HR Support on Bloodborne Pathogens Safety Standards in the Workplace

Editor's Note: Protect employees from diseases transmitted through blood exposure.

Melissa BoyceOverview: One component of workplace safety relates to how employers handle blood exposure. To help regulate blood transferred diseases - most notably, HIV - OSHA created the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard to help protect workers who might be exposed to blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) while performing their job duties.

As part of the requirements of the standard, employers must keep records of any worker exposed or potentially exposed to blood or OPIM. They also must have an exposure control plan for each individual worksite that sets forth in detail what is being done to protect workers.

The Bloodborne Pathogens Standard applies to occupational exposure to blood and other bodily fluids. Exposure caused by participation in a first-aid program is considered occupational, but voluntary help offered by one employee to the other does not count as occupational.

In addition, the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act protects employees who work with needles. Under this Act, employers must utilize safer technology and keep a sharps injury log.

Author: Melissa Gonzalez Boyce, JD, Legal Editor

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    The Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act (NSPA) was enacted to codify and strengthen the guidelines set forth in OSHA's Bloodborne Pathogens Standard as it relates to reducing the incidence of accidental needle and other sharp (non-needle) equipment injuries in healthcare and other occupational settings where employees are exposed to blood or other potentially infectious bodily fluids, tissue or cell material. The NSPA imposes three requirements on covered employers. This Legal Insight will explore these requirements at a greater length.

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About This Topic

HR guidance on preventing exposure to bloodborne pathogens.