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OSHA Reopens Tuberculosis Rulemaking Record

WASHINGTON -- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration opened for 60 days the tuberculosis (TB) rulemaking record to give interested persons the opportunity to review and comment on the agency's final risk assessment and the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) report "Tuberculosis in the Workplace."

OSHA last reopened the TB record during June 1999 seeking comment on new studies or data that would assist the agency in determining the occupational risk of TB exposure. The agency asked two experts in the fields of TB epidemiology and risk assessment to review the draft risk assessment. Dr. Richard Menzies, Professor and Director of the Respiratory Epidemiology Unit at McGill University in Montreal, and Dr. Mark Nicas, Professor at the University of California Berkeley, and a certified industrial hygienist, have concluded their review. Their evaluation is also available for comment.

The Institute of Medicine - the health policy arm of the National Academy of Sciences -- was asked by Congress to prepare a report about the occupational risks of TB to health care workers. IOM's report includes addressing questions related to the implementation of TB guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the potential effectiveness of an OSHA standard to protect these workers.

Persons wishing to comment should send two copies of comments, postmarked not later than March 25, 2002 to: Docket Office, Docket H-371, Room N-2625, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20210. Comments of 10 pages or fewer may be faxed to (202) 693-1648. (If faxed, the original and one copy of all comments must be sent to the Docket Office as soon as possible).

Comments may also be submitted electronically to http://ecomments.osha.gov. Information such as studies and journal articles cannot be attached to electronic submissions and must be submitted in duplicate to the above mailing address. 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 -- (202) 693-2350.

OSHA first published a proposed standard on Oct. 17, 1997 to control occupational exposure to tuberculosis. The agency preliminarily 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.

Quick Rinse - News From Around The World

Nursing Home Fire

GAINESVILLE, Ga. — Flames that began in a nursing home laundry dryer drew firefighters to the location. The fire was contained to the laundry room of the New Horizons Nursing Home and residents were not evacuated.