A drop of lemonade in a truckload of lemons
Bill Borwegen of SEIU reports that something good came out of the otherwise disappointing Medicare/Prescription Drug bill -- coverage under the bloodborne pathogens standard for public employees not covered by OSHA -- an issue that AFSCME and SEIU have been championing for years.
Tucked into the massive Medicare giveaway bill is a provision that would require public hospitals not currently covered by the OSH Act (about half of all the states; those without federally approved state plan OSHA programs) to meet the agency's bloodborne pathogen standard -- including the safer needle provisions -- by July 1, 2004, or face civil monetary penalties mirroring those under the OSHAct.
This requirement would be in addition to any state safer needle laws in these non-state plan states. For hospital workers in about a dozen states (AL, AR, CO, FL, ID, IL, LA, MS, MT, ND, NE, SD & WI), this will be the first time that they are covered by these types of protections.
Section 947 on pages 627-629 states that: "In the case of hospitals that are not otherwise subject to the OSHAct, to comply with the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard under section 1910.1030 . . .A hospital that fails to comply . . is subject to a civil money penalty . . [in] an amount similar to the amount of civil penalties that may be imposed under the OSHAct for a violation of the Bloodborne Pathogens standard.
. . The amendments made by this section shall apply to hospitals as of July 1, 2004."
The views expressed in this Blog are my own and do not, in any way, shape or form, reflect or represent the views or policies of my employer. Links to or from other websites of individuals or organizations do not constitute an endorsement of these views.