The Third Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that healthcare employers must not only pay for the cost of the medical evaluations and vaccinations for workers who have had a bloodborne pathogen exposure, but also must (1) reimburse workers for transportation expenses incurred to obtain care, and (2) compensate workers for their non-work hours spent receiving initial or follow-up bloodborne pathogen exposure treatments. Secretary of Labor v. Beverly Healthcare-Hillview, No. 06-4810 (3d Cir. Sept. 4, 2008).
This ruling confirmed OSHA'sDirector of Compliance Programs opinion letter dated July 7, 1999, which provided that (1) transportation costs incurred for medical evaluations and procedures including the hepatitis B vaccine and vaccination series and post-exposure evaluation and follow-up, including prophylaxis, must be covered by the employer; and (2) when receiving the hepatitis B vaccine or commuting to have it administered, employees must be considered "on-duty" for compensation purposes.
Neither the court nor the opinion letter offers guidance with respect to the compensation rate to be paid to former employees receiving initial or follow-up bloodborne pathogen exposure treatments.