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Unified Agenda - Table of Contents


Priority: Other Significant

Legal Authority: 29 USC 655(b); 29 USC 657; PL 106-430, Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act

CFR Citation: 29 CFR 1910.1030

Legal Deadline: None

Abstract: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has revised the Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP) standard in conformance with the requirements of the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act. This Act directed OSHA to revise the Bloodborne Pathogens standard to include new examples in the definition of engineering controls along with two new definitions; to require that Exposure Control Plans reflect how employers implement new developments in control technology; to require employers to solicit input from employees responsible for direct patient care in the identification, evaluation, and selection of engineering and work practice controls; and to require certain employers to establish and maintain a log of percutaneous injuries from contaminated sharps.

Blood and other potential infectious materials have long been recognized as a potential threat to the health of employees who are exposed to these materials by percutaneous contact (penetration of the skin). Injuries from contaminated needles and other sharps have been associated with an increased risk of disease from more than 20 infectious agents. The primary agents of concern in current occupational settings are the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus, and hepatitis C virus (HCV).

Needlesticks and other percutaneous injuries resulting in exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials continue to be of concern due to the high frequency of their occurrence and the severity of the health effects associated with exposure. The centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that healthcare workers in hospital settings sustain 384,325 percutaneous injuries involving contaminated sharps annually. When non-hospital healthcare workers are included, the best estimate of the number of percutaneous injuries involving contaminated sharps is 590,164 per year.

Since publication of the BBP standard, a wide variety of medical devices have been developed to reduce the risk of needlesticks and other sharps injuries. These "safer medical devices" replace sharps with non-needle devices or incorporate safety features designed to reduce the likelihood of injury.

Congress was prompted to take action in response to growing concern over bloodborne pathogen exposures from sharps injuries and in response to recent technological developments that increase employee protection. On November 6, 2000, the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act (PL 106-430) was signed into law. The Act directed OSHA to revise the BBP standard in accordance with specific language included in the Act. On January 18, 2001, OSHA published the final rule (66 FR 5318).


Action Date FR Cite

Final Rule
Final Rule Effective
66 FR 5317

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No

Government Levels Affected: None

Agency Contact: Marthe B. Kent, Acting Director, Directorate of Health Standards Programs, Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Room N3718, 200 Constitution Avenue NW, FP Building, Washington, DC 20210
Phone: 202 693-1950
Fax: 202 693-1678

RIN: 1218-AB85

Unified Agenda - Table of Contents

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