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1860. OCCUPATIONAL EXPOSURE TO TUBERCULOSIS
Priority: Economically Significant. Major under 5 USC 801.
Legal Authority: 29 USC 655(b)
CFR Citation: 29 CFR 1910.1035
Legal Deadline: None
Abstract: In 1993, the Labor Coalition to Fight TB in the Workplace petitioned the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to develop an occupational health standard to protect workers who care for or oversee patients or others with active tuberculosis (TB) against the transmission of TB. After reviewing the available information, OSHA preliminarily concluded that a significant risk of occupational transmission of TB exists for some workers in some work settings and began rulemaking on a proposed standard. Examples of workers at risk of contracting TB as a result of their work are health care workers, detention facility personnel, and homeless shelter employees. On October 17, 1997, OSHA published its proposed standard for occupational exposure to TB (62 FR 54160). The proposed standard would require employers to protect TB-exposed workers using infection control measures that have been shown to be highly effective in reducing or eliminating work-related TB infections. Such measures include procedures for the early identification of individuals with infectious TB, isolation of individuals with infectious TB using appropriate ventilation, use of respiratory protection in certain situations, and skin testing and training of employees.
After the close of the written comment period for the proposed standard, informal public hearings were held in Washington, DC, Los Angeles, CA, New York City, NY, and Chicago, IL. The post-hearing comment period closed on October 5, 1998. On June 17, 1999, OSHA reopened the rulemaking record for 90 days to submit the Agency's report on homeless shelters and certain other documents that became available to the Agency after the close of the post-hearing comment period. During this limited reopening of the rulemaking record, OSHA also requested interested parties to submit comments and data on the Agency's preliminary risk assessment in order to obtain the best, most recent data for providing the most accurate estimates of the occupational risk of tuberculosis.
At the request of Congress, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences (IOM) conducted a study of OSHA's proposal and the need for a TB standard. That study was completed in January 2001, and concluded that OSHA should move forward with a standard modeled after the CDC guidelines and tailored to the extent of TB risk present in the community. The IOM study concluded that an OSHA standard was needed to maintain national TB rates among health care and other employees at their current levels and to prevent future outbreaks of multidrug resistant and other forms of TB among these workers. OSHA has reopened the record to obtain comment on the IOM study, the draft final risk assessment and the peer reviewers' comment on the risk assessment. OSHA will make a decision on what action to take in November 2002.
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes
Small Entities Affected: Businesses, Governmental Jurisdictions, Organizations
Government Levels Affected: State, Local, Tribal, Federal
Federalism: This action may have federalism implications as defined in EO 13132.
Agency Contact: Steven F. Witt, Director, Directorate of Standards and Guidance, Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Room N3605, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210
Phone: 202 693-2222
Fax: 202 693-1663
Unified Agenda - Table of Contents|