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What is required by OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard?

Written by Admin
Posted On January 03, 2024

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is an agency within the US Department of Labor. According to its website, OSHA is charged with ensuring “safe and healthful working conditions for workers by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.” To help protect workers who are likely to be exposed to blood as part of their jobs, OSHA created the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard, a federal law inscribed in the Code of Federal Regulations.

The following are the key points to OSHA's Bloodborne Pathogens Standard:

  • Exposure Control Plan: Employers must establish a comprehensive exposure control plan to address potential occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens.

  • Annual Plan Updates: The exposure control plan must be updated annually to ensure its effectiveness and relevance to current workplace conditions.

  • Universal Precautions: Employers must implement universal precautions, meaning treating all human blood and certain body fluids as if known to be infectious for bloodborne pathogens.

  • Engineering Controls: Identification and use of engineering controls, such as sharps disposal containers and safer medical devices, to minimize or eliminate employee exposure.

  • Work Practice Controls: Identification and enforcement of work practice controls, including practices that reduce the likelihood of exposure (e.g., hand hygiene, appropriate handling of contaminated items).

  • Personal Protective Equipment: Employers are required to provide and ensure the use of personal protective equipment (e.g., gloves, masks) to protect workers from exposure to bloodborne pathogens.

  • Hepatitis B Vaccinations: Employers must make hepatitis B vaccinations available at no cost to all workers with occupational exposure.

  • Post-Exposure Evaluation and Follow-Up: Provision of post-exposure evaluation and follow-up for workers who experience an exposure incident to ensure prompt and appropriate medical attention.

  • Labels and Signs: Use of labels and signs to communicate hazards related to bloodborne pathogens in the workplace.

  • Information and Training: Providing information and training to workers on the risks associated with bloodborne pathogens, preventive measures, and proper response in case of exposure.

  • Medical and Training Records: Maintenance of worker medical and training records, ensuring documentation of vaccinations, training sessions, and other relevant information.

By adhering to these requirements, employers aim to create a safer working environment and reduce the risk of occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens for their employees.

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