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FAQs for PESH Programs

SAFETY and HEALTH PROGRAMS

WORKPLACE VIOLENCE PREVENTION PROGRAMS

RESPIRATORY PROTECTION

BLOODBORNE PATHOGENS

OUTDOOR WORKER SAFETY

LOCKOUT / TAGOUT

Safety and Health Programs

Q. What is a Safety and Health Accident Prevention Program?

A. A Safety and Health Accident Prevention Program is a means for employers to use systematic policies, procedures and practices for the recognition and control of workplace hazards. It is recognized that there is a direct correlation between effective safety and health management, and the reduced number and severity of workplace injuries and illnesses.  The safety and health elements listed here  are performance oriented and not required by a specific standard.

  • Management commitment
  • Assignment of safety and health responsibilities
  • Employee involvement
  • System for assuring compliance with established safe work practices
  • System for workplace hazard assessments/evaluations
  • Accident investigations
  • Procedures for correcting unsafe/unhealthy conditions
  • Ongoing safety and health training
  • System for recordkeeping

Workplace Violence Prevention Programs

Q. What is the New York State Workplace Violence Prevention Law?

A. On April 29, 2009 12 NYCRR Part 800.6 was promulgated and published in the State Register as a final rule. This Part requires public employers (other than schools covered under the school safety plan requirements of the education law) to perform a workplace evaluation or risk evaluation at each worksite and to develop and implement programs to prevent and minimize workplace violence caused by assaults and homicides.  The Law is designed to ensure that the risk of workplace assaults and homicides are regularly evaluated by public employers and that workplace violence protection programs are implemented to prevent and minimize the hazard to public employees. 

Q. What is the effective date of the Law?

A. At the time of publishing the rule included a stepped compliance period.  As of August 27, 2009 employers are required to be in compliance with the entire Part.

Q. What public employers are covered by this Law?

A. According to the law, the term public employer includes the state, a political subdivision of the state, a public authority, a public benefit corporation and any other governmental agency or instrumentality.  Employers defined in Section 2801-A of New York State Education Law are exempt from the provisions of the Workplace Violence Prevention Law since there is existing law requiring them to develop and maintain "school safety plans". 

Q. What is Workplace Violence?

A. Any physical assault or acts of aggressive behavior occurring where a public employee performs any work-related duty in the course of his or her employment including but not limited to:

  1. An attempt or threat, whether verbal or physical, to inflict physical injury upon an employee;
  2. Any intentional display of force which would give an employee reason to fear or expect bodily harm;
  3. Intentional and wrongful physical contact with a person without his or her consent that entails some injury;
  4. Stalking an employee with the intent of causing fear of material harm to the physical safety and health of such employee when such stalking has arisen through and in the course of employment.


Workplace violence presents serious occupational safety hazards for workers and unique challenges for employers who must prevent violence from occurring.  During the last decade homicide was the third leading cause of death for all workers and the leading cause of occupational death for female workers.  A large number of these reported homicides were related to robberies and police and public security functions.  The majority of violent type incidents affecting workplaces are cases of assaults, threats, domestic violence, forms of harassment and physical and/or emotional abuse. 

An employer conducted risk evaluation will help determine the possible dangers that employees may face from workplace violence risks and assist the employer in the development of a suitable workplace violence prevention program.   

While workplace violence can occur in any workplace setting, typical examples of employment situations that may pose higher risks include:

  • Duties that involve the exchange of money
  • Delivery of passengers, goods, or services
  • Duties that involve mobile workplace assignments
  • Working with unstable or volatile persons in health care, social service, or criminal justice settings
  • Working alone or in small numbers
  • Working late at night or during early morning hours
  • Working in high-crime areas
  • Duties that involve the guarding of valuable property or possessions
  • Working in community-based settings

Q. What are public employers required to do to comply with this Law?

A. The law requires every public employer to perform a risk evaluation of their workplace to determine the presence of factors or situations that might place employees at risk from occupational assaults and homicides.

Develop and implement a written policy statement, prepare a workplace violence prevention program and inform and train employees on the requirements of the Law and the workplace risk factors that were identified.  Additionally, public employers with a combined total of 20 or more full-time permanent employees shall develop and implement a written workplace violence prevention program and provide employee training on workplace violence prevention measures and other information contained within the employers written program.  Such employers shall also inform employees of the location and availability of the written workplace violence prevention program.   Employee workplace violence training must be provided at the time of job assignment and annually thereafter.  The written workplace violence prevention program should be pro-active, capable of assessing potential threats before they occur, and capable of responding to actual incidents immediately.

