The Reach of the Regulations
The bloodborne pathogen regulations of OSHA have a very broad reach. Unlike most OSHA regulations, employees of units of local and state governments are not exempt. Since many ambulance systems and hospitals are part of city or county government services, this would exempt too many high risk employees from these important protections. In addition, many people are covered who are not normally considered employees. Hospital volunteers and physicians on the staff are also the responsibility of the hospital.
From a legal liability standpoint, hospitals should make sure that anyone who works in their system is in compliance with all the bloodborne pathogen requirements. If they are not employees they are probably not covered by workers’ compensation. These individuals could sue the hospital as third parties if they contracted an infectious disease while working in the hospital. If the hospital can be shown to have allowed this infection because they were saving themselves a few dollars an immunizations or protective equipment, then the jury is likely to make a very large award.