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

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