What Employers Must Know About OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens Standards

All employers are required to have an Exposure Control Plan which identifies job classifications, tasks, and procedures where there is occupational exposure to Bloodborne pathogens. This plan must be available to employees and reviewed and updated annually.

Safety Devices: Employer must evaluate medical devices with enginerred sharps injury protections otherwise known as safety devices. Employers must use appropriate, effective, and commercially available safety devices. Front-line employees are to be involved in the evaluation and selection process of safety devices.

Hepatitis B Vaccination: Employers must offer free hepatitis B vaccinations to all employees with occupational exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM).

Other Controls: Employers must ensure that employees comply with Standard Precautions (also know as universal precautions). Provide and ensure the use of appropriate personal protective equipment, such as gloves, gowns, lab coats, face shields or masks and eye protection, and mouthpieces, resuscitation bags, pocket masks, or other ventilation devices. And ensure that contaminated sharps are disposed of in proper sharps disposal containers.

Post-Exposure Incident Procedures: Employers must establish a procedure for post-exposure evaluation and follow-up. Documentation of exposure must include: the route of exposure and other circumstances, and identify the source individual where feasible. Employers must offer post-exposure medical evaluation by a healthcare professional at no cost to employees and must test the source individual’s blood for BBPs where possible, and test the exposed employee’s blood after consent is obtained. Employers must ensure the provision of post-exposure medication when medically indicated and as recommended by the treating physician in accordance to the most recent CDC guidelines.

Training: The training of employees with occupational exposure must include the following elements: 1) An accessible copy of the BBP standard (29 CFR 1910.1030); 2) Information on the epidemiology and symptoms of bloodborne diseases; 3) Information on modes of transmission of BBPs; 4) Description of employer’s Exposure Control Plan and how to get a copy; 5) How to recognize tasks that may involve exposure to blood or OPIM; 6) Use and limitations of methods to reduce exposure, including enginerring controls, work practices, and personal protective equipment; 7) Information on the hepatitis B vaccine; 8) what to do and whom to contact after an exposure; 9) information on post-exposure evaluation and follow-up; 10) an opportunity for interactive questions and answers.

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