Bloodborne Pathogens: What Every Employee Should Know

Bloodborne pathogens are organisms that cause disease when transmitted via blood or other body fluids. They can be found in the bloodstreams of people who are infected with a virus, bacteria, or parasite. Bloodborne pathogens can also be found in human tissue and other body fluids such as semen and vaginal secretions. In order to prevent these diseases from spreading through your workplace, it's important to understand how they're transmitted and how you can protect yourself against exposure.

What are bloodborne pathogens?

Bloodborne pathogens are microorganisms that can be transmitted from one person to another through contact with blood or other bodily fluids. These pathogens include hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV. The following are examples of bloodborne pathogens:

  • Hepatitis B virus (HBV)
  • Hepatitis C virus (HCV)
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

Bloodborne pathogens are transmitted when infected blood gets into broken skin or mucous membranes such as those in the eyes, nose, mouth, and rectum. You can get infected if you come into contact with someone else's infected blood through:

  • Puncture wounds from needles used at work or home; needle sticks during medical procedures; injuries caused by sharp objects such as knives or glass shards; cuts on hands when handling sharp objects such as glassware; cuts from accidents caused by machinery in manufacturing plants such as saws and presses; cuts caused by machinery in industrial settings such as forklifts or trucks carrying heavy loads

Who is at risk?

If you work in a healthcare setting, you are at risk of being exposed to bloodborne pathogens. Anyone who works with blood or other potentially infectious materials is also at risk. This includes:

  • Nurses
  • Doctors
  • Dentists
  • Chiropractors (and their staff)

If you work with children, then you should be aware that they are more likely than adults to get sick from an accidental needle stick or other exposure incident involving a needle-tipped device such as an auto-injector pen that contains epinephrine. In addition, if you work with animals and they bite someone on your watch--you're at risk too!

What are the federal regulations surrounding bloodborne pathogens?

Bloodborne pathogens are the most common cause of occupationally acquired infectious diseases. Infection can be transmitted through contact with infectious blood or other bodily fluids, such as urine and feces.

The federal government has strict regulations surrounding bloodborne pathogens, including:

  • Universal precautions must be followed at all times by anyone working in healthcare settings, whether they're a patient or a staff member. These include washing hands, wearing gloves when appropriate (such as when performing procedures or handling medical equipment), and using barriers (like face shields) when there's a risk of splashes or sprays from contaminated materials such as bodily fluids.
  • Universal precautions also include not sharing personal items like towels or razors; not sitting on chairs that have been used by other patients; asking visitors not to bring flowers into hospital rooms; keeping pens capped and stethoscopes covered when not in use; keeping sharp objects away from patients' reach during examinations/procedures/tests etcetera...

How do you prevent exposure?

You can help prevent exposure by following these guidelines:

  • Use a needle with a safety cap. You should always use new needles for each patient and dispose of them in a puncture-proof container. Never recap a needle after use, as this can cause contamination from recapping or touching other surfaces that are contaminated with bloodborne pathogens. Also ensure that you use the same type of needle for all injections at one site (e.g., intramuscular or subcutaneous).
  • Always use new syringes for each injection, even if you're reusing your sharps container from earlier in the day's procedure; never recap syringes after they've been used on multiple patients or surfaces because doing so may lead to cross-contamination between patients' blood vessels during subsequent procedures. Label all containers holding used sharps as biohazardous waste. Dispose of sharp objects immediately after use into either an approved sharps disposal container or plastic bag containing absorbent material such as kitty litter (to prevent injuries), then seal tightly before placing it into another secure location where no one else can reach it without authorization

They don't recommend wearing a face mask while working with needles.

They recommend wearing gloves and using a sharps container. The also recommends using a biohazard bag for disposal, as well as first aid kits for minor injuries. Hand sanitizer is available in the clinic supply room, which should be kept in an easily accessible location.

First aid kits are available in the clinic supply room and should be kept in an easily accessible location.


As you can see, there are many ways that bloodborne pathogens can be transmitted to workers. It is important that all employees understand the risks and take measures to protect themselves and others.


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