Bloodborne Pathogens and Needlestick Prevention
OSHA's Bloodborne Pathogens Standard (29 CFR 1910.1030) as amended pursuant to the 2000 Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act, is a regulation that prescribes safeguards to protect workers against health hazards related to bloodborne pathogens. It has provisions for exposure control plans, engineering and work practice controls, hepatitis B vaccinations, hazard communication and training, and recordkeeping. The standard imposes requirements on employers of workers who may be exposed to blood or other potentially infectious materials such as certain tissues and body fluids.
Engineering controls are the primary means of eliminating or minimizing employee exposure and include the use of safer medical devices, such as needleless devices, shielded needle devices, and plastic capillary tubes.
Best practices for preventing sharps and needlestick injuries include:
- Plan safe handling and disposal before any procedure.
- Use safe and effective needle alternatives when available.
- Use needles with engineered sharps injury protection (SESIPs).
- Always activate the device’s safety features.
- Do not pass used sharps between workers.
- Do not recap, shear, or break contaminated needles.
- Immediately dispose of contaminated needles in in properly secured, puncture-resistant, closable, leak-proof, labeled sharps containers.
- Complete Bloodborne Pathogens training.
The following information provides discussion on the revised standard.
- Bloodborne Pathogens - OSHA's Bloodborne Pathogens Standard. OSHA Fact Sheet, (January 2011).
- Revision to OSHA's Bloodborne Pathogens Standard - Technical Background and Summary. OSHA, (April 2001). Includes revised information regarding the identification, evaluation, and selection of effective engineering controls, including safer medical devices.
- Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens; Needlestick and Other Sharps Injuries; Final Rule. OSHA Federal Register Final Rules 66:5317-5325, (January 18, 2001). OSHA revised the Bloodborne Pathogens standard in conformance with the requirements of the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act.
- Most Frequently Asked Questions Concerning the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard. OSHA Standard Interpretation, (February 1, 1993; Updated November 1, 2011). Responses to common questions about the bloodborne pathogens standard.
- Quick Reference Guide to the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard. OSHA. Provides answers to frequently asked questions regarding bloodborne pathogen hazards.