Q: What does OSHA say about reusing tourniquets for blood draws?
A: OSHA doesn’t say anything specific on reusing tourniquets. However, if a used tourniquet meets the definition of “contaminated” as set forth in the Bloodborne Pathogens standard, then it must be decontaminated (or, more likely, discarded) as soon as feasible.
Under the standard, contaminated means “the presence or the reasonably anticipated presence of blood or other potentially infectious materials on an item or surface.”
Contaminated tourniquets pose infection hazards not only to workers, but also to patients. Technically, OSHA is not concerned with patient infections, but those responsible for infection prevention and patient safety in your facility certainly should be.
In short, reusing tourniquets is not absolutely an OSHA violation, but it could be given the specific circumstances of your setting.
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