OSHA

 

 

 

 


What OSHA says about contact with blood spills.

Employers can avoid the legal liabilities associated with violation of the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Rules and State Health and Safety Code. OSHA requires that a company Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure Control Plan be in place if ONE employee can reasonably be expected to be exposed ONCE PER YEAR. Federal Regulation 29CFRI910.1030 states that no employee can be placed in a position to be exposed to blood spills without first:

  1. Receiving bloodborne pathogen (BBP) training.
  2. Having a written BBP exposure control plan.
  3. Having been provided appropriate personal protective equipment.
  4. Having been offered the Hepatitis B vaccine with exposure evaluation and medical follow-up.
  5. Being provided with a method to remove and properly store the bio-hazardous waste in properly marked  containers for disposal at an approved site.
     

Only after these five steps have been met can an employee be required by his or her employer to clean a biohazardous / crime scene. The costs of meeting these requirements can become very high especially if there is a high employee turnover rate.

The penalties imposed by government agencies will be almost certainly dwarfed by the costs of any lawsuit filed by the aggrieved employee or tenant. OSHA is very strict and responds rapidly to reported violations. OSHA has imposed fines ranging from $7,000 to $70,000 for serious and willful violations of the Bloodborne Pathogen Training Standard. If the employee has been exposed or injured during the attempted cleanup of bloodborne pathogens, the employer is responsible for:

  1. Medical follow-up (required initial exposure testing and examination, three additional follow-up procedures) Average cost for these medical visits is now about $1,600.
  2. Reporting the violation and the remedy efforts to various Federal and State Agencies.
  3. Maintenance of records for duration of employee's employment plus 30 years.
  4. Costs of lost production or replacement worker during testing periods.

If the collected body fluids/tissues are not properly destroyed, the Texas Administrative Code has provisions for the imposition of fines and imprisonment for improper storage and disposal of infectious or physically dangerous medical or biological waste.