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FAQ: OSHA Hepatitis B Vaccination Requirement

Employers must make the hepatitis B vaccination available to staff who have reasonably anticipated contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials during performance of their jobs. 

These staff are considered to have occupational exposure and to be at risk of being infected. Infected staff face a risk for liver ailments that can be fatal, including cirrhosis of the liver and primary liver cancer. A small percentage of adults who get hepatitis B never fully recover and remain chronically infected. In addition, infected individuals can spread the virus to others through contact with their blood and other body fluids. 

The Hepatitis B vaccination is recognized as an effective defense against infection. 

Staff must be informed that the vaccine and vaccination are offered at no cost to the worker. The vaccination must be offered after the staff is trained and within 10 days of initial assignment to a job where there is occupational exposure, unless the staff has previously received the vaccine series, antibody testing has revealed that the worker is immune, or the vaccine is contraindicated for medical reasons. 

OSHA requires that an employer must develop an exposure control plan and implement use of universal precautions and control measures, such as engineering controls, work practice controls, and personal protective equipment to protect all workers with occupational exposure. 

The Center for Disease Control has also issued information for Health Care Workers

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