If Arizona’s and Wisconsin’s recent actions are a harbinger of the future, state boards of cosmetology will be beefing up their implement disinfection regulations to reduce the risk of transmission of bloodborne pathogens. New federal bloodborne pathogen standards recently took effect, requiring employers to implement a written program that outlines the protective measures the employer will take to eliminate or minimize employee exposure to blood if they determine employees can “reasonably anticipate” eye, skin, or mucous membrane contact with blood or other body fluids.
The Arizona State Board of Cosmetology has a “renewed dedication to infection control,” says board director Sue Sansom. The board is phasing in new regulations that require the use of an EPA-registered hospital-level tuberculocidal disinfectant on implements.
Notification of the new regulations will be mailed to all Arizona salons by July 1, 1993. To help salons comply with the new regulations, beauty professionals will receive implement disinfection training through public meetings and during salon inspections. Large salons and chain salons can arrange for in-salon training.
Wisconsin also toughened up its sanitation regulations for manicuring implements in October 1992. Now, all reusable manicure implements must be disinfected with an EPA-registered tuberculocidal disinfectant, which must be changed daily. All manicure implements that cannot be cleaned and disinfected or sterilized must be disposed of after each client. In its news release, the Wisconsin State Board warns, “Violations of the rule could result in barbering/cosmetology license revocation.”
While state boards are responding to the new federal regulations by reviewing the adequacy of their own regulations, there is not yet enough clarity on who is covered under these new rules. Industrial hygienists at Cal OSHA, whose bloodborne pathogen regulations are closely modeled after the federal regulations, told NAILS that they did not think the regulations were aimed at salons.
It is employers’ responsibility, not OSHA’s, to determine if they are affected by the regulations. The regulations do not define “reasonably anticipate,” but an explanation of Cal OSHA’s regulations state, “If an employee in a position is likely to be exposed at least once during a working lifetime, that position should be considered for coverage by the standard, since even a single exposure can result in transmission of a life-threatening infection.”
For copies of the bloodborne pathogen standards, contact your local OSHA office, which is listed in the phone book’s government pages.