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July 5, 2011
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999

OSHA schedules stakeholder meetings to
discuss occupational exposure to infectious diseases

WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has scheduled two informal stakeholder meetings to solicit comments on exposure to infectious diseases in the workplace. OSHA will use information gathered during these meetings to explore the possible development of a proposed rule to protect workers from occupational exposure to infectious agents in healthcare settings where direct patient care is provided and other settings where workers perform tasks with occupational exposure. Both meetings are scheduled for July 29 in Washington, D.C.

On May 6, 2010, OSHA published a Request for Information on Infectious Diseases. OSHA wanted to gather comments on strategies that are currently used to reduce the risk of workplace exposure to infectious agents, and to more accurately distinguish the nature and extent of occupationally-acquired infectious diseases. Based on responses received and an ongoing review of literature on this subject, OSHA is considering development of a proposed program standard to control worker exposures to infectious agents.

"We know that workers in healthcare and related facilities may be exposed to infectious agents, and they deserve to be protected," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "Information gained from these meetings will help us determine the best approach to assure that workers dont put themselves at risk while caring for patients and doing their job. After all, a good job is a healthy and safe job."

The two meetings will be held July 29, from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., at the U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., Room N-4437, Washington, DC 20210. To participate in one of the stakeholder meetings, or be a non