d)(2)(i)].

As you may know, the use of eye or face protection would be based on the reasonable anticipation of facial exposure. Masks, in combination with eye protection devices such as glasses with solid side shields, goggles, or chin-length face shields, must be worn whenever splashes, spray, spatter, or droplets of blood or other potentially-infectious materials (OPIM) may be generated, and eye, nose, or mouth contamination can be reasonably anticipated [29 CFR 1910.1030(d)(3)(x)]. Employers are responsible for evaluating the need for personal protective equipment. If the evaluation shows that spattering is not occurring, then the use of a shield would not be required, provided that all employees handling the blood tubes are trained in the proper removal of the Hemogard® closures and supervisors are ensuring that the proper technique continues to be used whenever the closures are removed.

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. 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. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Office of General Industry Enforcement at (202) 693-1850.

Sincerely,



Richard E. Fairfax
Directorate of Enforcement Programs


Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents