Friday, December 20, 2013

Spray finishing and eye washes.

Dear Mr. H***:

Thank you for your February 25, 2004 letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) Directorate of Enforcement Programs. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any questions not delineated within your original correspondence. You had specific questions regarding spray finishing operations and the application of OSHA regulations concerning emergency eyewash and shower facilities. Your paraphrased inquiries and our responses follow.

Question: We are installing a spray booth in our facility for use with lacquer and contact adhesive. A local building inspector indicated that we are required to have a shower and eyewash station in the vicinity of the spray operation. Do OSHA regulations require a shower and eyewash station, and if so, what are the design and use specifications for the shower and eyewash station?

Response: The OSHA regulations for spray finishing operations using flammable and combustible materials can be found at 29 CFR 1910.107. While this standard contains a number of provisions relevant to the operation that you have described, it does not require an emergency eyewash or shower in the vicinity of spray finishing operations using flammable and combustible materials. The OSHA requirements for emergency eyewashes and showers, found at 29 CFR 1910.151(c), specify that "where the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials, suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body shall be provided within the work area for immediate emergency use." As the standard states, an eyewash and/or safety shower would be required where an employee's eyes or body could be exposed to injurious corrosive materials. If none of the materials used in this work area is an injurious corrosive (as indicated by the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for each product), then an emergency eyewash or shower would not be required pursuant to 1910.151(c).

While not having the force of a regulation under the OSH Act, the current ANSI standard addressing emergency eyewash and shower equipment (ANSI Z358.1-2004) provides for eyewash and shower equipment in appropriate situations when employees are exposed to hazardous materials. ANSI's definition of "hazardous material" would include caustics, as well as additional substances and compounds that have the capability of producing adverse effects on the health and safety of humans. ANSI's standard also provides detail with respect to the location, installation, nature, and maintenance of eyewash and shower equipment. You also may wish to consult additional recognized references such as W. Morton Grant's Toxicology of the Eye (Charles C Thomas Pub. Ltd., 4th edition, August 1993) when considering potential chemical exposures to the eye and the appropriateness of installing eyewash facilities to protect employees against hazards associated with particular chemicals and substances.

From your letter, we cannot ascertain the basis for the building inspector's conclusion that a shower and eyewash station are required in the vicinity of your spraying operation. Please be aware that, while OSHA may not have promulgated a standard that mandates eyewash or shower equipment for the particular substances that your company will use in the spray booth facility, Illinois state laws or municipal codes may create independent requirements for employers who use such substances in the workplace.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Limitations of eyewashes, product review

April 18, 1997

Mr. Kurt L. Christensen
President/CEO
American Health & Safety
Post Office Box 46340
6250 Nesbitt Road
Madison, Wisconsin 53744-6340

Dear Mr. Christensen:

This is in response to your letter of March 5, expressing concern for the lack of public awareness of the limitations of eyewashes and requesting a review of your new product, The Eye Irrigator(TM).

Please be advised that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not approve or endorse products. The variable working conditions at worksites and possible alterations or misapplication of an otherwise safe product could easily create a hazardous condition beyond the control of the manufacturer.

OSHA would prefer that employees' eyes be protected from injury by wearing the proper personal protective equipment when handling chemicals. The eyewash/facewash station in the workplace is the fallback method of reducing injury caused by chemical splashes that do occur to the eyes. When properly installed, the eyewash is immediately available and can be easily self-administered. The facewash provides additional benefit by washing the area around the eyes where additional chemical has usually splashed. Despite the limitations, this is the minimum that OSHA expects for treatment from the employer.

Employees suffering from chemical eye injuries, or any other serious injuries, should be referred to a healthcare professional. The professional should use his/her own judgment to make the determination of whether further treatment is required. The extent of incomplete first aid follow-through is unknown, but whenever chemicals and the eyes are involved, we hope the first responder and the emergency room are consciously evaluating the need for further irrigation. The literature that you enclosed with your product does indicate that The Eye Irrigator could provide improved irrigation of the eye especially inside the upper eyelid. However, its intrusive nature also indicates it would be best placed in the hands of such a healthcare individual or a trained first responder (EMT).

We thank you for your concern about employee safety and their potential loss of eyesight.

Sincerely,



Stephen Mallinger, Acting Director
Office of Health Compliance Assistance

March 5, 1997

Mr. Steve Malinger, Activity Director
Office Compliance
US Department of Labor/OSHA
Francis Perkins Bldg
200 Constitution Ave NW, Rm N-3467
Washington, DC 20210

Dear Mr. Malinger,

On my recent visit to Washington DC, I had the opportunity to meet with Marthe Kent, who suggested I contact you regarding an exciting new method of eye irrigation. As a member, of the ISEA, (Industrial Safety Equipment Association), I recently joined the Committee which created the new pending Emergency Eye Wash Standard. My first meeting was on the day they were finalizing the new standard and they were not receptive to including any addendum, which would include a new method of eye irrigation.

Every one of the manufacturers of eye wash units on this committee agreed that the Eye Irrigator(TM) was an excellent product and that it indeed did a better job of irrigating the eye. They acknowledged that it is extremely difficult for a victim to pry their eyes open over a standard eye wash unit and keep them open for fifteen minutes of flushing. They also agreed that it was virtually impossible to irrigate (with a standard eye wash) the upper inner eyelid, which is where most chemicals/particulates tend to be trapped.

With the new Eye Wash Standard, I'm concerned that many people will be lulled into thinking that a standard eye wash will do an adequate job of irrigating their eyes after a chemical splash. Indeed, the statistics from the Department of Labor indicate that many eye injuries result in blindness that might otherwise be prevented with a more thorough method of irrigation.

By using the Eye Irrigator, a First Responder is able to quickly, easily, and painlessly insert the Eye Irrigator(TM) even if the patient is squeezing their eyes shut in blepharospasm or bell reflex response...which usually occurs after a chemical or particulate is splashed into the eye. The irrigating loop also hydroplanes over the eye... thoroughly irrigating the upper inner eyelid, where again, chemicals/particulates tend to become trapped.

Other devices which would also do a more thorough job of irrigation would include the Morgan Lens and, of course, the old standby of rolling the eyelid back with a Q-Tip and irrigating with a bag of saline and irrigating tubing.

I'm enclosing for you a short eight minute video on the Eye Irrigator(TM) along with a non-sterile sample of the #2021, so you can get an idea of how it works. I've also enclosed literature and brochures for your better understanding.

I would greatly appreciate your assistance in increasing the awareness of these other methods of eye irrigation and the need for further action, above and beyond the first emergency response, which should, of course, still be an emergency eye wash unit. YOUR ACTION CAN DEFINITELY MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN SAVING EYES!

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Warm Regards,

Kurt L. Christensen
President/CEO

P.S. I've enclosed the language that we have asked the ISEA to include as an addendum to the new standard, which would include these other methods of irrigating by a First Responder. Experts agree and recommend that a secondary and supplementary irrigation be used after emergency eye wash and as soon as a trained Emergency Response person arrives on the scene. This addendum was written at the suggestion of Dr. Bernard Blais, who is a consultant to American Health & Safety on eye protection. Dr. Blais is also on the following committees...

    Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology, Albany Medical Center,
         Albany, New York
    Consultant to the Eye Safety and Sports Ophthalmology
         Committee of the American Academy of Ophthalmology
    Chairman of the Eye and Vision Committee, American College of
         Occupational and Environmental Medicine

encl.     2021 Eye Irrigator sample
           8 Minute Video
           Eye Irrigator
           Literature/Articles

Friday, November 8, 2013

Specific to the needs of the workplace?

February 2, 2007

Leanne D. C***
Palomar Mountain, CA 92060

Dear Ms. C***:

Your November 23, 2006 letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been referred to the Directorate of Enforcement Programs for response. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any question or scenario not delineated within your original correspondence. You asked if it was mandatory for all workplaces to provide a first aid kit.

Title 29 CFR 1910.151(b) states: "In the absence of an infirmary, clinic, or hospital in near proximity to the workplace which is used for treatment of all injured employees, a person or persons shall be adequately trained to render first aid. Adequate first aid supplies shall be readily available."

