Blood borne Pathogens Standard
Blood borne pathogens are microorganisms such as viruses and bacteria that are presented in the human blood that can cause disease in humans. The most common ones are the hepatitis B virus (HBV), which causes a severe form of Hepatitis in some or acts as a carrier in others, and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS. Blood borne pathogens may be passed on when the microorganisms enter the body through mucus membranes, through breaks in the skin or through needle sticks. In non-medical occupations, exposure is most common when an injured worker’s blood contacts a co-worker rendering first aid. Practicing universal precautions and wearing the proper personal protective equipment will prevent exposure. OSHA estimates that 8 million workers in the healthcare industry and related occupations are at the risks of occupational exposure to blood borne pathogens including, but not limited HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. OSHA published the occupational exposure to Blood borne Pathogens standard on December 6, 1991. The blood borne pathogen standards is located in the title of 29 of the code of federal regulations. It defines requirements to protect workers from occupational exposure to blood borne pathogens. If it is reasonably anticipated that, in the course of their normal job duties, employees could be exposed to human blood/body fluids, then they must be trained in the requirements of the standard. Some of the actions required of employers are:
- establish a written exposure control plan identifying at-risk workers
- specify means to protect and train them
- implement engineering controls
- implement work practice controls
- provide PPE and enforce its use
- offer Hepatitis B vaccination and post exposure follow-up.