Q. What is a Workplace Violence Prevention "Risk Evaluation"?

A. A risk evaluation is an employer's inspection or examination of their workplace to determine if existing or potential hazards exist that might place employees at risk of occupational assaults or homicides.  The Law requires all public employers to perform a risk evaluation of their workplace.  Risk evaluation techniques should include, for example:

  • An examination of the history of past incidents to identify patterns or trends which occurred in your workplace;
  • A review of your occupational injury and illness logs (SH 900) and incident reports to identify injuries that may have resulted from workplace violence incidents;
  • Surveying employees regarding details associated with the occurrence of workplace violence incidents;
  • Conducting physical workplace security building surveys.

Q. How can employees protect themselves from workplace violence?

A. The employee's best protection is knowledge and an understanding of the warning signs of potentially violent individuals or situations.  Employer training and education programs, as well as the implementation of clear zero tolerance workplace violence policies, are effective methods of reducing the possibility that violence will affect your workplace.  Also, immediate reporting of any workplace violence incident to supervision or management and the police will help ensure that prompt action is taken.

Q. What should be included in the Workplace Violence Prevention Training Program?

A. After completing the workplace violence prevention program, every employer shall provide each employee with information and training on the risks of workplace violence in their workplace or workplaces at the time of the employee's initial assignment and at least annually thereafter. While workplace violence prevention training for employees may be specific to the type of facility and duties performed, there are certain essential topics that employers should address when conducting such training.  These include:

  • The requirements of Part 800.6
  • The specific risk factors found during the risk evaluation and determination
  • What is workplace violence and what employees can do to protect themselves
  • Specific procedures that the employer has implemented to protect the employees
  • If 20 or more employees, the location of the written workplace violence program and how employees can obtain a copy
  • How to report a workplace violence incident
  • How and when incidents will be investigated by the employer
  • Where employees can go for assistance

Q. What are the recordkeeping and reporting requirements for workplace violence incidents?

A. Employers are required to establish and implement a reporting system for workplace violence incidents.

Reporting systems that meet the requirements of other federal, state or local regulations are acceptable if they address the information required by Part 800.6. An additional or separate reporting system is not required.

When there is a pattern of workplace violence incidents within your facility the employer will attempt to develop a protocol with the District Attorney or Police to insure that violent crimes committed against employees in the workplace are promptly investigated and appropriately prosecuted.

The employer shall utilize a Workplace Violence Incident Report that minimally contains the following information:

  • Workplace location where incident occurred;
  • Time of day/shift when incident occurred;
  • A detailed description of the incident, including events leading up to the incident and how the incident ended;
  • Names and job titles of involved employees;
  • Name or other identifier of other individual(s) involved;
  • Nature and extent of injuries arising from the incident; and
  • Names of witnesses.

The employer with the cooperation of the Authorized Employee Representative shall conduct a review of the Workplace Violence Incident Reports at least annually to identify trends in the types of incidents in the workplace and a review of the effectiveness of the mitigating actions taken. 

Q. How will the Department of Labor respond to complaints of workplace violence hazards?

A. Employees must provide a written notice to a supervisor and then allow a reasonable period of time for correction if they wish to file a complaint with the Commissioner of Labor. The condition that the employee brings to the supervisors attention must be a serious violation of the program (failure to develop and implement a Workplace Violence Prevention Program) or a situation that could result in serious physical harm. If after a reasonable period in time, the employee or the Authorized Employee Representative believes that serious violation of a workplace violence prevention program remains or that an imminent danger exists, such employee may request an inspection by notifying the Commissioner of Labor of the alleged violation. Written notice to an employer is not required where imminent danger exists to the safety of a specific employee or to the general health of a specific patient and the employee reasonably believes in good faith that reporting to a supervisor would not result in corrective action.

Valid complaints may result in a worksite inspection to determine if the employer has implemented the requirements of the Workplace Violence Prevention.

Respiratory Protection

Q. When does the standard require respirators to be worn?

A. Whenever it is necessary to protect the health of the employee from contaminated or oxygen deficient air. This includes situations where respirators are necessary to protect employees in an emergency.

Q. When is the employer required to provide engineering controls?

A. This standard does not make any changes to the longstanding hierarchy of controls which requires employers to use engineering and work practice controls where feasible. Only if such controls are not feasible or while they are being implemented may an employer rely on a respirator to protect employees.

