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OSHA CLARIFIES POSITION ON RE-USE OF BLOOD TUBE HOLDERS

On June 12, 2002, OSHA issued an interpretation letter regarding the above. The following questions were presented. What is OSHA’s position regarding the use of blood tube holders, specifically removing a needle in order to re-use a tube holder? Must each blood tube collection device be disposed of with the needle attached each time they are used? OSHA replied in part as follows:

OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens Standard (29 CFR1910.1030, paragraph (d)(2)(vii)(A)) provides: “Contaminated needles and other contaminated sharps shall not be bent, recapped, or removed, unless the employer can demonstrate that no alternative is feasible or that such action is required by a specific medical or dental procedure.” More specifically, our new compliance directive, CPL 2-2.69 at XIII.D.5, states, “removing the needle from a used blood-drawing/phlebotomy device is rarely, if ever, required by a medical procedure. Because such devices involve the use of a double-ended needle, such removal clearly exposes employees to additional risk, as does the increased manipulation of a contaminated device.” In order to prevent potential worker exposure to the contaminated hollow bore needle at both the front and back ends, blood tube holders, with needles attached, must be immediately discarded into an accessible sharps container after the safety feature has been activated. [Emphasis in original.]