Bloodborne Pathogen Standard
The full text of OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens standard, published in Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations (29 CFR) 1910.1030, spells out what employers must do to protect workers whose jobs put them at risk of coming into contact with blood and other body fluids that can carry infectious materials. According to OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogen Fact Sheet, the standard requires employers to:
- Establish a written exposure control plan, which will eliminate or minimize employee exposures. Update the plan annually to include safer medical devices that reduce or eliminate the exposure. Document in the plan which devices have been considered and incorporated, and that frontline workers have been asked to identify, evaluate and select engineering controls.
- Use engineering controls (i.e., sharps disposal containers, self-sheathing needles, and sharps with engineered sharps-injury protection or needleless systems.
- Enforce work practice controls. These change the way the task is performed to reduce risk of exposure; such things as appropriate procedures for washing hands, disposing of sharps, packaging lab specimens, handling laundry and cleaning contaminated material.
- Provide personal protective equipment (PPE), i.e., gloves, gowns and masks. Employers must clean, repair and replace this equipment as needed.
- Make available Hepatitis B vaccinations to all employees with occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens within 10 days of assignment to the job.
- Provide post-exposure follow-up to any worker who experiences an exposure, as no cost to the worker. Items included in the follow-up can be found on OSHA’s Web site.
- Use labels and signs to communicate hazards. The standard requires warning labels affixed to containers used to store or transplant blood or other potentially infectious materials. Facilities may use red bags or containers instead of labels. Employers must also post signs to identify restricted areas.
- Provide information and training to employees. Employers must ensure workers receive training that covers the dangers of bloodborne pathogens, preventive practices, and post-exposure procedures. This training must be given on initial assignment to the job and at least annually thereafter. Lab and production facility workers must receive specialized initial training.
- Maintain employee medical and training records. The employer also must keep a Sharps Injury Log unless classified as an exempt industry under OSHA’s standard of Recording and Reporting Occupations Injuries and Illnesses.
Bloodborne Pathogen Standard 1910.1030(d)(1) requires:
- employees to observe Universal Precautions to prevent contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM).
- under circumstances in which differentiation between body fluid types is difficult or impossible, all body fluids shall be considered potentially infectious materials.
- employees treat all blood and other potentially infectious materials with appropriate precautions such as:
- use gloves, masks, and gowns if blood or OPIM exposure is anticipated.
- use engineering and work practice controls to limit exposure.
OPIM is defined in 1910.1030(b) as:
- The following human body fluids: semen, vaginal secretions, cerebrospinal fluid, synovial fluid, pleural fluid, pericardial fluid, peritoneal fluid, amniotic fluid, saliva in dental procedures, any body fluid that is visibly contaminated with blood, and all body fluids in situations where it is difficult or impossible to differentiate between body fluids;
- Any unfixed tissue or organ (other than intact skin) from a human (living or dead); and
- HIV-containing cell or tissue cultures, organ cultures, and HIV- or HBV-containing culture medium or other solutions; and blood, organs, or other tissues from experimental animals infected with HIV or HBV.
Hospital eTool—HealthCare Wide Hazards Module: (Lack of) Universal Precautions
OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Web Page
OSHA Needlesticks Web page
Protect Staff From Bloodborne Pathogen Contamination Fact Sheet