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, DC 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.