Employers may elect not to provide first aid services if all such services will be provided by a hospital, infirmary, or clinic in near proximity to the workplace. If the employer has persons who are trained in first aid, then adequate first aid supplies must be readily available for use. Therefore, employers are required to provide first aid supplies that are most appropriate to respond to incidents at their workplaces. OSHA allows employers to provide first aid supplies specific to the needs of their workplace.

Although we have provided our interpretation of the federal standard, twenty-six states, including California, operate their own OSHA-approved occupational safety and health programs.  These State-plan States adopt and enforce their own standards, which may have different requirements from the federal standards regarding medical services and supplies.  The California Department of Industrial Relations (Cal-OSHA) administers the state plan program. Cal-OSHA standards are accessible on the state's website —
http://www.dir.ca.gov/occupational_safety.html. If you would like more information about California workplace safety and health regulations, the address is as follows:
John Rea, Acting Director
California Department of Industrial Relations
1515 Clay Street, Suite 1901
Oakland, California 94612

(415) 703-5050
FAX (415) 703-5058

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

First Aid, CPR & BBP training at various workplaces

January 16, 2007

Front Royal, VA


Dear Mr. B***:

Thank you for your August 16, 2005, letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). We apologize for the delay in our response. You sent some questions regarding OSHA's standards on first aid, including CPR and bloodborne pathogens. This reply letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any question not detailed in your original correspondence. Your paraphrased questions and our replies are below.

Questions: You wrote that you teach first aid, including CPR, in the Winchester, VA, area. You have been asked by several employers what OSHA's standards are for first aid, including CPR and bloodborne pathogens. Your clients are employed at various workplaces, including, but not limited to, doctors' offices, construction companies, daycare facilities, and retirement homes. Does everyone have to be trained in first aid, including CPR and bloodborne pathogens? What if there is a career rescue squad within five miles of the workplace?

Replies: OSHA's standard for first aid training in general industry, 29 CFR 1910.151(b), provides:

In the absence of an infirmary, clinic, or hospital in near proximity to the workplace which is used for the treatment of all injured employees, a person or persons shall be adequately trained to render first aid. Adequate first aid supplies shall be readily available.
In the construction industry, 29 CFR 1926.50(c) provides:
In the absence of an infirmary clinic, hospital, or physician, that is reasonably accessible in terms of time and distance to the worksite, which is available for the treatment of injured employees, a person who has a valid certificate in first-aid training from the U.S. Bureau of Mines, the American Red Cross, or equivalent training that can be verified by documentary evidence, shall be available at the worksite to render first aid.
The primary requirement addressed by these standards is that an employer must ensure prompt first aid treatment for injured employees, either by providing for the availability of a trained first aid provider at the worksite, or by ensuring that emergency treatment services are within reasonable proximity of the worksite. The basic purpose of these standards is to assure that adequate first aid is available in the critical minutes between the occurrence of an injury and the availability of physician or hospital care for the injured employee.

One option these standards provide employers is to ensure that a member of the workforce has been trained in first aid. This option is, for most employers, a feasible and low-cost way to protect employees, as well putting the employer clearly in compliance with the standards. OSHA recommends, but does not require, that every workplace include one or more employees who are trained and certified in first aid, including CPR.

The other option for employers is to rely upon the reasonable proximity of an infirmary, clinic or hospital. OSHA has consistently taken the view that the reasonable availability of a trained emergency service provider, such as fire department paramedics or EMS responders, would be equivalent to the "infirmary, clinic, or hospital" specified by the literal wording of the standards. Emergency medical services can be provided either on-site or by evacuating the employee to an off-site facility in cases where that can be done safely.

However, the requirements that emergency medical services must be "reasonably accessible" or "in near proximity to the workplace" are stated only in general terms. An employer who contemplates relying on assistance from outside emergency responders as an alternative to providing a first-aid-trained employee must take a number of factors into account. The employer must take appropriate steps prior to any accident (such as making arrangements with the service provider) to ascertain that emergency medical assistance will be promptly available when an injury occurs. While the standards do not prescribe a number of minutes, OSHA has long interpreted the term "near proximity" to mean that emergency care must be available within no more than 3-4 minutes from the workplace, an interpretation that has been upheld by the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission and by federal courts.

Medical literature establishes that, for serious injuries such as those involving stopped breathing, cardiac arrest, or uncontrolled bleeding, first aid treatment must be provided within the first few minutes to avoid permanent medical impairment or death. Accordingly, in workplaces where serious accidents such as those involving falls, suffocation, electrocution, or amputation are possible, emergency medical services must be available within 3-4 minutes, if there is no employee on the site who is trained to render first aid. OSHA exercises discretion in enforcing the first aid requirements in particular cases. OSHA recognizes that a somewhat longer response time of up to 15 minutes may be reasonable in workplaces, such as offices, where the possibility of such serious work-related injuries is more remote.

The first aid training standards at 29 CFR 1910.151 and 1926.50(c) generally apply throughout the industries that they cover. Other standards which apply to certain specific hazards or industries make employee first aid training mandatory, and reliance on outside emergency responders is not an allowable alternative. For example, see 29 CFR 1910. 266(i)(7) (mandatory first aid training for logging employees), and 29 CFR 1910.269(b) (requiring persons trained in first aid at work locations in the electric power industry).

The bloodborne pathogens standard at 29 CFR 1910.1030(g)(2) requires employers to provide training to any employees who have occupational exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials, such as employees assigned medical or first aid duties by their employers. The standard at 29 CFR 1910.1030(b) defines "occupational exposure" as "reasonably anticipated skin, eye, mucous membrane, or parenteral contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials that may result from the performance of an employee's duties." If an employee is trained in first aid and identified by the employer as responsible for rendering medical assistance as part of his/her job duties, that employee is covered by the bloodborne pathogens standard.

You may find these standards on OSHA's website, http://www.osha.gov by following the link to "standards" and searching for "first aid," "bloodborne pathogens," "logging," etc. In addition, you may purchase a printing copy of the regulations by visiting www.osha29cfr.com

Friday, October 18, 2013

Interpretation of the First Aid Standard

December 11, 1996

Mr. Gregory M. F***,

This letter is a follow-up to the conversation that a member of my staff had with Ms. Karol Copper-Boggs, of your firm, regardingthe Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) interpretation of the First Aid standard, 29 CFR 1910.151.

Ms. Boggs explained to [my staff] that a client of your firm had some concerns regarding OSHA's interpretation of 29 CFR 1910.151. [The] recollection of the questions asked of [my staff] by Ms. Boggs is as follows:

Question 1: "Must an employer have individuals trained to render first aid?"

Answer: [No.] The OSHA requirement at 29 CFR 1910.151(b) states, "In the absence of an infirmary, clinic, or hospital in near proximity to the workplace which is used for the treatment of all injured employees, a person or persons shall be adequately trained to render first aid. [Adequate] [f]irst aid supplies approved by the consulting physician shall be readily available." [emphasis added]
[This document was edited on 8/19/1999 to strike information that no longer reflects OSHA policy.]

OSHA's regulation does not set specific response time requirements for the term "near proximity", however, in areas where accidents resulting in suffocation, severe bleeding, or other life-threatening or permanently disabling injury or illness are likely, a 3 to 4 minute response time, from time of injury to time of administering first aid, is required. In other circumstances, i.e., where a life-threatening or permanently disabling injury is an unlikely outcome of an accident, a longer response time, such as 15 minutes, is acceptable. The rationale for requiring a 4 minute response time is brain death when the heart or breathing has stopped for that period of time.
[This letter was edited on 6/12/2002 to strike information that no longer reflects current OSHA policy. Please see the
1/16/2007 letter to Mr. Brogan for the current policy.]

Question 2: "If an emergency situation were to occur where first aid was necessary and a trained employee were to panic, forgetting all of their training, and no first aid or improper first aid was administered could the employer be cited?"

Answer: If a trained employee were to panic in an emergency situation and not administer first aid or administer improper first aid, OSHA would not cite the employer. The employer would have met his obligation under the standard by having individuals trained to render first aid. The standard only requires employees to be trained in first aid, but does not address the actual performance of first aid in an emergency situation. Please note, however, that OSHA would conduct an investigation, if deemed necessary, to ensure that proper training certification, e.g., First Aid and CPR certificates were in order.

Question 3: "Would an employer be in violation of OSHA's First Aid standard if the employer were to issue a policy which recommends that employees call "911" in emergency situations?"

