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Ask the Experts Q & A

Q: In OSHA's list of potentially infectious materials, urine and some other body fluids are not listed. The hospital where I worked previously considered all body fluids to be infectious. Are there two separate OSHA standards, one for hospitals and one for outpatient settings?

A: No. What you are referring to is a method of infection control called "body substance isolation"(BSI). OSHA considers only blood and certain other body fluids as "potentially infectious materials". Under the more stringent BSI system, all body fluids are considered infectious. Although some hospitals have opted to use the BSI system, it is certainly not mandatory.

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