Standards FAQ Details | Joint Commission
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Friday 2:36 CST, February 12, 2016

Standards FAQ Details


Infection Prevention and Control (IC) (Hospital and Hospital Clinics / Hospitals)

Laundering of surgical scrubs and other surgical attire
Current | October 22, 2013
Does the Joint Commission require employers to commercially launder surgical scrubs and other surgical attire?

For surgical scrubs or other surgical attire not visibly contaminated, organizations can choose between home laundering (acceptable per CDC/HICPAC) or a healthcare-accredited laundry facility (recommended per AORN).  For all visibly contaminated clothing, the employer must be responsible for laundering per OSHA standards. Your organization should develop a policy addressing how they will manage this process and what guidelines they are following which will drive our survey process.

  • IC.01.05.01 EP 1 requires organizations to follow evidence-based national guidelines.  The two main guidelines regarding this topic do not agree, therefore an organization may choose one or the other:

    • CDC/HICPAC Recommendations – Laundry and Bedding I. Employer Responsibilities A. Employers must launder workers’ personal protective garments that are contaminated with blood or other potentially infectious materials. (OSHA: 29 CFR 1910.1030). There is no stated guidance on garments that are not contaminated with blood or other potentially infectious materials.

    • AORN's most recent Recommended Practices - Recommendation V states, “Surgical attire should be laundered in a health care-accredited laundry facility.”

  • LD.04.01.01 EP 2 requires compliance with law and regulation.  TheOSHA Bloodborne Pathogen Act requires all visibly contaminated clothing, including scrubs or personally owned items, be laundered by the employer at no cost to the employee.  See section 1910.1030(d)(3)(iv).