Trade News Release
Monday, June 28, 1999
Contact: Bill Wright
PHONE :(202) 693-1999
Focus aims at agency's preliminary risk assessment
OSHA REQUESTS ADDITIONAL COMMENTS ON TUBERCULOSIS RULEMAKING RECORD
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is seeking additional comments on the tuberculosis (TB) rulemaking record, specifically focusing on issues related to the preliminary risk assessment for occupational exposure to the disease.
OSHA reopened the TB record on June 17, requesting public comments on homeless shelter settings, medical waste facilities and other occupational exposures. OSHA is now asking for comment on new studies or data that will assist the agency in determining occupational risk to TB.
OSHA first published a proposed standard to control occupational exposure to tuberculosis on Oct. 17, 1997. The agency determined that the standard will help protect an estimated 5.3 million workers in more than 100,000 hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and other work settings with a significant risk
of TB infection.
While OSHA's risk assessment methodology received little challenge during the comment period and public hearings last year, some people objected to the agency's use of studies showing increased risk to workers in both hospitals and long-term care facilities for the elderly. Several people suggested that OSHA's estimates of the risk of TB infection, and subsequent deaths for health care workers, were too high. Accordingly, the agency is now soliciting more recent studies or other data, and comment on why those studies or data should be used to determine occupational risk to the disease.
Finally, the agency is particularly interested in receiving studies that will provide estimates of TB infection rates for workers in hospitals, long-term care facilities, in-home health care operations, homeless shelters, and correctional facilities.
Interested parties should send two copies of comments, postmarked not later than Aug. 2, 1999, to: Docket Office, Docket H-371, Room N-2625, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20210. Comments of 10 pages or fewer may be faxed to (202) 693-1648.
Comments may also be submitted electronically through OSHA's web site at the following address: http://www.osha-slc.gov/e-comments/e-comments-tb2.html. Information such as studies and journal articles cannot be attached to electronic submissions and must be submitted in duplicate to the above address. The attachments must clearly identify the respondent's electronic submission by name, date and subject.
The entire TB rulemaking record is available for review and copying at OSHA's Docket Office at the address above. The Docket Office phone number is (202) 693-2350.
The notice soliciting comment on preliminary risk assessment is published in the June 28, 1999 Federal Register. Notice of the rulemaking's reopening was published in the June 17, 1999 Federal Register.
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This news release text is on the Internet World Wide Web at http://www.osha.gov. Information on this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 693-1999.