Bloodborne Pathogens and Needlestick Prevention
The CDC estimates that 5.6 million workers in the health care industry and related occupations are at risk of occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and others. All occupational exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) places workers at risk for infection from bloodborne pathogens. OSHA defines blood to mean human blood, human blood components, and products made from human blood. Other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) means: (1) The following human body fluids: semen, vaginal secretions, cerebrospinal fluid, synovial fluid, pleural fluid, pericardial fluid, peritoneal fluid, amniotic fluid, saliva in dental procedures, any body fluid that is visibly contaminated with blood, and all body fluids in situations where it is difficult or impossible to differentiate between body fluids; (2) Any unfixed tissue or organ (other than intact skin) from a human (living or dead); and (3) HIV-containing cell or tissue cultures, organ cultures, and HIV- or HBV-containing culture medium or other solutions; and blood, organs, or other tissues from experimental animals infected with HIV or HBV. The following references aid in recognizing workplace hazards associated with bloodborne pathogens.
- Hospitals. OSHA eTool. Focuses on some of the hazards and controls found in the hospital setting and describes standard requirements as well as recommended safe work practices for employee safety and health.
- Bloodborne Infectious Diseases: HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Workplace Safety and Health Topic.
- Bloodborne Pathogens - OSHA's Bloodborne Pathogens Standard. OSHA Fact Sheet, (2011).
- National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Healthcare-associated Infections (HAI). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- EPINet. The University of Virginia, International Healthcare Worker Safety Center. The Exposure Prevention Information Network (EPINet) system provides standardized methods for recording and tracking percutaneous injuries and blood and body fluid contacts. EPINet consists of a Needlestick and Sharp Injury Report, a Blood and Body Fluid Exposure Report, and software for entering, accessing, and analyzing the data from the forms.
- Bloodborne Pathogens - Protecting Yourself When Handling Contaminated Sharps. OSHA Fact Sheet, (January 2011).
- Sharps Injuries among Hospital Workers in Massachusetts, 2010 --- Findings from the Massachusetts Sharps Injury Surveillance System. Massachusetts Department of Public Health, (March 2012).
- Medical & Dental Offices: A Guide to Compliance with OSHA Standards. OSHA Publication 3187, (2004). Provides a glimpse of the most frequently found hazards in medical and dental offices.
- Disposal of Contaminated Needles and Blood Tube Holders Used for Phlebotomy. OSHA Safety and Health Information Bulletin (SHIB), (October 15, 2003). OSHA has concluded that the best practice for prevention of needlestick injuries following phlebotomy procedures is the use of a sharp with engineered sharps injury protection (SESIP), (e.g., safety needle), attached to the blood tube holder and the immediate disposal of the entire unit after each patient's blood is drawn.
- Potential for Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens From Cleaning Needles Used in Allergy Testing Procedures. OSHA Health Information Bulletin (HIB), (September 21, 1995).
- Home Healthcare Workers: How to Prevent Needlestick and Sharps Injuries. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 2012-123, (February 2012).
- Preventing Needlestick Injuries in Health Care Settings. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 2000-108, (November 1999). NIOSH warns that health care workers who use or may be exposed to needles are at increased risk of needlestick injury.
- Selecting, Evaluating, and Using Sharps Disposal Containers. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 97-111, (January 1998). Presents a comprehensive framework for selecting sharps disposal containers and evaluating their efficacy as part of an overall needlestick injury prevention plan, reviews the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) bloodborne pathogens standard and recommends containers on the basis of a site-specific hazard analysis, and establishes criteria and provides tools for evaluating the performance of sharps disposal containers.
- What Every Worker Should Know: How to Protect Yourself From Needlestick Injuries. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 2000-135, (July 1997). Discusses pathogens that pose the most serious health risks.
- Securing Medical Catheters. OSHA Fact Sheet.
- Safer needles rollout study identifies factors for implementation success. At Work, Issue 75, Winter 2014: Institute for Work & Health, Toronto, Canada. Good communication, gradual transition and outside support pave the way for new technology.