Friday, September 26, 2014

Is CPR and first aid training required annually?

March 18, 1996

The Honorable Charles E. Grassley
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510


Dear Senator Grassley:

Thank you for your letter of February 9, on behalf of your constituent, Mr. Norman Willis, regarding the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) first aid standard.

It is not a requirement of OSHA that cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid training take place every year. 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." However, please be advised that an employer has the prerogative to require employee training which exceeds OSHA standards.

First aid training is primarily received through the American Red Cross, the National Safety Council, and private institutions. The American Red Cross offers standard and advanced first aid courses via their local chapters. After completion of the course and successful passing of the written and practical tests, trainees receive two certificates; one in adult CPR and the other in first aid. Basic adult CPR retesting should occur every year and first aid skills and knowledge should be reviewed every three years.

Thank you for your continued interest in occupational safety and health. We hope this information will assist you in responding to your constituent.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Accessible quick drenching and flushing facilities?

Scenario: We are a manufacturer and transporter of corrosive materials, specifically 10.5% and 12.5% sodium hypochlorite. Our employees will transport and unload bulk sodium hypochlorite into above-ground storage tanks, either owned or leased by the customer. The customer then dispenses the bulk product into 2.5-gallon jugs for sale to retail customers.

Question 1: We, as a company, have recommended to our customers that they comply with the requirements of ANSI Z358.1-2004, American National Standard for Emergency Eyewash and Shower Equipment. If a customer does so and the equipment is provided within the work area for immediate use by our own employees, have we made a reasonable effort to comply with 29 CFR 1910.151(c)?

Response: Paragraph (c) of 29 CFR 1910.151 requires that suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing be provided within the work area for immediate use if an employee's eyes or body may be exposed to corrosive materials. The OSHA standard does not set specifications for emergency eyewash and shower equipment, but we agree that equipment that complies with ANSI requirements would usually meet the intent of the OSHA standard. It should also be noted that, in addition to the requirement for emergency flushing and drenching facilities, there are also requirements for personal protective equipment (PPE) when employees are exposed to the hazards which corrosive chemicals present. PPE requirements are found in Subpart I, Personal Protective Equipment, of 29 CFR §1910 and may include, but are not limited to, protection for the eyes, face, and hands, as well as protective clothing. The purpose of PPE is to prevent injury, whereas the purpose of the eye wash or shower is to minimize injury, should that first line of defense fail.

Question 2: Deliveries often occur at night or when the retail location is closed. When our driver arrives at the facility under these circumstances, he or she must use a key to enter the facility and the unloading area. The quick drenching facilities are located in the unloading area. Does the necessity of a key violate the accessibility requirement of the ANSI standard?

Response: Although OSHA often refers employers to ANSI Z358.1-2004 for guidance in the installation and operation of quick drenching and flushing equipment, OSHA does not interpret ANSI standards; OSHA may only provide interpretations of its own regulations. OSHA has its own requirements for the location and accessibility of quick drenching or flushing facilities. 29 CFR 1910.151(c) states that "[w]here 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). While the need to use a key to unlock a door to reach the quick drenching or flushing facilities would ordinarily pose a problem, it appears that in your case your employee would already be inside the unloading area where the quick drenching facilities are located and where presumably any exposure to the injurious corrosive materials would occur.

Question 3: Who is responsible for providing the quick drenching and flushing facilities?

Response: Every employer with employees exposed to the corrosive chemicals is responsible for the safety and health of their employees. A delivery company may comply with the requirement to provide quick drenching and flushing facilities in a number of ways. The delivery company may elect to provide self-contained, portable equipment on the delivery vehicle. A possibly more convenient option for compliance would be to use the facilities provided by the retail employer for the retail employees. We envision that, in the majority of cases, the retail employer will have employees similarly exposed to the corrosive chemicals and thus would be required to provide quick drenching and flushing facilities for their employees. The delivery and retail employers coordinate other elements of their business relationship, such as delivery time, location, and quantity; the coordination of safety and health responsibilities can and should be included in this process. If the retail employer does not provide these facilities or if facilities are provided but are not appropriately selected and located for immediate emergency use by the delivery employees, then the delivery employer would still be required to provide suitable quick drenching and flushing facilities for its employees. The delivery employer needs to evaluate the work process, assessing factors such as configuration of the work area, the corrosivity of the materials, and the potential created by the work process for the corrosive chemical to come into contact with the employee. The delivery employer would then train employees as to the hazards presented, select and require appropriate PPE, and provide suitable quick drenching and flushing facilities for immediate use by their employees.

Question 4: Are small businesses (e.g., retail stores) subject to 29 CFR 1910.151(c), if they handle corrosive liquid materials?

Response: Yes. All employers, regardless of size, that have employees whose eyes or body may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials must provide quick drenching and flushing facilities.

Question 5: Is there a quantity of corrosive chemical that triggers the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.151(c)?

Response: No, there is no threshold quantity of corrosive material that triggers the requirement. The determining factor for the application of the standard is the possible exposure of an employee to injury from contact with a corrosive material.

As you may know, a number of states administer their own occupational safety and health programs under plans approved and monitored by Federal OSHA. It is possible that some of your customers are located in these State Plan States. Therefore, employers in these states must comply with their own State's occupational safety and health requirements. As a condition of plan approval, States are required to adopt and enforce occupational safety and health standards and interpretations that are at least effective as those promulgated by Federal OSHA. However, some states may have different or more stringent requirements. Information about contacting the State Plans can be found on OSHA's website at
http://www.osha.gov.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

First Aid Interpretations

December 11, 1996

Mr. Gregory M. Feary
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204


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.