Answer: The purpose of first aid is to give injured employees some level of medical attention as quickly as possible to bridge the gap between the accident and full medical treatment. Therefore, the rendering of first aid should be encouraged by trained employees in addition to calling "911." Thus, an employer would not be in violation of OSHA's First Aid standard by issuing such a policy statement as long as the policy does not discourage the rendering of first aid by trained employees.

I hope this letter is responsive to your concerns. If we can be of further assistance please contact [the Office of General Industry Enforcement at (202) 693-1850].

Sincerely,


Raymond E. Donnelly, Director
[Office of General Industry Enforcement]

[Corrected 05/31/2007]



November 19, 1996

Ms. Renee C***

Re: First Aid Training Statute 29 CFR 1910.151

Dear Ms. C***:

Recently, Karla Cooper-Boggs of my office discussed with you the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's ("OSHA") interpretation of the first aid training statute, 29 CFR 1910.151. Outlined below is our understanding of that conversation.

You indicated that an employer must ensure that a number of its employees are trained in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.151, but that the employer is not required to ensure that the trained employee actually performs first aid. You stated that OSHA would not issue citations to the employer if its trained employee(s) rendered first aid improperly, or not at all.

It is also our understanding that an employer will not violate OSHA regulations by issuing a policy which recommends that employees call "911" in emergency situations, and that trained employees should attempt to administer first aid at their discretion so long as such a policy does not discourage the rendering of first aid by a trained employee.

Friday, October 11, 2013

ANSI Z358.1 as guidance to comply with OSHA 29 CFR 1910.151

Dear Mr. K***:

Thank you for your letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). You requested an interpretation of 29 CFR 1910.151, Medical Services and First Aid, specifically, section (c) regarding, "suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body." Your question has been restated below for clarity. Please accept our apology for the delay in this response.

Background: Your company, a large manufacturer and distributor of sulfuric acid, requires the services of many third party terminals and distributors to assist with the handling of your product. You have specific criteria when acquiring a new terminal that it must meet before a contract is signed. One of these requirements is the need for safety showers that meet or exceed OSHA requirements; OSHA has quoted ANSI Z358.1-1990 in several letters of interpretation. However, there is a new ANSI Z358.1-1998 standard that goes into much more detail and would require some facilities to make a significant capital expenditure to comply.

Question: Which ANSI standard does OSHA enforce?

Answer: ANSI standards become mandatory OSHA standards only when, and if, they are adopted by OSHA; ANSI Z358.1 was not adopted by OSHA. In comparison with the OSHA standard at 29 CFR 1910.151(c), however, ANSI Z358.1 provides detailed information regarding the installation and operation of emergency eyewash and shower equipment. OSHA, therefore, has often referred employers to ANSI Z358.1 as a recognized source of guidance for protecting employees who are exposed to injurious corrosive materials.

OSHA would also take the ANSI standard into consideration when evaluating the adequacy of the protection provided by an employer. OSHA recognizes that there are differences between the 1990 and 1998 versions of ANSI Z358.1, and is planning to develop a compliance directive addressing this issue to ensure uniform and consistent enforcement of 29 CFR 1910.151(c). In the meantime, employers should assess the specific conditions in the workplace and determine whether compliance with the 1998 version of the ANSI Z358.1 will provide protection for employees that compliance with the 1990 version would not.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Risks: Injuries, Illnesses and Fatalities

There were 5,703 work-related fatalities in private industry in 2004. In that same year there were 4.3 million total workplace injuries and illnesses, of which 1.3 million resulted in days away from work.

Occupational illnesses, injuries and fatalities in 2004 cost the United States’ economy $142.2 billion, according to National Safety Council estimates. The average cost per occupational fatality in 2004 exceeded one million dollars. To cover the costs to employers from workplace injuries, it has been calculated that each and every employee in this country would have had to generate $1,010 in revenue in 2004.2

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) may occur at work. According to recent statistics from the American Heart Association, there are 250,000 out-of-hospital SCAs annually. The actual number of SCAs that happen at work are unknown. If an employee collapses without warning and is not attended to promptly and effectively, the employee may die. Sudden cardiac arrest is caused by abnormal, uncoordinated beating of the heart or loss of the heartbeat altogether, usually as a result of a heart attack. Workplace events such as electrocution or exposure to low oxygen environments can lead to SCA. Overexertion at work can also
trigger SCA in those with underlying heart disease.

The outcome of occupational illnesses and injuries depends on the severity of the injury, available first-aid care and medical treatment. Prompt, properly administered first aid may mean the difference between rapid or prolonged recovery, temporary or permanent disability, and even life or death.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Introduction and Purpose

First aid is emergency care provided for injury or sudden illness before emergency medical treatment is available. The first-aid provider in the workplace is someone who is trained in the delivery of initial medical emergency procedures, using a limited amount of equipment to perform a primary assessment and intervention while awaiting arrival of emergency medical service (EMS) personnel.

A workplace first-aid program is part of a comprehensive safety and health management system that includes the following four essential elements:
  • Management Leadership and Employee Involvement
  • Worksite Analysis
  • Hazard Prevention and Control
  • Safety and Health Training
The purpose of this guide is to present a summary of the basic
elements for a first-aid program at the workplace. Those elements
include:
  • Identifying and assessing the workplace risks that have potential to cause worker injury or illness.
  • Designing and implementing a workplace first-aid program that:
    • Aims to minimize the outcome of accidents or exposures
    • Complies with OSHA requirements relating to first aid
    • Includes sufficient quantities of appropriate and readily accessible first-aid supplies and first-aid equipment, such as bandages and automated external defibrillators.
    • Assigns and trains first-aid providers who:
      • receive first-aid training suitable to the specific workplace
      • receive periodic refresher courses on first-aid skills and knowledge.
  • Instructing all workers about the first-aid program, including what workers should do if a coworker is injured or ill. Putting the policies and program in writing is recommended to implement this and other program elements.
  • Providing for scheduled evaluation and changing of the first-aid program to keep the program current and applicable to emerging risks in the workplace, including regular assessment of the adequacy of the first-aid training course.
This guide also includes an outline of the essential elements of safe and effective first-aid training for the workplace as guidance to institutions teaching first-aid courses and to the consumers of these courses.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Guidelines for first aid training programs.

March 4, 1991

Mr. R***


Dear Mr. R***:

Thank you for your inquiry of January 24, addressed to Rolland Stroup, Chief of the Division of Safety Abatement Assistance, requesting a copy of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Instruction CPL 2-2.53, Guidelines for First Aid Training Programs, and any further suggestions we may have on the subject.

The enclosed Guidelines for First Aid Training Programs can be used by OSHA compliance officers to evaluate the provided first aid training in the context of workplace inspections. Through these same guidelines a competent professional is able to develop adequate first aid training and tailor it to the specific needs of the workplace.

Each of the major sections of the OSHA regulations, including general industry, construction and maritime standards, contains first aid requirements. However, all three sections are supported by OSHA Instruction CPL 2-2.53, Guidelines for First Aid Training Programs. The guidelines are based on job functions and types of injuries and/or illnesses anticipated.

Some of our States have occupational safety and health State plans which set first aid training requirements. Each State plan is required to adopt the OSHA regulations or promulgate their own. Their regulations have to be at least as effective as OSHA regulations. If you would like additional information about some of the individual OSHA-approved State plans, please contact:

[Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs – Room N3700
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20210
(202) 693-2200]
Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. If we may be of further assistance, please contact us.

Sincerely,

Patricia K. Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

1910.151(a) Clarification

October [5], 1992

Mr. David C***


Dear Mr. C***:

Thank you for your inquiry of July 24, addressed to the Office of Information and Consumer Affairs, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, requesting all available public information about 29 CFR 1910.151, First Aid Programs, and answers to some specific questions.

Copies of pertinent interpretations are enclosed for your information.

Your specific questions and our responses are as follows:

Question 1. Does 29 CFR 1910.151 apply to all employers? If not, to whom does it apply?

Response: Yes, it applies to all employers in general industry, regardless of size, except for state and local government entities and employers that fall under the jurisdiction of other Federal Agencies.

Question 2. What is meant by "plant health" in 29 CFR 1910.151[(a)]?

Response: "Plant health" in 29 CFR 1910.151[(a)] means the overall safety and health condition of the employees in the plant. 


Question 3. What if an employer has 27 locations or offices and only one (the headquarters) has a health unit?

