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Bloodborne Pathogen Safety

These safety practices shall be followed where a hazard exists to employees because of potential exposure to bloodborne pathogens. Potential sources of unintended exposure to bloodborne pathogens may occur while performing campus duties or, in the process of rendering minor first aid to an injured employee.

Bloodborne Pathogen Safety Procedures

  • Employees should recognize that Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Hepatitis B Virus (HBV), and other pathogens may be present in blood, body fluids and in unfixed tissues or organs.
  • HBV is highly contagious and represents the greatest risk for exposure of the bloodborne pathogens. HBV is durable and can live for 7 days outside the body.
  • Body fluids of concern are blood, semen, vaginal secretions, cerebrospinal fluid, synovial fluid, pleural fluid, saliva from dental procedures, any body fluids with visible blood, and any unidentifiable body fluid. Feces and vomit should also be considered potentially infectious, since they may contain blood which is not easily visible.
  • Body fluids which are generally NOT considered potentially infectious include nasal secretions, sputum, sweat, tears, and urine.
  • Pathogens can enter the body through cuts, nicks, skin abrasions, and the mucous membranes of the mouth, eyes, or nose. Unintentional needle pricks and broken glassware are other potential modes of transmission.
  • Personnel protective equipment should be used in areas where unintended exposure may occur during an employee’s campus job duties.
  • All blood or other body fluids of concern, as described above, should be assumed to be infectious. Universal Precautions should be followed when working with these potentially infectious materials.
  • Universal Precautions to be followed include:
    • Wear impervious gloves. Latex, neoprene, or other impervious materials are acceptable. Leather gloves do NOT offer protection from infectious agents. Wash gloves with soap and water or disinfectant before removing.
    • Use disinfectants (10% bleach) on spills before handling. Let 10 % bleach sit on spill for 10 minutes before wiping (or follow manufacturer’s directions for commercial disinfectant).
    • Wash hands immediately after removing gloves. Use soap and water or disinfectant towelettes.
    • Wear an impervious apron or suit if the possibility exists of splashing infectious materials onto exposed skin.
    • Wear eye protection if the possibility exists of splashing infectious materials into your eyes.
    • Wear a face mask if the possibility exists of splashing infectious materials onto your face.
    • Dispose of all contaminated personal protective equipment and clean-up materials in properly labeled Biohazard waste for disposal.
  • If contact with blood or bodily fluids occurs on the skin, begin washing with soap and water. If contacted in eyes, begin flushing eyes for 15 minutes in eye wash or sink.
  • Report all possible exposure incidents to your supervisor immediately. Employees who have had exposure to potentially infectious materials may have a confidential consultation with a physician.
  • An effective vaccine exists to prevent hepatitis B infections. Employees who may be exposed to potentially infectious materials can receive a hepatitis B vaccination.

(Printable PDF version of these Safety Practices)

Code of Safe Practices are prepared by SSU Dept. of Environmental Health and Safety