Bloodborne Pathogen Precautions and PPE Use

Bloodborne Pathogen Precautions and PPE Use

Bloodborne Pathogen are pathogenic microorganisms that can cause a disease in human beings and are present in human blood.  Hepatitis B Virus (HBV), Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) are all examples.


Why are Bloodborne Pathogens included in the Occupational Safety and Health Standards?

Exposure to body fluids in the course of an employee’s duties in the performance of his/her job fall under 1910-1030 Bloodborne Pathogens.

What body fluids and materials are included in 1910-1030?

  • Blood
  • Semen
  • Vaginal Secretions
  • Cerebrospinal fluid
  • Synovial fluid
  • Pleural fluid
  • Pericardial fluid
  • Peritoneal fluid
  • Amniotic fluid
  • Saliva from Dental Procedures
  • Unfixed tissues or organs (not intact skin) from living or dead human beings
  • Cell, tissue or organ cultures that contain HIVCulture mediums or other solutions that contain HBV
  • Tissue, Blood or organs from experimental animals that have been infected with HIV or HBV
  • What type of exposure could require PPE? 

    • Splashes
    • Splatters
    • Droplets
    • Sprays
    • Hand Contact
    • Vascular Access Procedures
    • Touching items or surfaces that could be contaminated with bloodborne pathogens  

    How can an employee know if they have been exposed to bloodborne pathogens?

    There is an approach to infection control when there is the possibility that there will be exposure.  This approach is called Universal Precautions and it is a concept that treats all human blood and certain body fluids as if it is infectious.

    Is there any special clothing or equipment that should be worn when working with body fluid?

    Employees should wear personal protective equipment that will not permit blood or infectious material to pass through to their skin, eyes, mouths, mucus membranes or clothing under normal conditions of use and for the time period that the personal protective equipment is being used.

    Whose responsibility is it to purchase the personal protective equipment for the employee that is working with body fluids that could possibly be contaminated?

    It is the employer’s responsibility to provide employees with personal protective equipment when there is occupational exposure to body fluids and other materials that could be infected with bloodborne pathogens.    

    What type of personal protective equipment should be used when there is risk of exposure to body fluids?

    • Masks
    • Eye and Face Shields
    • Goggles
    • Safety Glasses with side shields
    • Gowns
    • Aprons
    • Lab coats
    • Gloves
    • Protective body clothing
    • Mouthpieces for resuscitation
    • Bloodborne Pathogen Kits filled with protective items

    What should be done with the personal protective equipment after it has been worn by an employee?

    The personal protective equipment should be put in an area in the workplace that has been designated for worn equipment so that it can either be washed, decontaminated or disposed of according to instructions.

    Can the equipment be taken home and washed?

    Any PPE that is exposed to blood and/or body fluids can not be taken home to launder.  It must be either washed on the premises or taken care of by an outside service.

    Are there disinfectants to wash surfaces that could be contaminated with bloodborne pathogens?

    There is the EPA-registered disinfectants that OHSA directs employers to consult regarding bloodborne pathogens.  Click on this page: Brulin (BHC) Six EPA Emerging Viral Pathogen Claim Products.   BruTab 6S®, Bru-Clean TbC 2®, Performex®, Performex RTU®, Patco Quat Clean IV® and Uniquat® Neutral Disinfectant 256 have demonstrated effectiveness against viruses similar to SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) on hard, non-porous surfaces.

    Browse our selection of bloodborne pathogen kits for your safety needs.

    References: United States Department of Labor
                        OSHA Hospital E-Tools

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