NIOSH Testimony on the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Occupational Exposure to Hepatitis B Virus and Human Immunodeficiency Virus by R. A. Lemen, January 26, 1988.
This testimony offered comments concerning occupational exposure to hepatitis-B virus (HBV) and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). NIOSH recommended that the coverage of this proposed OSHA rule be extended to include all workers with potential occupational exposure to human blood and blood products, body fluids, and fresh tissue. The problem of protecting public sector employees should be treated in the same manner as those employed in the private sector. The significance of risk attached to cytomegalovirus (CMV) was generally minor with no particular evidence being available to suggest that CMV infection posed a significant health risk to health care workers in general, or pregnant health care workers in particular. The risks of transmission of diseases borne by the blood vary, with the estimates of HBV infection occurring following accidental needle stick injury ranging from 6 to 30 percent; similar figures for HIV transmission were estimated at less than 1 percent. Universal blood and body fluid precautions should be observed in all tasks involving exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials. As regards personal protective clothing and equipment, each employer should evaluate the conditions and tasks in the workplace to identify any infectious or potentially infectious materials that may be present, the volume of that material and concentration of virus in it, potential routes of exposure, and likelihood of an exposure occurring. Comments were also provided concerning vaccination programs, management of needlestick and other injuries, medical surveillance, training and education, generic standards, advances in hazard control, effectiveness of alternative approaches and environmental effects.