Skip to main content

Bloodborne Pathogens

Bloodborne Pathogen Requirements

OSHA regulates occupational exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials in its Bloodborne Pathogen Standard.

Bloodborne Pathogens are pathogenic microorganisms that are present in human blood and can cause disease in humans. These pathogens include, but are not limited to, hepatitis B virus (HBV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).  Other Potentially Infectious Materials include (1) 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; (2) Any unfixed tissue or organ (other than intact skin) from a human (living or dead); and (3) 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.

Biohazard Image

All individuals working with blood, bloodborne pathogens or OPIM must adhere to the following requirements:

  • Engineering and work practice controls shall be used to eliminate or minimize employee exposure. Where occupational exposure remains after institution of these controls, personal protective equipment shall also be used.
  • Universal precautions shall be observed to prevent contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials. Under circumstances in which differentiation between body fluid types is difficult or impossible, all body fluids shall be considered potentially infectious materials.
  • When there is occupational exposure appropriate personal protective equipment such as, but not limited to, gloves, gowns, laboratory coats, face shields or masks and eye protection, and mouthpieces, resuscitation bags, pocket masks, or other ventilation devices must be used.
  • All workers shall ensure that the worksite is maintained in a clean and sanitary condition. Cleaning schedules and decontamination procedures must be developed.
  • Warning labels shall be affixed to containers of regulated waste, refrigerators and freezers containing blood or other potentially infectious material; and other containers used to store, transport or ship blood or other potentially infectious materials.
  • GVSU must train each employee with occupational exposure at no cost to the employee and during working hours.  It must be done at the time of initial assignment to tasks where occupational exposure may take place and at least annually thereafter.
  • Each employee must be familiar with the Exposure Control Plan designed to eliminate or minimize employee exposure.