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Learn About OSHA Regulations for Bloodborne Pathogens

Written by Mary Salatino

BloodBorne Pathogens

OSHA regulations play a crucial role in ensuring a safe and healthy work environment. In this article, we will explore how the essential aspects of the OSHA bloodborne pathogens standard help individuals and organizations stop the spread of dangerous illnesses.

We’ll help you find online courses in bloodborne pathogen exposure control, including OSHA-compliant safety training for entry-level workers and supervisors.

Understanding Bloodborne Pathogens

Bloodborne pathogens (BBP) are microorganisms present in human blood and certain bodily fluids that can cause diseases in humans. These pathogens include hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Exposure can occur in various occupational settings. Health care and emergency response are obvious examples. You may encounter bodily fluids while working in education, maintenance or other industries, too.

OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.1030 establishes guidelines to protect workers who may be exposed to blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) during their work.

OPIM refers to any bodily fluid, tissue, organ, culture or solution that might be contaminated with blood. If you come into contact with OPIM, you should immediately wash or flush the affected area. It’s also a good idea to seek medical attention and report the exposure to your employer.

The key components of the BBP standard include:

  • Exposure Control Plan (ECP): Employers must develop and implement an Exposure Control Plan that outlines strategies for minimizing BBP hazards in the workplace. This plan should include details on employee training, engineering controls, work practices, personal protective equipment (PPE), post-exposure evaluation and follow-up.
  • Employee training: Employers are responsible for providing training to employees who may be exposed. This training should cover the nature of bloodborne diseases, methods of transmission, prevention strategies and the proper use of protective measures.
  • Universal precautions: Universal precautions treat all blood and OPIM as if they are infectious. This recommended approach ensures a high level of protection for workers and minimizes the risk of exposure.
  • Engineering controls: Employers must implement engineering controls to reduce or eliminate bloodborne pathogens exposure. Examples include sharps disposal containers, safer medical devices and proper ventilation.
  • Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Employers must provide appropriate PPE, such as gloves, gowns, face shields and eye protection, to employees at no cost. Training on the proper use, removal and disposal of PPE is also essential.
  • Hepatitis B vaccination: Employers must offer a hepatitis B vaccination to employees who face occupational exposure to bodily fluids. This vaccination is provided at no cost to the employee.

Who Should Complete BBP Training?

Bloodborne pathogens training is essential for individuals who may be at risk of occupational exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials. That list includes:

  • Health care workers:
    • Doctors, nurses and other medical professionals
    • Laboratory technicians and staff
    • Dentists and dental hygienists
  • First responders:
    • Police officers
    • Firefighters
    • Emergency medical services (EMS) personnel

While those professions include frequent contact with bodily fluids, many other workers may be exposed to biological material on the job. Other careers that may experience BBP or OPIM exposure include:

  • Janitorial and custodial staff: Those responsible for cleaning and maintaining facilities where exposure to blood may occur
  • Tattoo artists and body piercers: Professionals in the body art industry who may come into contact with blood
  • Funeral home workers: Funeral directors and staff involved in handling deceased individuals
  • Correctional officers: Professionals working in correctional facilities
  • Educators and school staff: School nurses and personnel responsible for handling medical incidents
  • Waste management and recycling workers: Individuals who handle and dispose of medical waste
  • Occupational safety and health personnel: Those responsible for ensuring workplace safety and compliance
  • Any worker with potential exposure: Employees in various industries who may come into contact with blood or OPIM during their work

It's important for employers to assess the specific risks in their workplace and determine which employees need training based on their job responsibilities. Standard 29 CFR 1910.1030 requires employers to provide training to all employees who may be reasonably anticipated to encounter BBP as part of their job duties.

If you aren’t sure if your job requires BBP training, ask your employer.

Train with OSHA Education Center

We prioritize the safety and well-being of everyone in the workplace. Our 1-Hour Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control certificate course provides individuals and organizations with the skills required to comply with regulations and effectively manage the risks associated with bloodborne pathogens.

This online course covers key aspects of workplace exposure control. With engaging content and the flexibility of online learning, our course provides a streamlined and accessible way to enhance workplace safety. Enroll now to earn your certificate and learn about regulations for bloodborne pathogens.

Our course features include:

  • Compliant content: Modules are aligned with Standard 29 CFR 1910.1030, ensuring participants understand the importance of following OSHA guidelines for bloodborne pathogen safety.
  • Interactive learning: Our course integrates interactive modules, multimedia presentations and real-world scenarios to enhance comprehension and retention.
  • Flexibility: Participants can access the course at their own pace, from any location with an internet connection, accommodating various schedules and learning preferences.
  • Real-life applications: Case studies and practical examples enable participants to apply what they learn in their specific workplace contexts.

Additional Training Programs

We offer online workplace hazard training courses for workers and supervisors of all experience levels. These include OSHA-authorized 10-Hour Training courses and 30-Hour Training courses.

At the end of the training program, you will receive your official training card from the DOL. Once you earn your official DOL card, it will never expire. Courses are available for construction and general industry.

The general industry program includes a module covering BBP. These lessons contain crucial information about worker rights, hazards and employer responsibilities regarding BBP contact and infectious material safety.

Check out our 10-Hour General Industry course if you are an employee working in health care, emergency services or other industries. Supervisors, senior-level staff and safety professionals should enroll in our 30-Hour General Industry course.