Q. Will PESH require respirators to be worn for chemicals that do not have Permissible Exposure Limits (PEL)?

A. PESH requires respirators to be worn whenever such equipment is necessary to protect the health of employees. If an exposure to an airborne contaminant, that does not have a permissible exposure limit (PEL), could result in serious illness or injury, the general duty clause could be cited in accordance with the provisions in the PESH FOM Field Operations Manual, which can be viewed at: http://www.labor.ny.gov/formsdocs/wp/FOM%203%20wp.pdf

The PESH PEL's can be viewed at the following website:

http://www.labor.ny.gov/workerprotection/safetyhealth/PDFs/PESH/Part%20800.5.pdf

Q. Can a fit test for a respirator be performed before the initial medical evaluation has been completed?

A. No. The initial medical evaluation must be conducted prior to fit testing to identify individuals whose health may be harmed by the limited amount of respirator use associated with fit testing.

Q. Are employees who use filtering facepiece respirators (dust masks) voluntarily (e.g., for employee comfort) also required to have medical evaluations?

A. No. If the employer has determined that there is no hazard, and dust mask use is voluntary, then no medical evaluation is required. If employers allow voluntary use of this type of respirator, then they must provide the employee the information contained in Appendix D of the standard, and ensure that such respirator use will not itself create a hazard.

Q. Can an employee decline to be medically evaluated for the use of a respirator?

A. Paragraph (e)(1) requires the employer to provide a medical evaluation to an employee before the employee uses a respirator in the work place. Therefore, an employee cannot refuse to undergo medical evaluation and continue to use a respirator.

Q. Does the employer have to medically reevaluate the employee's ability to wear a respirator on an annual basis?

A. No. There is no annual or periodic requirement for medical reevaluation. The standard lists four conditions that trigger medical reevaluation: an employee reports signs or symptoms related to the ability to wear a respirator; the PLHCP, administrator or supervisor determine it is necessary; information from the respiratory protection program indicates a need for reevaluation; or a change in workplace conditions substantially increases the physiological burden placed on the employee.

Q. Which respirator use requires fit testing?

A. Fit testing is required when PESH rules or the employer requires employees to wear tightfitting respirators. The employee must pass a fit test prior to the initial use of the respirator. Additional fit tests are required whenever the employee reports, or the employer, PLHCP, Supervisor or Program Administrator observes changes in the employee's physical condition that could affect respirator fit. If the employee changes to a different fitting facepiece a new fit test is required. An annual fit test is required after the initial fit test.

Q. Is there a frequency of use below which fit testing would not be required for atmosphere supplying respirators? Often, emergency SCBAs are available for fire brigade or hazardous substance emergency response personnel, but these personnel may not use the equipment in a hazardous atmosphere for several years.

A. The standard's requirement of annual fit testing applies to emergency response personnel who wear respirators to protect against hazardous atmospheres. Proper fit is especially necessary for emergency personnel. These people may only wear the equipment infrequently, but when they do use the equipment, they often use it in very dangerous atmospheres.

Q. Can an employee wear a tight-fitting respirator with a beard or other facial hair?

A. No. When respirators are required, an employer is prohibited from allowing respirators with tight-fitting facepieces to be worn by employees who have "facial hair that comes between the sealing surface of the facepiece and the face or that interferes with valve function."

Q. Can corrective glasses, goggles, or other personal protective equipment be used with tight-fitting respirators?

A. The standard is written in performance terms so that any particular piece of equipment may be used as long as it does not interfere with the facepiece seal. Corrective glasses or goggles or other personal protective equipment can be used with tight-fitting respirators, but employers must ensure that they are worn in a manner that does not interfere with the seal of the facepiece to the face of the user. Eyeglass inserts or spectacle kits are acceptable if the devices: (1) do not interfere with the facepiece seal; (2) do not cause any distortion of vision; and (3) do not cause any physical harm to the wearer during use.

Q. May employees wear contact lenses with respirators?

A. Contact lenses may be used with respirators. Employers who have employees who wear corrective eyewear must be sure that the respirator does not interfere with the eyewear, make it uncomfortable, or force the employee to remove the eyewear. Employers should use the respirator selection process to make accommodations to ensure that their respirator-wearing employees can see properly when wearing these devices.

Q. Who must comply with "two-in, two-out"?

A. The PESH adopted Respiratory Protection Standard applies directly to all public volunteer and paid fire brigades engaged in firefighting.

Q. What is the difference between incipient stage firefighting and interior structural firefighting? How can one tell when the" two-in, two-out" requirement takes effect?

A. The "two-in, two-out" requirement does not take effect until firefighters begin to perform interior structural firefighting. Interior structural firefighting is firefighting to control or extinguish a fire in an advanced stage of burning inside a building. Because the fire is producing large amounts of smoke, heat and toxic products of combustion, exposure of firefighters is extremely hazardous and is considered an "immediately dangerous to life or health" (IDLH) environment.

Q. If firefighters put on respiratory protection, does that mean that an Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH) atmosphere exists, and that "two-in, two-out" applies?

