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OSHA: Compliance Directive For Bloodborne Pathogens Standard Updated

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a new compliance directive for enforcing the bloodborne pathogens standard. The compliance directive guides OSHA's safety and health inspection officers in enforcing the standard that covers occupational exposure to blood and other potentially infectious materials and ensures consistent inspection procedures are followed.

It updates an earlier directive issued in 1999 and incorporates changes mandated by the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act passed in November 2000.

The directive implements changes made to the standard that focus on the requirement that employers select safer needle devices as they become available and involve employees in identifying and choosing those devices. The standard now also requires most employers to maintain a log of injuries from contaminated sharps.

The directive highlights the major new requirements of the standard including: (1) evaluation and implementation of safer needle devices as part of the re-evaluation of appropriate engineering controls during an employer's annual exposure control plan; (2) documentation of the involvement of non-managerial, frontline employees in choosing safer devices; and (3) establishment and maintenance of a sharps injury log for recording injuries from contaminated sharps.

Compliance officers are reminded that no one safer medical device is appropriate for all situations; employers must consider and implement devices that are appropriate, commercially available and effective. The directive also includes detailed instructions on inspections of multi-employer worksites, including employment agencies, personnel services, home health services, physicians and healthcare professionals in independent practices, and independent contractors.

Also included in the directive are engineering control evaluation forms, a web site resource list, a model exposure control plan which incorporates the most current guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control regarding management of occupational exposure to the hepatitis B and C viruses, and the HIV virus.

The directive can be accessed from the OSHA website at http://www.osha-slc.gov/OshDoc/Directive_data/CPL_2-2_69.html.

Quick Rinse - News From Around The World

A Gruesome Laundry Surprise

PHOENIX, Ariz. — A body in a bin was discovered by employees at a Sodexo commercial laundry facility. The body arrived on a delivery truck from medical facilities in Tucson. Team members who were unloading the bins first noticed blood on the sheets then discovered the body in one of the bins. The man, a transient, had previously slept in the laundry-bag area near the Tucson medical facility. It is believed that the man either died from a medical condition or was suffocated by the plastic bags. The body showed no signs of trauma or foul play.