Understanding OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens Standard in the US

The OSHA blood-borne pathogen standard is designed to protect employees in the medical industry against contracting diseases that can be spread through blood. These diseases include, but are not limited to, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and The Human Immunodeficiency Virus. This guide will help you to understand both OSHA’s standards and the steps your medical facility can take in order to comply.

What Is OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens Standard?

The OSHA standard for bloodborne pathogens demands a variety of safeguards for medical employees to prevent them from being exposed to the following materials:

  • Blood
  • Bodily fluids
  • Human tissues
  • Amniotic fluid
  • Genital secretions
  • Cerebrospinal fluid

How Does the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act Apply?

The Bloodborne Pathogen Standard was amended to include the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act in 2000. This addition was added to reduce the amount of sharps injuries that expose medical personnel to bloodborne pathogens. Part of the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act requires adopting protections against sharps injuries and using injection devices without needles.

How Can Your Company Comply With the Standard?

The most important step in complying with the Bloodborne pathogens guidelines established by OSHA is to establish an exposure control plan. This plan is a written set of guidelines for your company to follow that explain how to reduce the risk for employees. The list should contain specific lists of job tasks that may increase employee’s exposure to bloodborne pathogens, including those who are at the highest risk for sharps injuries.

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