A. Not necessarily. Respiratory protection and "two-in, two-out" are required in all interior structural firefighting situations. Interior structural fires are considered to be IDLH atmospheres. However, the use of respiratory protection does not, by itself, invoke the requirements associated with an IDLH atmosphere. The use of a self-contained breathing apparatus could be unrelated to exposure to an IDLH atmosphere associated with an interior structural fire. For example, many fire companies require that firefighters put on respiratory protection while on their way to the fire. It may later be determined that the fire is still in the incipient stage, and therefore not an IDLH atmosphere. It is only when firefighters are engaged in interior structural firefighting that the use of respirators is mandatory and the "two-in, two-out" requirement applies.

Q. What would constitute an "appropriately trained" person who is responsible for performing repairs or adjustments to respirators?

A. The use of the term ‘appropriately trained' refers to an individual who has received training from the manufacturer or otherwise has demonstrated that he/she has the skills to return the respirator to its original state of effectiveness.

Q. What are the minimum specifications for Grade D breathing air?

A. The ANSI/CGA G.7-1 - 1989 specifies the contents of Grade D breathing air as: oxygen (volume/volume) of 19.5 to 23.5 %; hydrocarbon (condensed) of 5 mg/m³ of air or less; carbon monoxide of 10 parts per million (ppm) or less; carbon dioxide of 1,000 ppm or less; and a lack of a noticeable odor.

Q. What regulations apply to the handling, testing, and storage of cylinders used to supply breathing air to respirators?

A. Cylinders must be constructed, tested and maintained in accordance with the Shipping Container Specification Regulations of the Department of Transportation (DOT) 49 CFR Parts 173 and 178. These regulations are also required for NIOSH certification. The inplant handling and storage of compressed gas cylinders must be in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.101(b) which incorporates by reference CGA Pamphlet P-1-1965.

Bloodborne Pathogens

Q. Who is covered by the standard?

A. The standard applies to all public employees who have occupational exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM).

Occupational exposure is defined as reasonably anticipated skin, eye, mucous membrane, or parenteral contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials that may result from the performance of an employee's duties.

Blood is defined as human blood, human blood components, and products made from human blood.

Other potentially infectious materials is defined as the following: saliva in dental procedures; semen; vaginal secretions; cerebrospinal, synovial, pleural, pericardial, peritoneal, and amniotic fluids; body fluids visibly contaminated with blood; along with all body fluids in situations where it is difficult or impossible to differentiate between body fluids; unfixed human tissues or organs (other than intact skin); HIV-containing cell or tissue cultures, organ cultures, and HIV- or HBV-containing culture media or other solutions; and blood, organs, or other tissues from experimental animals infected with HIV or HBV.

Q. We have employees who are designated to render first aid. Are they covered by the standard?

A. Yes. If employees are trained and designated as first aid responders as part of their job duties, they are covered by the protections of the standard.

Q. Are employees such as housekeepers, maintenance workers and janitors covered by the standard?

A. The employer is responsible for making a exposure determination based on the duties in which the employee is expected to perform. Housekeeping workers in nursing homes, healthcare facilities, prisons and schools may have occupational exposure, as defined by the standard. Individuals who perform housekeeping duties, particularly in patient care and laboratory areas, may perform tasks including cleaning blood spills and handling regulated wastes, which would be considered as occupational exposures.

Q. What is an exposure control plan?

A. The exposure control plan is the employer's written program that outlines the protective measures an employer will take to eliminate or minimize employee exposure to blood and OPIM.

The standard defines the minimum content the written exposure control plan must contain. At a minimum that would include:

The exposure determination which identifies job classifications with occupational exposure and tasks and procedures where there is occupational exposure and that are performed by employees in job classifications in which some employees have occupational exposure.

The procedures for evaluating the circumstances surrounding exposure incidents;

A schedule of how other provisions of the standard are implemented, including methods of compliance, HIV and HBV research laboratories and production facilities requirements, hepatitis B vaccination and post-exposure evaluation and follow-up, communication of hazards to employees, and recordkeeping;

Methods of compliance include:

  • Universal Precautions
  • Engineering and work practice controls, e.g., safer medical devices, sharps disposal containers, hand hygiene;
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Housekeeping, including decontamination procedures and removal of regulated waste.

Documentation of:

  • The annual consideration and implementation of appropriate commercially available and effectively safer medical devices designed to eliminate or minimize occupational exposure, and
  • the solicitation of non-managerial healthcare workers (who are responsible for direct patient care and are potentially exposed to injuries from contaminated sharps) in the identification, evaluation, and selection of effective engineering and work practice controls.