Response: The employer may seek assistance from outside first aid professionals that can meet the required response times, or the employer may provide his own adequately staffed and trained first aid staff that can meet the required response times for all locations.

Question 4. Does 29 CFR 1910.151 apply to small employers?

Response: The response to this question is the same as the response to question #1.

Question 5. Does it apply to offices?

Response: Yes, 29 CFR 1910.151 does apply to offices.

Question 6. Please explain the reference to sources of standards in [1910.151], specifically 41 CFR 50-204.6.

Response: 41 CFR 50-204.6 is a source standard from Title 41, Subtitle B, and it requires the availability of first aid to employees of employers granted public contracts from the Department of Labor. The language, for 29 CFR 1910.151 was derived from 40 CFR 50-204.6.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Citation for not following the recommendations of ANSI Z358.1-1990?

April 18, 2002

Mr. Paul H***

Dear Mr. H***:

Thank you for your October 2, 2001 letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) Directorate of Compliance Programs. You requested clarification of OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.151 (Medical Services and First Aid). This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any questions not delineated within your original correspondence. Your questions have been restated below for clarity. We apologize for the delay in your response.


Question 1: Will OSHA cite a facility for not following the recommendations as stated in ANSI standard Z358.1-1990? Specifically, will an OSHA inspector cite a facility for not supplying tempered water to an emergency eyewash and shower?

Reply: Paragraph (c) of 29 CFR 1910.151 requires the employer to provide suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body when employees may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials. ANSI standards become mandatory OSHA standards only when, and if, they are adopted by OSHA; ANSI Z358.1 was not adopted by OSHA. In comparison with the OSHA standard at 29 CFR 1910.151(c), however, ANSI Z358.1 provides detailed information regarding the installation and operation of emergency eyewash and shower equipment. OSHA, therefore, has often referred employers to ANSI Z358.1 as a source of guidance for protecting employees who may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials.

As you may know, 29 CFR 1910.151(c) does not provide specific instruction regarding the installation and operation of emergency eyewash and shower equipment. Therefore, it is the employer's responsibility to assess the particular conditions related to the eyewash/shower unit, such as water temperature, to ensure that the eyewash/shower unit provides suitable protection against caustic chemicals/materials to which employees may be exposed.


Question 2: Would the citation (in the situation described above) be written under 29 CFR 1910.151 or under the General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1)?

Reply: Since OSHA has a standard related to drenching/flushing facilities, any citation for the failure to provide suitable drenching/flushing facilities must be issued pursuant to 29 CFR 1910.151(c).

Question 3: While reading product literature on emergency shower units, it stated that 30 gpm was fairly standard among drench showers; are there specific requirements for the rate of flow for an emergency eyewash or shower unit?

Reply: OSHA has adopted no specific requirements regarding flow rates for drenching/flushing facilities. ANSI Z358.1 provides detailed information regarding the installation and operation of emergency eyewash and shower equipment, including the requirements for flow rate. Section 4.1 of ANSI Z358.1 specifies that emergency shower heads shall be capable of delivering a minimum of 75.7 liters per minute (20 gpm) of flushing fluid at a velocity low enough to be non-injurious to the user. A sufficient volume of flushing fluid shall be available to supply the flow rate for a minimum fifteen minute period.

Question 4: If OSHA is using the ANSI standard Z358.1-1990 for the basis of the OSHA standard 1910.151, doesn't OSHA need to make the ANSI standard available to the general public and/or industry? Where can I obtain a copy of the ANSI standard Z358.1-1990?

Reply: You may obtain copies of ANSI standards by contacting ANSI at:


American National Standards Institute, Inc.
11 West 42nd Street
New York, New York 10036
Phone: (212) 642-4900

Friday, August 23, 2013

Full face shields and water hose acceptable substitute for eye wash facility?

July 26, 1994
Director of Government Relations
National Association of
Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors
Falls Church, Virginia


Dear Ms. H***:

Thank you for your letter dated June 22 inquiring about your previous letters of October 4, and March 29 to Mr. Roger Clark requesting interpretation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Medical and First Aid standards. I apologize for the delay in responding to your inquiries.

With regard to whether full face shields and access to a water hose can be used as a substitute for a commercially available eye wash facility to comply with 1926.50(g), please be advised that this is acceptable but only under limited conditions. In areas where the extent of possible exposure to injurious corrosive materials is very low, a specially designated pressure controlled and identified water hose can be used when proper personal protective equipment also is used (e.g. full face shield). The hose system must be equipped with a proper face and body wash nozzle and provide copious amounts of low velocity potable water. An appropriate portable eye wash device containing not less than one gallon of potable water, would also be acceptable under these conditions. At locations where hazardous chemicals are handled by employees (e.g. battery servicing facility), proper eyewash and body drenching equipment must be available.

With regard to preparing for unknown hazard emergencies, please be advised that employers are responsible to provide eyewash facilities only if the potential for exposure to corrosive material is known to exist or could reasonably be expected to exist.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Interpretation: Enforcement guidance on cement and hexavalent chromium - Scenario #1

This is in response to a January 7, 2009, memo from Region V's Administrator, Michael Connors, with subject, "Portland Cement and Hexavalent Chromium." Region V requested guidance on enforcement issues pertaining to the issuance of portland cement and hexavalent chromium citations. Our reply has been coordinated with the Directorate of Construction and the Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs.

Scenarios: Region V sought clarification with respect to three specific construction scenarios:
  1. We need clarification as to what constitutes an acceptable eyewash station. For example, in freezing temperatures, employers need to prevent eyewash stations from freezing, so in lieu of traditional eyewash stations, they provide a garden hose, water containers, etc., located in a heated floor below the active working deck.
  2. We need clarification as to what constitutes "readily available" or "readily accessible." For example, an employer has running water at a mortar mixer, but has soap, towels, additional water, and a garbage can inside the job trailer. How far is too far away?
  3. We need clarification as to when long-sleeved shirts are required on employees working with portland cement. For example, a worker is using a long-handled trowel to smooth out and finish a concrete floor or road. Many employers do not feel the need to require long-sleeved shirts during concrete finishing operations.
Replies: OSHA's general standards for personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitation, and first aid apply to skin and eye hazards from portland cement, and OSHA's Chromium (VI) standards apply to the same hazards from hexavalent chromium compounds. All of these provisions use general terms and phrases such as, "where a hazard is present," "provide appropriate protective clothing and equipment," "provide readily accessible washing facilities," "suitable facilities," "readily available," "within the work area," "near proximity," and "whenever it is necessary." In most situations, enforcement of these provisions simply requires professional judgment by compliance officers. OSHA has already issued a number of letters of interpretation on the applicable standards, and some of those letters are listed at the end of this memo for further reference.

Scenario #1: With respect to the question about whether hoses or water containers located on a heated floor below an unheated work area in freezing temperatures constitute a compliant eyewash facility, the applicable standard is 29 CFR 1926.50(g), which states: "Where the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials, suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body shall be provided within the work area for immediate emergency use." [Emphasis added.]

In determining whether eyewash facilities are "suitable" for any corrosive materials or chemicals to which employees may be exposed, compliance officers and employers should evaluate the specific job tasks and work site conditions. This should include consulting the manufacturer's material safety data sheet (MSDS) for hazard information and first aid procedures. For portland cement, a typical manufacturer's MSDS provides the following information:
Emergency and First Aid Procedures: Irrigate eyes immediately and repeatedly with large amount of clean water for at least 15 minutes and get prompt medical attention.
Guidance on "suitability" may be found in consensus or industry standards, one of which is the 2009 version of ANSI Z358.1, American National Standard for Emergency Eyewash and Shower Equipment. For example, this ANSI standard specifies that plumbed and self-contained eyewashes shall be capable of delivering flushing fluid to the eyes at not less than 0.4 gallons per minute for 15 minutes (Section 5.1.6). Although OSHA does not enforce consensus standards, if an emergency eyewash complies with the ANSI standard, such compliance will usually meet the intent of the OSHA standard. In any event, OSHA considers it a de minimis condition if an employer complies with a consensus standard rather than with the applicable OSHA standard and the employer's action clearly provides equal or greater protection. See CPL 02-00-148, Field Operations Manual (Chapter 4, Section VIII.A.2., Nov. 9, 2009).

