Bloodborne Pathogens

Identifying the Risk of Exposure

Bloodborne pathogens, infectious microorganisms in the human blood, cause disease. Hepatitis B (HBV), Hepatitis C (HCV) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) are bloodborne pathogens. Workers are typically exposed to these pathogens by needlesticks or other sharp related objects. Many occupations involving workers such as first responders, nurses, housekeeping personnel, healthcare aides, and others are at risk for exposure to bloodborne pathogens.

Controlling Exposure

Employers in related industries should take precautions to reduce the hazards of exposure to these bloodborne pathogens by implementing a control plan for the worksite with details on employee protection measures. The plan must describe how an employer will use engineering and work practice controls, personal protective equipment or clothing, training, medical surveillance, vaccinations, and/or other provisions as required by OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens Standard- 29 CFR 1910.1030– to control or eliminate exposure to these pathogens. The use of safer medical devices, ie. needless devices, shielded needle devices, and plastic capillary tubes, are examples of engineering controls and are the primary means of eliminating or minimizing employee exposure to these pathogens. See our courses related to pathogens.

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