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OSHA Extends Period For Comments On Tuberculosis Rulemaking Record

WASHINGTON -- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced that it is extending until May 24, 2002, the period for comments on the tuberculosis (TB) rulemaking record. OSHA first published a proposed TB 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.

OSHA reopened the TB record on January 24 for 60 days 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." Also included in the record was an evaluation of the agency's draft risk assessment conducted by two experts in the fields of TB epidemiology and risk assessment.

"Risk assessment, as well as the other issues addressed in the reopening of the record, are critical as we determine the next appropriate steps for OSHA," said OSHA Administrator John L. Henshaw. "By extending the comment period, organizations and individuals will have the appropriate amount of time to submit comments on this complex issue."

Persons wishing to comment should send two copies of comments, postmarked not later than May 24, 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 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, including the peer reviewers' reports, OSHA's draft final risk assessment and the IOM report, is available for review and copying at OSHA's Docket Office -- (202) 693-2350.

Quick Rinse - News From Around The World

Fire in Jail Laundry

DURHAM, N.C. — A fire in the laundry room at a County Jail in Durham damaged goods but required no evacuation. The fire, which originated in a dryer, damaged hundreds of uniforms. In addition to the lost goods, the jail’s laundry sustained water and smoke damage. The fire was extinguished by the sprinkler system that had been activated.