Depending on the circumstances, hoses and water containers may be "suitable" eyewash facilities. OSHA has previously recognized the potential suitability of the following types of eyewash facilities in situations in which there is a small likelihood of employee exposure to the corrosive material in question: 1) portable, self-contained eyewash devices containing at least one gallon of potable water; and 2) specially-designated and pressure-controlled water hoses equipped with proper face and body wash nozzles that can provide copious amounts of low velocity potable water. See OSHA's directive, STD 01-08-002, 29 CFR 1910.151(c), Medical Services and First Aid; 29 CFR 1926.50 and .51, Medical Service and First Aid, and Sanitation, Respectively; Applicable to Electric Storage Battery Charging and Maintenance Areas, March 8, 1982.

As for the location of the eyewash, 29 CFR 1926.50(g) requires that it be within the employee's work area and available for immediate use in case of exposure. Generally an eyewash facility on a floor below the active working deck would not be within the "work area." For reference, ANSI Z358.1 specifies that the eyewash unit is to be placed in an accessible location that is on the same level as the hazard and can be reached by the employee in no more than 10 seconds (Section 5.4.2). For a strong acid or a strong caustic, the ANSI standard further specifies that the eyewash should be located immediately adjacent to the hazard (Section 5.4.2). If there is a possibility of encountering freezing conditions, the ANSI standard specifies that the eyewash equipment is to be protected from freezing or that freeze-protected equipment be installed (Section 5.4.5). It follows that low temperatures alone may not justify a failure to provide suitable drenching facilities in the employee's work area in accordance with 29 CFR 1926.50(g). Methods of providing compliant facilities in areas affected by freezing temperatures may be feasible, such as using a portable heater to prevent freezing. The Review Commission has noted, however, that in some situations "it is evident that it would not be possible to maintain an eyewash ... outside during the winter." Bridgeport Brass Company, 11 BNA OSHC 2255 (No. 82-899, 1984).

Friday, August 9, 2013

Emergency medical services on construction sites

Re: Emergency medical services on construction sites

Dear Mr. R***:

We are in receipt of your correspondence dated May 26 and September 21, 2004, to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regarding a number of issues related to emergency medical services on construction sites.

After considering the information in your letters and additional information you provided in telephone discussions with OSHA staff, we have paraphrased your questions as follows:

I. Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs)

Question 1: When will the rules on AEDs applicable to construction sites be finalized?

Answer: OSHA is not currently developing any construction standards regarding AEDs.

Question 2(a): Are there any OSHA requirements that prohibit an employer from terminating or threatening to terminate a licensed and insured Emergency Medical Technician ("EMT") for bringing an AED to the job site to render assistance if necessary?

Answer: First, note that there are no OSHA construction standards that specifically require an employer to provide an AED at a construction site.

Second, Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act ("OSH Act") prohibits employers from discharging or otherwise discriminating against an employee "because such employee has filed any complaint ... under or related to" the OSH Act. Whether the termination or the threat to terminate an EMT-certified employee for bringing an AED to a jobsite could be an 11(c) violation would depend on the specific facts involved.

Employees who believe that they have been discriminated against in violation of the OSH Act should contact the OSHA Area or Regional office serving their location (we have included OSHA's 11(c) information pamphlet for your review). For additional information please visit the OSHA website on The Whistleblower Program at: [ http://www.whistleblowers.gov/index.html ]

Question 2(b): Does 29 CFR 1926.50 protect an EMT from being terminated by an employer based on emergency services rendered to a worker on a construction job site?

Answer: As stated in our answer to question 2(a) above, whether such a termination would violate Section 11(c) of the Act would depend on all the relevant factors involved, which you would need to discuss with OSHA's Area or Regional office for your location.

II. 29 CFR 1926.50 - Medical services and first aid.

Question 3: Does OSHA's construction standard for medical services and first aid (§1926.50) permit a union to designate specially qualified members as first-responders for emergency medicine?

Answer: In general, the OSH Act does not address labor relations issues, including whether a union has a right to designate a particular individual for a particular job.

Question 4: I am an electrician who works on construction sites where workers are exposed on a daily basis to the risks associated with high voltage. Does 1926.50 require the presence of an individual trained in first aid on construction sites where the response time to a request for medical assistance for such workers cannot be guaranteed within four minutes?

Answer: In 29 CFR Part 1926 Subpart D (Occupational Health and Environmental Controls), §1926.50 (Medical services and first aid) provides in part:
* * *
(c) In the absence of an infirmary, clinic, hospital, or physician, that is reasonably accessible in terms of time and distance to the worksite, which is available for the treatment of injured employees, a person who has a valid certificate in first-aid training from the U.S. Bureau of Mines, the American Red Cross, or equivalent training that can be verified by documentary evidence, shall be available at the worksite to render first aid. [Emphasis added.]
* * *
[For OSHA's current policy on "reasonably accessible" and "near proximity," please see the 01/16/2007 Letter to Mr. Brogan.]

Question 5: Where 50 construction employees are spread out over 25 floors (or as many as 65 floors) in a high rise, would the presence of one individual trained in first aid satisfy the requirements of §1926.50?

Answer: Section 1926.50(b) provides:
Provisions shall be made prior to commencement of the project for prompt medical attention in case of serious injury.
In CMC Electric, the court stated that the purpose of §1926.50(b) is similar to that of §1926.50(c): 1
... the purpose of §1926.50(b) is to avoid any unnecessary delay in the administration of medical attention to an injured employee, particularly in the case of serious injury, where even a few minutes can make a difference.
The court stated also that the provisions are "complementing and overlapping." In analyzing §1926.50(b)'s "prompt medical attention" requirement, the court noted:
... [the requirement] should be read to require the employer to take reasonable steps to insure that in case of serious injury, medical attention can be obtained as quickly as possible. In addition to the time it takes to reach medical attention, this analysis should include a review of a variety [of] factors, such as: where the job site was located and how many employees were involved....[Emphasis added.]
In situations where a certified first aider is required under §1926.50(b) or (c), whether more than one first aider is required at a work site spread over many floors of a multi-story structure will depend on factors such as those described above. Given the limited information that you provided, we are unable to conclusively comment on whether the single certified individual would suffice under the "prompt medical attention" criteria in a multi-floor scenario. Factors such as whether functioning elevators are in yet, extent of on-site communications, and reasonably expected travel time up and down stairs (where elevators are not available) would be relevant to the assessment.

Question 6(a): Must employers provide medical equipment in addition to the first aid kit required in 29 CFR 1926.50(d)?

Answer: Title 29 CFR 1926.50 states that:
(a) The employer shall insure the availability of medical personnel for advice and consultation on matters of occupational health.
(b) Provisions shall be made prior to commencement of the project for prompt medical attention in case of serious injury.
* * *
(d)(1) First aid supplies shall be easily accessible when required.
(2) The contents of the first aid kit shall be placed in a weatherproof container with individual sealed packages for each type of item, and shall be checked by the employer before being sent out on each job and at least weekly on each job to ensure that the expended items are replaced.
* * *
Employers must provide a first aid kit that contains the basic supplies necessary to address typical worksite first aid needs. "Medical equipment" that goes beyond basic first aid needs is not required to be included in the kit. 2

Question 6(b): Must a construction employer provide medical equipment in addition to the first aid kit required in 29 CFR 1926.50(d) as a consequence of an employee having emergency medical training that goes well beyond basic first aid training?

Answer: No, there is no such OSHA requirement.

III. 29 CFR 1926.103 - Respiratory protection

Question 7: Are all the requirements of §1926.103 in effect as of June 1, 2004? Who is responsible for the ongoing yearly training, and refitting of respirators?

Answer: The requirements of §1926.103 3 have been in effect since April 8, 1998. The standard places the responsibility on the employer to ensure that the training, yearly retraining, and fit testing is conducted.

Question 8: Does §1926.103 require that all electricians be equipped with a properly fitted respirator and that all electrical contractors are required to have available on the job site sufficient cartridges to protect their workers from known hazards?

Answer: The standard does not specifically address electricians. Section 1910.134(a)(2) requires that respirators be worn "whenever it is necessary to protect the health of the employee from contaminated or oxygen deficient air."

IV. OSHAct 5(a)(1), "General Duty Clause"

Question 9: Does Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (the "General Duty Clause") require general foremen on a construction site to meet any general qualifications?