Q. In the exposure control plan, are employers required to list specific tasks that place the employee at risk for all job classifications?

A. No. If all the employees within a specific job classification perform duties where occupational exposure occurs, then a list of specific tasks and procedures is not required for that job classification. However, the job classification (e.g., "nurse") must be listed in the plan's exposure determination, and all employees within the job classification must be included under the requirements of the standard.

Q. How often must the exposure control plan be reviewed?

A. The standard requires an annual review of the exposure control plan. In addition, whenever changes in tasks, procedures, or employee positions affect, or create new occupational exposure, the existing plan must be reviewed and updated accordingly.

Q. Must the exposure control plan be accessible to employees?

A. Yes, the exposure control plan must be accessible to employees, as well as to PESH representatives. The location of the plan may be adapted to the circumstances of a particular workplace, provided that employees can access a copy at the workplace during the workshift. If the plan is maintained solely on computer, employees must be trained to operate the computer.

A hard copy of the exposure control plan must be provided within 15 working days of the employee's request in accord with 29 CFR 1910.1020.

Q. What should be included in the evaluation of an exposure incident?

A. Following an exposure incident, employers are required to document, at a minimum, the route(s) of exposure, and the circumstances under which the exposure incident occurred. To be useful, the documentation must contain sufficient detail about the incident. There should be information about the following:

  • The engineering controls in use at the time and work practices followed;
  • Description of the device in use;
  • The protective equipment or clothing used at the time of the exposure incident;
  • Location of the incident and procedures being performed when the incident occurred; and
  • Employee's training
  • The source individual, unless the employer can establish that identification is infeasible or prohibited by state or local law.

The employer should then evaluate the policies and "failures of controls" at the time of the exposure incident to determine actions that could prevent future incidents.

Q. What is meant by the term Universal Precautions?

A. Universal Precautions is the required method of control to protect employees from exposure to all human blood and OPIM (other potentially infectious materials). The term, "Universal Precautions," refers to a concept of bloodborne disease control which requires that all human blood and certain human body fluids be treated as if known to be infectious for HIV, HBV or other bloodborne pathogens.

Q. Can Body Substance Isolation (BSI) be adopted in place of Universal Precautions?

A. Yes. Body Substance Isolation is a control method that defines all body fluids and substances as infectious. BSI incorporates not only the fluids and materials covered by the standard but expands coverage to include all body substances. BSI is an acceptable alternative to Universal Precautions, provided facilities utilizing BSI adhere to all other provisions of the standard.

Q. What are engineering controls?

A. The term, "engineering controls," refers to controls (e.g., sharps disposal containers, self-sheathing needles, safer medical devices, such as sharps with engineered sharps injury protections and needleless systems) that isolate or remove the bloodborne pathogens hazard from the workplace.

Q. What are some examples of safer devices or alternatives that could be used in lieu of exposed needles?

A. Some examples of such devices or alternatives include needleless systems, needle-protected systems, and "self-sheathing" needles.

Q. Are employers required to provide these safer devices?

A. The standard requires that engineering and work practice controls be used to eliminate or minimize employee exposure. The Exposure Control Plan must document annual consideration and implementation of appropriate, commercially-available and effective engineering controls designed to eliminate or minimize exposure. The employer must solicit and document for this process input from non-managerial employees responsible for direct patient care who are potentially exposed to injuries from contaminated sharps.

Q. Can employees of an ambulance medical rescue service eat or drink inside the cab of the unit?

A. Employees are allowed to eat and drink in an ambulance cab only if the employer has implemented procedures to permit employees to wash up and change contaminated clothing before entering the ambulance cab, has prohibited the consumption, handling, storage, and transport of food and drink in the rear of the vehicle, and has procedures to ensure that patients and contaminated materials remain behind the separating partition.

Q. What alternatives are acceptable if soap and running water are not available for handwashing?

A. Antiseptic hand cleansers in conjunction with clean cloth/paper towels or antiseptic towelettes are examples of acceptable alternatives to running water. However, when these types of alternatives are used, employees must wash their hands with soap and running water as soon as feasible. These alternatives are only acceptable at worksites where it infeasible to provide soap and running water.

Q. Who is responsible for providing PPE?

A. The responsibility for providing, laundering, cleaning, repairing, replacing, and disposing of PPE at no cost to employees rests with the employer. Employers are not obligated under the standard to provide general work clothes to employees, but they are responsible for providing PPE. If laboratory jackets or uniforms are intended to protect the employee's body or clothing from contamination, they are to be provided at no cost by the employer.

