Due respect for a little blood. Part 1

July 25, 2012

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A little yellow rubber ducky sits, retired, in our advertising office in Los Angeles. The retirement of this still young and perky-looking bathtub toy was courtesy of a visiting inspector from CALOSHA (California’s program under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration). Prior to that inspection, Ducky would occasionally cruise the long tiled hallway of the 4th floor, powered by a couple of hockey sticks. To the Fitness Management staff, the mention of OSHA will always bring to mind the banning of their congenial game of duck hockey.

Like our publishing office, the health club industry is relatively free of strange and terrible hazards to its employees. We talked to a number of health clubs a couple of years ago to see whether an economical compliance program for the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard would interest them. Universally, they reported that the incident of employee injury was rare and that the only kinds of hazardous materials they handled came from supermarket shelves and were the same products found under any kitchen sink. Ongoing help with OSHA compliance was not a big concern in their minds.

But, this relaxed attitude should not extend to the concerns of OSHA when human blood is present where it can come into contact with other persons. OSHA’s standards, Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens (29 CFR 1910.1030), apply to all employers whose workers may be “reasonably anticipated” to come in contact with human blood or other potentially infectious bodily fluids during the course of their work.

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