ABSA's Response to the "Needlestick Safety Prevention Act"

a letter written by John H. Keene, Dr.PH, CBSP (ABSA)
President, American Biological Safety Association
17 October 2000

The Honorable Cass Ballenger
Chairman, House Education and the Workforce
Subcommittee on Workforce Protections
2181 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
October 17, 2000

Dear Chairman Ballenger,

The American Biological Safety Association (ABSA) is an organization of professionals who practice biological safety in a wide variety of academic, industrial, and government work environments. We have many members in the United States, Canada, and other parts of the world. ABSA is recognized as the leading authority on biological safety in the world.

ABSA has participated in the development of many national and international regulations and guidelines. We have been active in the development of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) bloodborne pathogens standard and the proposed OSHA tuberculosis standard. ABSA has also provided input to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Transportation in the development of their requirements and guidelines.

We have reviewed your bill, H.R. 5178, the "Needlestick Safety Prevention Act". There are a number of commendable provisions in this bill. It notes that the proper use of safer medical devices can help reduce the risk of bloodborne pathogens exposures. These can be effective engineering controls for these workplace hazards. The bill would require the recording of all injuries from needle-bearing devices, including information on the device involved. This would greatly aid in the tracking, investigation, and prevention of these types of injuries. It recognizes the need for training and education in the safe work practices and the use of the needle safety device. Training in both of these areas is critical if these bloodborne pathogen exposures are to be successfully avoided. Finally, the bill provides for employee involvement in the evaluation and selection process. This makes for a more effective process, and it aids in employee acceptance of the result of this process.

We support and commend this legislation. We wish you well in seeking its passage.


John Keene, Dr. PH, RBP, CBSP (ABSA)
President, American Biological Safety Association

John H. Keene, ABSA's Response to the "Needlestick Safety Prevention Act", American Biological Safety Association (17 October 2000),

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