Q. Does protective clothing need to be removed before leaving the work area?

A. Yes. PESH requires that personal protective equipment be removed before leaving the work area. While "work area" must be determined on a case-by-case basis, a work area is generally considered to be an area where work involving occupational exposure occurs or where the contamination of surfaces may occur.

Q. What type of eye protection do I need to wear when working with blood or OPIM?

A. The use of eye protection would be based on the reasonable anticipation of facial exposure. Masks in combination with eye protection devices, such as glasses with solid side shields, goggles, or chin-length face shields, shall be worn whenever splashes, spray, spatter, or droplets of blood or OPIM may be generated and eye, nose, or mouth contamination can be reasonably anticipated.

Q. When should gloves be changed?

A. Disposable gloves shall be replaced as soon as practical after they have become contaminated, or as soon as feasible if they are torn, punctured, or their ability to function as a barrier is compromised. Hands must be washed after the removal of gloves used as PPE, whether or not the gloves are visibly contaminated.

Q. Are gloves required when giving an injection?

A. Gloves are not required to be worn when giving an injection as long as hand contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials is not reasonably anticipated.

Q. What does the standard mean by the term "regulated waste"?

A. The Bloodborne Pathogens standard uses the term, "regulated waste," to refer to the following categories of waste which require special handling: (1) liquid or semi-liquid blood or OPIM; (2) items contaminated with blood or OPIM and which would release these substances in a liquid or semi-liquid state if compressed; (3) items that are caked with dried blood or OPIM and are capable of releasing these materials during handling; (4) contaminated sharps; and (5) pathological and microbiological wastes containing blood or OPIM.

Q. Are feminine hygiene products considered regulated waste?

A. These products generally are not considered medical waste when discarded into waste containers which are properly lined with plastic or wax paper bags. Such bags should protect the employees from physical contact with the contents.

At the same time, it is the employer's responsibility to determine the existence of regulated waste. This determination is not based on actual volume of blood, but rather on the potential to release blood (e.g., when compacted in a waste container).

Q. How should sharps containers be handled?

A. Sharps containers shall be maintained upright throughout use, replaced routinely and not be allowed to overfill. When removing sharps containers from the area of use, the containers shall be:

  • Closed immediately before removal or replacement to prevent spillage or protrusion of contents during handling, storage, transport, or shipping;
  • Placed in a secondary container if leakage is possible.  The second container shall be:

Closable;

  • Constructed to contain all contents and prevent leakage during handling, storage, transport, or shipping; and
  • Labeled or color-coded according to paragraph (g)(1)(i) of the standard.

Q. How do I dispose of regulated waste?

A. Regulated waste shall be placed in containers which are:

  • Closable;
  • Constructed to contain all contents and prevent leakage of fluids during handling, storage, transport, or shipping;
  • Labeled or color-coded in accordance with paragraph (g)(1)(i) of the standard; and
  • Closed before removal to prevent spillage or protrusion of contents during handling, storage, transport, or shipping.
  • If outside contamination of the regulated waste container occurs, it shall be placed in a second container.  The second container shall be:

Disposal of all regulated waste shall be in accordance with applicable regulations of the New York State, and political subdivisions of the State and Territories.

Q. What does the standard mean by the term "contaminated laundry"?

A. Contaminated laundry means laundry which has been soiled with blood or other potentially infectious materials or may contain sharps.

Q. How should contaminated laundry be handled?

A. Contaminated laundry shall be handled as little as possible with a minimum of agitation. Contaminated laundry shall be bagged or containerized at the location where it was used and shall not be sorted or rinsed in the location of use, (g)(1)(i) of the standard describes other requirements. 

Q. Are employees allowed to take their protective equipment home and launder it?

A. Employees are not permitted to take their protective equipment home and launder it. It is the responsibility of the employer to provide, launder, clean, repair, replace, and dispose of personal protective equipment.

Q. Do employers have to buy a washer and dryer to clean employees' personal protective equipment?

A. There standard does not require the employer to purchase a washer and dryer to launder protective clothing. The employer may contract out the laundering of protective clothing or possibly use disposable personal protective clothing and equipment.

Q. Are there guidelines to be followed when laundering personal protective equipment? What water temperature and detergent types are acceptable?

A. The decontamination and laundering of protective clothing are governed by the laundry provisions of the standard in paragraph (d)(4)(iv). Washing and drying the garments should be done according to the clothing manufacturer's instructions.

Q. Who must be offered the hepatitis B vaccination?

A. The hepatitis B vaccination series must be made available to all employees who have occupational exposure, except as provided. The employer does not have to make the hepatitis B vaccination available to employees who have previously received the vaccination series, who are already immune as their antibody tests reveal, or for whom receiving the vaccine is contraindicated for medical reasons.