Answer: Section 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act states that each employer:
... shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.
There is no general requirement under that section (the General Duty clause) for employers to ensure that, in all cases, foremen have some specified level of qualifications. 4 Note, though, that some OSHA construction standards require that a "competent person" or a "qualified person" perform certain tasks. There are definitions in those standards that describe the level of qualification for each of these designations.

Note also that §1926.21(b)(2) states:
The employer shall instruct each employee in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions and the regulations applicable to his work environment to control or eliminate any hazards or other exposure to illness or injury.
Question 10: Does the General Duty Clause require employers to provide and train a designated first responder on every jobsite where five or more employees are performing construction work?

Answer: No, there is no such general requirement applicable in all cases. Note that, as discussed in questions 3-5, there are requirements regarding certified first aid personnel in §1926.50.

Therefore, an employer performing construction activities is required to provide a first aid responder on site only if there is no infirmary, clinic, hospital, or physician reasonably accessible in terms of time and distance to the worksite. The employer must ensure that the designated first aid responder has been properly trained to administer first aid (see the "valid certificate" requirement of §1926.50(c) in question 4 above).

Note also that §1926.50 is applicable irrespective of the number of employees at a particular site.

Question 11(a): Do OSHA standards require that there be a means of communication available at each worksite for summoning emergency medical assistance?

Answer: Yes. Section 1926.50(f) states:
In areas where 911 is not available, the telephone numbers of the physicians, hospitals, or ambulances shall be conspicuously posted.
The purpose of §1926.50(f) is to ensure that, where 911 is not available, the employer can rapidly contact emergency responders without wasting time trying to find the right phone number. Implicit in this requirement is that a means of communication must be available at each worksite. Having 911 available is useless if there is no way for the employer to call 911 from the worksite. Similarly, if 911 is unavailable, meeting the requirement to conspicuously post the emergency numbers at the worksite would be equally pointless.

Question 11(b): Scenario: An employer has a work rule prohibiting all employees except the employer-designated first aid responder from carrying cell phones on a worksite. An employee who is an EMT (but who is not the designated first aid responder) is also prohibited from carrying a cell phone. Would such a work rule violate any OSHA standards or the General Duty Clause?

Answer: Typically such a work rule would not violate any OSHA requirements.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Letter of Interpretation Re: Training and Designation Requirement

May 25, 2004

Dear Mr. B***:

Thank you for your August 1, 2003 letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) Directorate of Enforcement Programs (DEP). This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any questions not delineated within your original correspondence. You requested an official federal interpretation on the applicability of 1910.151(b) and its relevance to 1910.1030. Specifically, you wanted to know whether an employer is required to designate employees who have been trained in first aid to be first aid responders. We apologize for the delay in providing you a response.

The answer to this question is relevant to your agency, the Virginia Department of Transportation, whose employees are State workers who perform maintenance and construction activities on state highways. First, we will discuss first aid obligations to employees engaged in maintenance, as opposed to construction. Maintenance includes activities to keep structures in good condition on a regular basis, such as the yearly painting of lines on a highway. The applicable first aid standard for maintenance work is 29 CFR 1910.151, a general industry standard.

29 CFR 1910.151(b) provides that "In the absence of an infirmary, clinic, or hospital in near proximity to the workplace which is used for the treatment of all injured employees, a person or persons shall be adequately trained to render first aid," the standard does not require an employer to designate any employee to render first aid. The standard, as presently worded, does not explicitly require that an employee or employees be both trained AND required by the employer to render first aid. OSHA has chosen to interpret the standard as imposing a training requirement but not a designation requirement.

As you noted in your letter, CPL 02-02-069 [formerly CPL 2-2.69] --
Enforcement Procedures for the Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens, Section XIII, A.3.c., an employee trained in first aid and identified by the employer as responsible for rendering medical assistance as part of his or her job duties is covered by the bloodborne pathogen standard. Furthermore, "[A]n employee who routinely provides first aid to fellow employees with the knowledge of the employer may also fall, de facto, under this designation even if the employer has not officially designated this employee as a first aid provider." It appears from your letter that some of your employees may meet the de facto test.

Employers with designated first aid providers are required to offer the hepatitis B vaccine to first aiders before they are exposed, unless certain conditions are in place. The conditions which allow providing only post-exposure vaccination of first aiders are covered in CPL 2-2.69, Section XIII, F.8., CITATION POLICY FOR FIRST AID PROVIDERS (attached). With respect to the construction work, including, but not limited to, building new roads, OSHA does interpret the construction first aid provision, 29 CFR 1926.50(c), as requiring that a properly trained first aider be available and required to render first aid as needed. It should be noted, however, that the bloodborne pathogens standard does not apply to construction (see CPL 2-2.69, Section XIII, A.3.e.).

As you know, Federal OSHA has jurisdiction over safety and health issues affecting private and federal employees and does not cover Virginia DOT employee safety and health. As one of the states with its own OSHA-approved occupational safety and health plan, the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry's Occupational Safety and Health Program (VOSH) must adopt standards identical to, or at least as effective as, the federal standards. As such, VOSH could adopt a more stringent interpretation of CFR 1910.151(b) than that of Federal OSHA. In other words, VOSH could interpret the language: "In the absence of an infirmary, clinic, or hospital in near proximity to the workplace which is used for the treatment of all injured employees, a person or persons shall be adequately trained to render first aid" to mean that the employer must not only train, but also designate person(s) to render first aid. As it is possible that the VOSH has additional or more stringent occupational safety and health requirements relating to your specific questions, we recommend that you also contact that office for the requirements that you will be responsible for complying with.


This OSHA Letter of Interpretation is compliments of National Safety Compliance, Inc and can be found online at www.oshainterpretations.com

Friday, July 19, 2013

List of corrosive materials requiring emergency eyewashes and showers

Dear Mr. P***:

Thank you for your November 9, 2007 letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) Directorate of Enforcement Programs. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any questions not delineated within your original correspondence. You expressed concerns regarding OSHA's standards concerning eyewash and shower facilities. Your paraphrased scenario and our response follow.

Scenario: Many in the building industry are providing emergency eyewashes and emergency showers in very low-level hazard locations (e.g., a boiler room in an apartment house, dormitory, etc.) because of the ambiguous language of the standards. Where acids are used in BSL-3 laboratories, the method of compliance is rather straight-forward. In lower-level hazard applications, many in the industry are perplexed as to when these fixtures are required. To facilitate compliance with 29 CFR 1910.151(c) and 29 CFR 1926.50(g), guidance from your office is needed.

Question 1: When are eyewash and shower fixtures required?

Response: The OSHA requirements for emergency eyewashes and showers, found at 29 CFR 1910.151(c) and 29 CFR 1926.50(g), specify: "Where the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials, suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body shall be provided within the work area for immediate emergency use."

Question 2: What are the definition of "corrosive materials" and the definition of "exposed to"?

Response: Although the standards discussed above do not define these terms, OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard is instructive. The standard at 29 CFR 1910.1200, Appendix A, defines a corrosive as:

A chemical that causes visible destruction of, or irreversible alterations in, living tissue by chemical action at the site of contact. For example, a chemical is considered to be corrosive if, when tested on the intact skin of albino rabbits by the method described by the U.S. Department of Transportation in appendix A to 49 CFR part 173, it destroys or changes irreversibly the structure of the tissue at the site of contact following an exposure period of four hours. This term shall not refer to action on inanimate surfaces.
Generally speaking, corrosive materials have a very low pH (acids) or a very high pH (bases). Strong bases are usually more corrosive than acids. Examples of corrosive materials are sodium hydroxide (lye) and sulfuric acid.

As defined in 29 CFR 1910.1200(c),
"Exposure" or "exposed" means that an employee is subjected in the course of employment to a chemical that is a physical or health hazard, and includes potential (e.g.,, accidental or possible) exposure. "Subjected" in terms of health hazards includes any route of entry (e.g., inhalation, ingestion, skin contact or absorption.)
Question 3: Can you provide a listing of corrosive materials and concentrations that would trigger the requirement for emergency eyewashes and emergency showers?

