OSHA Reopens TB Rulemaking Record, Seeks Comments

It's little surprise that 18- to 34-year-olds are at the heart of a nationwide increase in illegal drug use, and the manufacturing industry traditionally draws heavily from this pool of job seekers.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reopened the tuberculosis (TB) rulemaking record June 17 and seeks public comment on issues related to homeless shelters, medical waste treatment facilities and other occupational exposures to the disease. The record has been reopened because results of an OSHA study on this matter weren't available until after the original public comment period had closed.

Comment will be taken until Aug. 2 on OSHA's report about TB control practices in homeless shelters and a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) evaluation on occupational exposure to TB from processing medical wastes. Also in the record are three documents on respiratory protection against TB and one on specific guidelines to protect workers against the disease.

OSHA's proposed standard to regulate occupational exposure to TB, published Oct. 17, 1997, will help protect an estimated 5.3 million workers in more than 100,000 hospitals, homeless shelters, long-term care facilities for the elderly, detention facilities and other work settings with a high risk of TB infection, according to OSHA.

The agency also seeks input on the feasibility of including TB and AIDS clinics, parole and probation officers and all social service workers within the scope of a final standard.

To comment, submit two copies to Docket Office, Docket No. H-371, Room N-2625, OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210, fax comments of 10 pages or less to (202) 693-1648 or e-mail comments to www.osha-slc.gov/e-comments/e-comments-tb.html.

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