Q. When must the hepatitis B vaccination be offered to employees?

A. The hepatitis B vaccination must be made available within 10 working days of initial assignment, after appropriate training has been completed. Thus, arranging for the administration of the first dose of the series must be done at a time which will enable this schedule to be met.

Q. Can employees refuse the vaccination?

A. Employees have the right to refuse the hepatitis B vaccine and/or any post-exposure evaluation and follow-up. Note, however, that the employee needs to be properly informed of the benefits of the vaccination and post-exposure evaluation through training. The employee also has the right to decide to take the vaccination at a later date if he or she so chooses. The employer must make the vaccination available at that time.

Q. Whose responsibility is it to pay for the hepatitis B vaccine?

A. The responsibility lies with the employer to make the hepatitis B vaccine and vaccination, including post-exposure evaluation and follow-up, available at no cost to the employees.

Q. What information must the employer provide to the healthcare professional following an exposure incident?

A. The healthcare professional must be provided with a copy of the standard as well as the following information:

  • A description of the employee's duties as they relate to the exposure incident;
  • Documentation of the route(s) and circumstances of the exposure;
  • The results of the source individual's blood testing, if available; and
  • All medical records relevant to the appropriate treatment of the employee, including vaccination status, which are the employer's responsibility to maintain.

Q. What information does the healthcare professional provide to the employer following an exposure incident?

A. The employer must obtain and provide to the employee a copy of the evaluating healthcare professional's written opinion within 15 days of completion of the evaluation. The healthcare professional's written opinion for hepatitis B is limited to whether hepatitis B vaccination is indicated and if the employee received the vaccination. The written opinion for post-exposure evaluation must include information that the employee has been informed of the results of the evaluation and told about any medical conditions resulting from exposure that may require further evaluation and treatment. All other findings or diagnoses must be kept confidential and not included in the written report.

Q. What type of counseling is required following exposure incidents?

A. The standard requires that post-exposure counseling be given to employees following an exposure incident. Counseling concerning infection status, including results and interpretation of all tests, will assist the employee in understanding the potential risk of infection and in making decisions regarding the protection of personal contacts. For example, counseling should include the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) recommendations about the transmission and prevention of HIV. Counseling based on the USPHS recommendations must also be provided for HBV and HCV and other bloodborne pathogens, as appropriate. In addition, counseling must be made available regardless of the employee's decision to accept serological testing.

Q. What recordkeeping does PESH require for exposure incidents?

A. Any public employer who is required to maintain a log of occupational injuries and illnesses under the PESH Recordkeeping regulation Part 801

http://www.labor.state.ny.us/workerprotection/safetyhealth/PDFs/PESH/Part801.pdf

is also required to establish and maintain a sharps injury log for the recording of percutaneous injuries from contaminated sharps. Employers must also record all work-related needlestick injuries and cuts from sharp objects that are contaminated with another person's blood or other potentially infectious material (as defined by 29 CFR 1910.1030) on the SH 900 Log.  Employers may use the SH 900 Log to meet the requirements of the sharps injury log provided they enter the same information required for the sharps injury log on the PESH 900 Log and maintain the records in a way that segregates sharps injuries from other types of work-related injuries and illnesses, or allows sharps injuries to be easily separated. Employers must enter sharps injury cases on the PESH 900 Log and the sharps injury log without entering the employee's name. [See the requirements for privacy cases in paragraph 801.29]

If an employee is splashed or exposed to blood or OPIM without being cut or punctured, the incident must be recorded on the SH 900 Log if it results in the diagnosis of a bloodborne illness or if it meets one or more of the recording criteria in 900.7

Q. Which employees must be trained?

A. All public employees with occupational exposure must receive initial and annual training. In addition, training must be provided when changes (e.g., modified/new tasks or procedures) affect a worker's occupational exposure.

Q. Must part-time and temporary employees be trained?

A. Part-time and temporary employees are covered and are also to be trained on company time.

Q. What is contained in the medical record?

A. The medical record includes the name and social security number of the employee; a copy of the employee's hepatitis B vaccination status including the dates of all the hepatitis B vaccinations and any medical records relative to the employee's ability to receive the vaccination; copies of all results of examinations, medical testing and follow-up procedures; copies of the healthcare professional's written opinion; and copies of the information provided to the healthcare professional.

Q. Who keeps the medical records?

A. The employer is responsible for the establishment and maintenance of medical records. However, these records may be kept off-site at the location of the healthcare provider.  The employer must ensure that the medical records are kept confidential and are not reported or disclosed without the express written consent of the worker, except as required by the standard or as may be required by law.