OSHA does not have a listing of corrosive materials that would require an eyewash and/or emergency shower. As 29 CFR 1910.151(c) and 29 CFR 1926.50(g) state, an eyewash and/or safety shower would be required where an employee's eyes and body may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials. One source of information on the corrosive nature of a chemical would be the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for the product(s) being used which must accompany those products. See 29 CFR 1910.1200(g). In addition, the employer must determine if employees can or will be exposed during the course of their duties to hazardous materials in such a way that the protections of an eyewash or emergency shower would be necessary. If hazardous materials are present at a worksite in such a way that exposure could not occur (for example, in sealed containers that will not be opened, or caustic materials in building piping), then an eyewash or emergency shower would not be necessary. However, if the building piping containing caustic materials has, at certain locations, a spigot or tap from which the contents are to be sampled or withdrawn and employees are expected to perform such tasks, then, certainly, an eyewash and/or emergency shower would be needed where this task is to occur.

Under 29 CFR 1910.132(d), employers must perform a hazard assessment at their worksites to determine if personal protective equipment would be needed to protect their employees. Additionally, 29 CFR 1910.133(a)(1) specifically requires the use of eye and face protection when employees would be exposed to "liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids. . . . ," among other things. Therefore, an employer's hazard determination, conducted under the requirements of these standards, will help determine the necessity for PPE, as well as the necessity for eyewashes or showers as means of protecting employees from exposure to injurious corrosive materials.

Although the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York is not covered by Federal OSHA because it is a state government agency (see 29 USC 652(5)), it is covered by the New York Public Employee Safety and Health (PESH) program, which regulates the workplace safety and health of state and local government employees only. Private-sector employees in New York are covered by Federal OSHA. Therefore, state and local government employers in the State of New York must comply with State occupational safety and health requirements.

As a condition of plan approval, States are required to adopt and enforce occupational safety and health standards that are at least as effective as those promulgated by Federal OSHA 29 USC 667(c)(2). PESH has adopted the Federal OSHA standards, 12 NY ADC 800.3. These standards must be enforced at least as effectively as they are by Federal OSHA 29 USC 667(c)(2). If you would like further information regarding the enforcement of PEHA requirements, you may contact the New York Public Employee Safety and Health Program at:
New York Public Employee Safety and Health Program
State Office Campus Building 12, Room 158
Albany, New York 12240

Normand Labbe, Program Manager
(518) 457-1263
(518) 457-5545 FAX

Monday, July 15, 2013

Does OSHA certify first aid training?

Dear Mr. F***:

Thank you for your inquiry of September 28, 1993, requesting the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to accept the American Lifeguard Association, Inc. issuance of a new photo identification to Association members who have been trained in first aid. We apologize for the delay in response.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not certify first aid training programs, instructors, or trainees. It is the responsibility of the employer to make an assessment of the work area and all first aid needs for expected injuries and illnesses. Each employer using any first aid course must satisfy him/herself that the course adequately covers the type of injuries/illnesses likely to be encountered in the workplace. We have enclosed a copy of OSHA instruction CPL 2-2.53, guidance for first aid training.
OSHA standard requirements do not apply to the public. First aid training for lifeguards would be covered by OSHA's first aid standards only when training is required for the protection of employees.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution.

Medical Services and First Aid

First Aid Requirements

The "269" standard requires employers to comply with the medical services and first aid provisions in 1910.151, which requires that:
  • Someone in the workplace is trained in first aid if no medical facilities exist in near proximity.
     
  • First aid supplies are readily available. First aid kit
     
  • Quick-drenching or flushing facilities are provided for immediate emergency use where the eyes or body of a person may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials.
In addition, 1910.269(b)(2) requires that field crews have first aid kits placed in weatherproof containers if the contents of the kits could be exposed to the weather.

Inspection and availability of first aid kits. First aid kits in vehicles or at company facilities must be placed in locations where they will be readily available when needed. 1910.151, Appendix A provides guidance on first aid kit contents and how to assess the needs of the work place, including exposure to Blood Borne Pathogens. Additionally, the contents of first aid kits must be inspected at least annually to ensure that the items are useable and all required items are present in the kits (1910.269(b)(3)).



While the standard does not specifically cover documenting the results of first aid kit inspections, some companies have initiated inspection documentation procedures in which staff inspect the contents of first aid kits at regular intervals and enter the inspection date and the inspector's initials on an inspection tag inside the kit.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Written test required?

Mr. Michael J. N***
Portland, Oregon


Dear Mr. N***:

Thank you for your letter of July 14, addressed to Dr. Ralph E. Yodaiken, Senior Medical Advisor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Your letter was forwarded to me for response. In your letter you asked for a written clarification whether successful completion of a first aid course may be demonstrated by means other than a written knowledge test.

According to 29 CFR 1910.151(b), a person or persons shall be adequately trained to render first aid. To be in compliance with this standard, employers must ensure that the trained person or persons have the ability to read medical documentation, including Material Safety Data Sheets, labels on medication and antidotes, and Med-Alert bands which could be referenced to render proper first aid to injured employees in the workplace. We believe that these abilities can best be demonstrated by means of a written test. It is, however, the ability to read the necessary information that is critical to compliance, not the means by which that ability is tested. Thus, lack of a written test does not, by itself, establish a violation of the standard if that ability can be demonstrated in some other fashion.

We appreciate you interest in employee safety and health. If we can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Sincerely,


Patricia K. Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs

Friday, June 7, 2013

CPR Training for employees in various locations?

Questions: You wrote that you teach first aid, including CPR, in the Winchester, VA, area. You have been asked by several employers what OSHA's standards are for first aid, including CPR and bloodborne pathogens. Your clients are employed at various workplaces, including, but not limited to, doctors' offices, construction companies, daycare facilities, and retirement homes. Does everyone have to be trained in first aid, including CPR and bloodborne pathogens? What if there is a career rescue squad within five miles of the workplace?

Replies: OSHA's standard for first aid training in general industry, 29 CFR 1910.151(b), provides:

In the absence of an infirmary, clinic, or hospital in near proximity to the workplace which is used for the treatment of all injured employees, a person or persons shall be adequately trained to render first aid. Adequate first aid supplies shall be readily available.
In the construction industry, 29 CFR 1926.50(c) provides:
In the absence of an infirmary clinic, hospital, or physician, that is reasonably accessible in terms of time and distance to the worksite, which is available for the treatment of injured employees, a person who has a valid certificate in first-aid training from the U.S. Bureau of Mines, the American Red Cross, or equivalent training that can be verified by documentary evidence, shall be available at the worksite to render first aid.
The primary requirement addressed by these standards is that an employer must ensure prompt first aid treatment for injured employees, either by providing for the availability of a trained first aid provider at the worksite, or by ensuring that emergency treatment services are within reasonable proximity of the worksite. The basic purpose of these standards is to assure that adequate first aid is available in the critical minutes between the occurrence of an injury and the availability of physician or hospital care for the injured employee.

One option these standards provide employers is to ensure that a member of the workforce has been trained in first aid. This option is, for most employers, a feasible and low-cost way to protect employees, as well putting the employer clearly in compliance with the standards. OSHA recommends, but does not require, that every workplace include one or more employees who are trained and certified in first aid, including CPR.

The other option for employers is to rely upon the reasonable proximity of an infirmary, clinic or hospital. OSHA has consistently taken the view that the reasonable availability of a trained emergency service provider, such as fire department paramedics or EMS responders, would be equivalent to the "infirmary, clinic, or hospital" specified by the literal wording of the standards. Emergency medical services can be provided either on-site or by evacuating the employee to an off-site facility in cases where that can be done safely.

However, the requirements that emergency medical services must be "reasonably accessible" or "in near proximity to the workplace" are stated only in general terms. An employer who contemplates relying on assistance from outside emergency responders as an alternative to providing a first-aid-trained employee must take a number of factors into account. The employer must take appropriate steps prior to any accident (such as making arrangements with the service provider) to ascertain that emergency medical assistance will be promptly available when an injury occurs. While the standards do not prescribe a number of minutes, OSHA has long interpreted the term "near proximity" to mean that emergency care must be available within no more than 3-4 minutes from the workplace, an interpretation that has been upheld by the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission and by federal courts.

Medical literature establishes that, for serious injuries such as those involving stopped breathing, cardiac arrest, or uncontrolled bleeding, first aid treatment must be provided within the first few minutes to avoid permanent medical impairment or death. Accordingly, in workplaces where serious accidents such as those involving falls, suffocation, electrocution, or amputation are possible, emergency medical services must be available within 3-4 minutes, if there is no employee on the site who is trained to render first aid. OSHA exercises discretion in enforcing the first aid requirements in particular cases. OSHA recognizes that a somewhat longer response time of up to 15 minutes may be reasonable in workplaces, such as offices, where the possibility of such serious work-related injuries is more remote.

