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DOL/OSHA RIN: 1218-AC46 Publication ID: Fall 2021 
Title: Infectious Diseases 
Abstract:

Employees in health care and other high-risk environments face long-standing infectious disease hazards such as tuberculosis (TB), varicella disease (chickenpox, shingles), and measles, as well as new and emerging infectious disease threats, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), and pandemic influenza. Health care workers and workers in related occupations, or who are exposed in other high-risk environments, are at increased risk of contracting TB, SARS, Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), COVID-19, and other infectious diseases that can be transmitted through a variety of exposure routes. OSHA is examining regulatory alternatives for control measures to protect employees from infectious disease exposures to pathogens that can cause significant disease. Workplaces where such control measures might be necessary include: health care, emergency response, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, drug treatment programs, and other occupational settings where employees can be at increased risk of exposure to potentially infectious people. A standard could also apply to laboratories, which handle materials that may be a source of pathogens, and to pathologists, coroners' offices, medical examiners, and mortuaries.

 
Agency: Department of Labor(DOL)  Priority: Economically Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: Undetermined  Unfunded Mandates: Undetermined 
CFR Citation: 29 CFR 1910   
Legal Authority: 5 U.S.C. 533    29 U.S.C. 657 and 658    29 U.S.C. 660    29 U.S.C. 666    29 U.S.C. 669    29 U.S.C. 673   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need:

Employees in health care and other high-risk environments face long-standing infectious disease hazards such as tuberculosis (TB), varicella disease (chickenpox, shingles), and measles, as well as new and emerging infectious disease threats, such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), and pandemic influenza. Health care workers and workers in related occupations, or who are exposed in other high-risk environments, are at increased risk of contracting TB, SARS, Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), COVID-19, and other infectious diseases that can be transmitted through a variety of exposure routes.

Summary of the Legal Basis:

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 authorizes the Secretary of Labor to set mandatory occupational safety and health standards to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women (29 U.S.C. 651).

Alternatives:

One alternative is to take no regulatory action. OSHA is examining regulatory alternatives for control measures to protect employees from infectious disease exposures to pathogens that can cause significant disease. In addition to health care, workplaces where SERs suggested such control measures might be necessary include: emergency response, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, drug treatment programs, and other occupational settings where employees can be at increased risk of exposure to potentially infectious people.

A standard could also apply to laboratories, which handle materials that may be a source of pathogens, and to pathologists, coroners' offices, medical examiners, and mortuaries.  OSHA offered several alternatives to the SBREFA panel when presenting the proposed Infectious Disease (ID) rule. OSHA considered a specification oriented rule rather than a performance oriented rule, but has preliminarily determined that this type of rule would provide less flexibility and would likely fail to anticipate all of the potential hazards and necessary controls for every type and every size of facility and would under-protect workers. OSHA also considered changing the scope of the rule by restricting the ID rule to workers who have occupational exposure during the provision of direct patient care in institutional settings but based on the evidence thus far analyzed, workers performing other covered tasks in both institutional and non-institutional settings also face a risk of infection because of their occupational exposure.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits:

The estimates of costs and benefits are still under development.

Risks:

Analysis of risks is still under development.

 

Timetable:
Action Date FR Cite
Request for Information (RFI)  05/06/2010  75 FR 24835   
RFI Comment Period End  08/04/2010    
Analyze Comments  12/30/2010    
Stakeholder Meetings  07/05/2011  76 FR 39041   
Initiate SBREFA  06/04/2014 
Complete SBREFA  12/22/2014 
NPRM  04/00/2022 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes  Government Levels Affected: Local, State 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses, Governmental Jurisdictions  Federalism: Undetermined 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: Yes 
Agency Contact:
Andrew Levinson
Deputy Director, Directorate of Standards and Guidance
Department of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
200 Constitution Avenue NW, FP Building, Room N-3718,
Washington, DC 20210
Phone:202 693-1950
Email: levinson.andrew@dol.gov