OSHA: Hepatitis B Vaccination Requirement

OSHA's Bloodborne Pathogens Standard requires that employers offer the hepatitis B vaccination series to any employee who is reasonably anticipated to have exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials. The offer must be made within 10 days of employment and at no cost to the employee.

The only legitimate reasons that the hepatitis B vaccination may NOT have been completed by the employee are: 

  1. The employee previously has received the series of three injections of hepatitis B vaccine, or six injections in the case of an employee who did not respond to the primary vaccination series.
  2. Antibody testing shows that the employee is immune. An employer can make prescreening for the antibody available to employees if there is no cost associated with such screening. Employees, however, do not have to accept any prescreening if they wish to begin the actual hepatitis vaccination.
  3. The vaccination cannot be given for medical reasons.
  4. The employee has signed a declination form.

If reasons 1, 2, or 3 are used as the basis for not providing the hepatitis B vaccination, the reason must be documented clearly in the employee's medical record. If the employee declines, then the signed declination form must be in the record. The easiest method to document properly why the hepatitis B vaccination was not given is simply to have the employee sign the declination form regardless of the reason. The declination form provides a clear and written record of why the vaccination was not performed.

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