The first aid training standards at 29 CFR 1910.151 and 1926.50(c) generally apply throughout the industries that they cover. Other standards which apply to certain specific hazards or industries make employee first aid training mandatory, and reliance on outside emergency responders is not an allowable alternative. For example, see 29 CFR 1910. 266(i)(7) (mandatory first aid training for logging employees), and 29 CFR 1910.269(b) (requiring persons trained in first aid at work locations in the electric power industry).

The bloodborne pathogens standard at 29 CFR 1910.1030(g)(2) requires employers to provide training to any employees who have occupational exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials, such as employees assigned medical or first aid duties by their employers. The standard at 29 CFR 1910.1030(b) defines "occupational exposure" as "reasonably anticipated skin, eye, mucous membrane, or parenteral contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials that may result from the performance of an employee's duties." If an employee is trained in first aid and identified by the employer as responsible for rendering medical assistance as part of his/her job duties, that employee is covered by the bloodborne pathogens standard.

You may find these standards on OSHA's website, http://www.osha.gov by following the link to "standards" and searching for "first aid," "bloodborne pathogens," "logging," etc. In addition, because you serve clients in Virginia, we should refer you to the standards of the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI), which administers an OSHA-approved occupational safety and health plan. Virginia's general industry and construction first aid standards are the same as those of federal OSHA. However, Virginia may interpret its first aid standards more stringently than federal OSHA interprets its standards. Thus, we recommend that you also contact that agency.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

5 Reasons to Get CPR Training

OSHA has developed a PowerPoint Presentation regarding the necessity of emergency preparedness in remote work zones.  The following is a snippet of information regarding cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR):
5 Reasons to Get CPR Training:
  1. By the time someone needs CPR they are dead.
  2. Being helpless in a crisis situation is a horrible feeling. When the victim is a friend or coworker you will want to know how you can help.
  3. CPR training teaches you how to handle a situation where you need to take control and give commands.
  4. CPR training teaches you how to use a defibrillator.
  5. CPR training will teach you how to keep yourself safe in an emergency situation.
Being trained in CPR is crucial for anyone. More trained citizens means a safer and faster acting community.
Many organizations offer CPR training. National Safety Council and the Red cross are a couple of examples.
The key aims of first aid can be summarized in three key points:
  • Preserve life
  • Prevent further harm
  • Promote recovery
First aid training also involves the prevention of initial injury and responder safety, and the treatment phases.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

First Aid requirements for hazardous waste sites

This is in response to your inquiry of December 9, concerning the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (29 CFR 1910.120), Medical Services and First Aid (29 CFR 1910.151), and Bloodborne Pathogens (29 CFR 1910.1030) regulations.

Your question concerns clarification on first aid requirements for hazardous waste sites. Paragraph (l) of the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) standard addresses requirements for emergency response at hazardous waste clean-up operations. Subparagraph (l)(2)(viii) requires that emergency medical treatment and first aid be addressed in the employer's emergency response plan. The standard does not specifically require that on-site personnel be designated and trained to provide first aid. However, the Medical Services and First Aid standard (29 CFR 1910.151), is applicable at hazardous waste sites, and requires that personnel be trained to render first aid whenever outside medical assistance "in near proximity to the workplace" is not available.

[For OSHA's current policy on "near proximity," please see the 01/16/2007 Letter to Mr. Brogan.]

In the case of operations at a hazardous waste site, accident victims may be located in contaminated areas of the site. If first-aiders will be expected to enter contaminated areas they must be trained under 29 CFR 1910.120(e)(3)(ii) as a minimum and equipped with personal protective equipment appropriate to the hazards of the site. Therefore the employer may find that the simplest solution is to train hazardous waste workers on-site to render first aid and CPR.

You also inquired whether this requirement to train first aiders in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.151[(b)] would mean that these personnel are covered by the Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1030. The key to the issue of coverage under the Bloodborne Pathogens rule is not whether employees have been trained in first aid, but whether they are also designated as responsible for rendering medical assistance. The employer is free to provide first aid training without designating the employee as a first-aid provider covered under the scope of 29 CFR 1910.1030. However, providing first aid training in order to comply with a specific requirement of another OSHA regulation such as 29 CFR 1910.151 would constitute a de facto designation of these employees for the purposes of coverage under the Bloodborne Pathogens rule.

Further, site employees who are neither trained nor "designated" in the site emergency response plan or site safety and health plan, and who are, nonetheless, expected or directed to render first aid during a first aid incident would also be covered under the scope of 29 CFR 1910.1030. They must likewise be provided the protection of the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard, including training, personal protective equipment, and post-exposure follow-up in the event of an exposure incident.

Please note that OSHA has recently issued a policy statement specifying that, while designated first aid providers are covered under the scope of the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard, failure to offer the hepatitis B vaccine pre-exposure to persons who render first aid only as a collateral duty will be considered a de minimis violation carrying no penalties, provided that a number of conditions are met. In many cases, hazardous waste workers trained to render first aid could meet the de minimis criteria for collateral duty first aiders. Please see the attached news release for details.

We hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions please contact us at [(202) 693-1850].

Sincerely,



Roger Clark, Director
Directorate of [Enforcement] Programs

[Corrected 06/13/07]



December 9, 1992

Ms. Maryanne Garrahan
U.S. Department of Labor
Occupational Safety & Health
Administration
Washington, D.C. 20210

Re: First Aid/CPR Training Requirements Under HAZWOPER

Dear Ms. Garrahan:

As per our brief discussion December 9, 1992, I am requesting interpretive information regarding the requirements for first aid/CPR under HAZWOPER. The only section that I can identify which references first aid is in section (l)(2)(viii) Emergency medical treatment and first aid. Section (l)(2) only requires that the emergency response plan "address, as a minimum" emergency medical treatment and first aid. The same does not suggest that on-site personnel be first aid trained, but rather that the need for emergency medical and first aid be addressed in the emergency response plan. Addressing this could be interpreted to mean arranging for off-site medical emergency and first aid assistance. However, the need for immediate response in any emergency coupled by the remoteness of most HAZWASTE field activities dictates that there be someone on-site who is first aid/CPR trained. How is this resolved?

Since Bloodborne Pathogens includes "designated first aid providers," training such responders for HAZWASTE type activities appears to be a disincentive if one is desirous of not having to comply with 1910.1030. Consequently, how is OSHA interpreting 1910.120 regarding the need to have someone on-site trained and designated as a first aid/CPR responder? If not specifically included in 1910.120, would the general duty clause apply? How does 1910.151 apply to HAZWASTE vs. plant environments? How does OSHA interpret the wording in 1910.151 "in near proximity to the workplace"?

In a July 1, 1992 Compliance Directive On Enforcing Bloodborne Pathogens, the term "designated" is used. What does that mean? Is it possible to train field staff in first aid/CPR, but not "designate" them, say in the site health & safety plan, as first aid responders so as to fall outside 1910.1030? If we have first aid/CPR trained field staff that have been so designated in past health & safety plans, can we now stop re-certifying them as first aid/CPR responders and also stop designating them as such

These are issues I am personally struggling with in my job. The answers to these issues will assist me in deciding whether to continue our efforts in first aid/CPR training as well as whether or not my firm must comply with 1910.1030. Your attention and response to these issues is very much appreciated.

Very truly yours,

BLASLAND, BOUCK & LEE

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Heat Stress Kit

With Summer right around the corner it is imperative all workplaces are prepared to aid any employees that may have a heat related illness.  National Safety Compliance has released its Heat Stress First Aid Kit with the following contents:

Qty Description
4 Cold Pack, Certi-Cool Junior
2 Certi-Tape, Spool 1" x 10 yd.
25 Certi-Lyte Tablets, Electrolyte 2/pkg
1 Rescue Blanket, Silver in Plastic bag 52" x 84"
4 Electrolyte Replacement Mix, Makes 8 to 10 oz.
These contents come in a poly white box 10" x 7" x 3"

FAK-HTS
This kit contains the basic necessities needed to aid a heat stress victim and is ideal for all hot environment work. Comes in a sturdy plastic container that is wall mountable.