Q. How long must the medical records be kept?

A. Medical records must be kept for the duration of employment plus 30 years.

Q. What is included in the training record?

A. The training record contains the dates of the training, the contents or a summary of the training sessions, the names and job titles of all persons attending the training, and the names and qualifications of the persons conducting the training.

Q. How long must training records be kept?

A. Training records must be retained for 3 years from the training date.

Q. Where can I obtain additional information on the Bloodborne Pathogens standard?

A. Employees and Employers can call a PESH consultant with questions regarding any of the PESH standards or program elements. The PESH Bureau also provides a free consultative service upon request from the employer; employers can invite a consultant to visit their work place to provide assistance with program development, training or any of the other services listed within the PESH Consultative Services Pamphlet

http://www.labor.state.ny.us/workerprotection/safetyhealth/PDFs/PESH/Consultation%20Assistance.pdf

Outdoor Worker Safety

Q. What is the risk of working in cold conditions?

A. Cold stress or hypothermia can aff ect employees who are not sufficiently protected against low temperatures. The cold may result naturally from weather conditions or be created artificially, as in refrigerated environments. Cold is a physical hazard in many outdoor workplaces. When the body is unable to warm itself, serious cold-related illnesses and injuries may occur that could lead to permanent tissue damage or worse.  Workplaces that are prone to cold, wet and/or windy conditions include: roofs; open or unheated cabs; bridges or other projects near large bodies of water; large steel structures that retain cold or are exposed to cold; high buildings open to the wind; and refrigerated rooms, vessels, and containers. Your body tries to maintain an internal (core) temperature of approximately 98.6ºF (37ºC) by reducing heat loss and increasing heat production. Under cold conditions, blood vessels in skin, arms and legs constrict, decreasing blood flow to extremities. This minimizes cooling of the blood and keeps critical internal organs warm.  At very low temperatures, however, reducing blood flow to the extremities can result in a lower skin temperature and a higher risk of frost bite.

Q. What other risk factors are associated with cold injury?

A. Various medical conditions such as heart disease, asthma/ bronchitis, diabetes and vibration/white finger disease can increase the risk of cold injury. Check with your health practitioner to learn whether medications you take could also have adverse effects in a cold environment.

Q. How do you protect against cold-related risks?

A. Be aware and be prepared. Workers should recognize the signs and symptoms of overexposure to cold in both themselves and co-workers. Pain in the extremities may be the first warning sign. Any worker shivering severely should come in out of the cold.

Q. General Employee Protective Measures in cold weather:

  • Inform workers about wind-chill factors, especially those working on bridges or ou in the open on high buildings.
  • Ensure that workers are medically fit to work in excessive cold, especially those subject to the risk factors highlighted above.
  • Stress the importance of high-caloric foods when working in cold environments.  Warm sweet drinks and soups will maintain caloric intake and fluid volume.  Coffee should be discouraged in cold conditions because it increases water loss and blood flow to extremities.
  • Personnel working in isolated cold environments, whether indoors or outdoors, should have backup or monitors.  Also, employees at risk should use shelters or other protected areas at regular intervals.
  • Warm drinks and regular breaks are beneficial under extremely cold working conditions.

Q. Select protective clothing to suit the cold, the job, and the level of physical activity.

  • Wear several layers of clothing rather than one thick layer.  Air captured between layers acts as an insulator.
  • Wear synthetic fabrics such as polypropylene next to the skin because these wick away sweat.  Clothing should not restrict flexibility.
  • If conditions are wet, as well as cold, ensure that the outer layer of clothing is waterproof or water-repellent.  Some conditions require wind-resistant fabrics. 
  • At air temperatures of 2 degrees celcius (35.6 degrees fahrenheit) or less, workers whose clothing gets wet for any reason will need an immediate change of clothing and may need treatment for hypothermia.
  • Encourage the use of hats and hoods to prevent heat loss and to protect the ears.  Belaclavas or other face covers may also be necessary under certain conditions.
  • Tight-fitting footwear restricts blood flow.  Footwear should be large enough to allow wearing either one thick pair of socks or two thin pairs.  Wearing too many socks can tighten fit and harm rather than help.
  • Workers who get hot while working should open their jackets but keep hats and gloves on.

Lockout / Tagout

Q. What is Lockout/ Tagout?

A. The Lockout/ Tagout standard refers to methods and procedures used to eliminate sudden reactions in machinery or equipment that can hurt service or repair workers. To render the piece of machinery or equipment safe to work on, the workers must follow the Lockout/Tagout rules given by their employer.

Q. What standard requires the control of Hazardous Energy, 29 CFR 1910.147

Establishes the minimum performance requirements for preventing the release of potentially hazardous energy during the servicing or maintenance of machinery or equipment.

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