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A recently signed law in California calls for health care facilities to provide sharps safety devices designed to protect workers from needlestick injuries that can result in occupational infections with HIV, hepatitis, and other bloodborne pathogens.
The first law of its kind in the nation, AB 1208 calls for the state’s Cal-OSHA program to amend the bloodborne pathogen standard to reflect the following requirements, which are summarized below:
o The definition of engineering controls must include sharps prevention technology such as needleless systems and needles with engineered sharps injury protection.
o Sharps prevention technology must be included as engineering or work practice controls, except in cases where the employer or other appropriate party can demonstrate circumstances in which the technology does not promote employee or patient safety or interferes with a medical procedure. Those circumstances shall include, but not be limited to, circumstances where the technology is medically contraindicated or is no more effective than alternative measures used by the employer to prevent exposure incidents.
o Written exposure control plans must include an effective procedure for identifying and selecting existing sharps prevention technology. Expos ure control plans must be updated when necessary to reflect progress in implementing the sharps prevention technology.
o Information concerning exposure incidents must be recorded in a sharps injury log, including, but not limited to, the type and brand of device involved in the incident.
o Cal-OSHA and the state department of health services must compile and maintain a list of existing needleless systems and needles with engineered sharps injury protection, which shall be available to assist employers in complying with the requirements of the bloodborne pathogen standard adopted pursuant to this section. The list may be developed from existing sources of information, including the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.