Does a carpeted surface need to be covered by a “rubber mat” to be OSHA compliant?
Is blood not an issue on the carpet? Does OSHA require a surface to be “wiped clean”?
The first question falls under the purview of OSHA’s Walking-Working Standard (Slips, Trips and Fall). Slips, Trips and Falls constitute 15% of all accidents in the general industry according to OSHA. Under these regulations, it’s the duty of the employer to provide a working surface that is not slippery. Since carpets do not offer a slippery surface, it is perfectly okay not to be covered. Rubber mats are typically used on wet surfaces to prevent slips and falls. Covering the carpet with a rubber mat may perhaps increase the chances of a fall. According to OSHA, improper mats can be tripping hazards. Therefore, tripping hazards should be considered when using rubber mats on carpets.
To answer the second question, OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogen Standard 29 CFR 1910.1030 is to protect employees from infection caused by bloodborne pathogens such as HIV, HBV, HCV, etc. Accidental needlesticks, cuts, bruises, spills and splashes are different ways employees can contract these infections. Blood spills on carpet should be cleaned up immediately since blood seeped deep into the carpet surface can likely only be removed through commercial deep cleaning. Any area of spills must be isolated and warning signs provided to indicate other employees of the spills.
While not an OSHA requirement, since removing up blood from carpet is a lot more difficult than it is from a hard surface, work areas with non-porous flooring is generally recommended over carpet.
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