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May 21, 2010
U.S. Department of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Office of Communications
Washington, D.C.
www.osha.gov
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999

OSHA bloodborne review looks at
standard's value in protecting workers

WASHINGTON - Healthcare and emergency personnel are workers regularly at risk of contracting diseases from exposures to bloodborne pathogens including hepatitis B and C and the human immunodeficiency viruses. OSHA issued a Bloodborne Pathogens standard in 1991 to protect healthcare workers from exposure to potentially infectious blood. The agency is now conducting a review to determine the standard's effectiveness.

OSHA is conducting this review in accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act. Part of the review involves evaluating public comments to determine whether the standard causes a burden to small businesses and industry in general, and if the costs for putting the standard into practice are necessary for protecting workers' health. OSHA also considers if the standard conflicts with other federal, state and local government rules, and whether advancements in technology and economic conditions have changed the risks of exposure to bloodborne pathogens. These factors will help the agency decide if the rule should change or remain the same.

Comments may be submitted electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, the Federal eRulemaking Portal. If submitting comments by mail, hand delivery or courier service, send to OSHA Docket Office, Docket No. OSHA-2007-0080, U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-2625, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210. Submissions of 10 pages or less may be faxed to 202-693-1648. Comments must be postmarked by August 12, 2010.

For more information on other bloodborne pathogens standards, visit OSHA's Safety and Health Topics page on Bloodborne Pathogens and Needlestick Prevention.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit http://www.dol.gov/compliance.


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