In order to prevent exposures to the hepatitis "B" virus (HBV) and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), commonly known as AIDS, an employer must have an infectious disease control plan and comply with the law (OSHA 29CFR1910.1030).
The following is a brief outline of the requirements of the bloodborne pathogen standard:
- Who Is Covered by the Standard? – Any employer who is regulated by OSHA and has at least one employee who has "occupational exposure" to potentially infectious material. Any employee who is trained to administer first aid on the job (OSHA 29CFR1910.151) is considered to have "occupational exposure" to potentially infectious material.
- Potentially Infectious Material – Any human body fluid or tissue that could be contaminated with a bloodborne pathogen.
- Exposure Control Plan – The employer is required to develop a written exposure control plan that describes:
- The potential exposures
- Precautions to be taken to minimize exposure
- Implementation of the standard
This plan must be made available to employees who have an occupational exposure, and to OSHA upon request. It is to be reviewed and updated annually.
- Training – Employers must ensure that all employees who have occupational exposure participate in a training program conducted by a qualified person during work hours at no expense to the employee. A statement signed and dated by the employee should be maintained by the employer as training documentation. The annual training must contain certain elements required by the standard.
- Personal Protective Equipment – The employer must provide appropriate personal protective equipment (gloves, gowns, face shields, goggles, mouthpieces, etc.) to employees who have occupational exposure.
- HBV Vaccination – The employer must make the hepatitis B vaccination series available to employees who may have an occupational exposure. This will be at no cost to the employee.
- Medical Records – The employer shall maintain a medical record for each employee whose job involves occupational exposures to blood or other potentially infectious materials. Medical records shall be maintained for duration of employment plus thirty (30) years.
Important Note: You are urged to contact your applicable state and federal regulatory offices for more details of the Bloodborne Pathogen Standard and its requirements. See OSHA 3130, "Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens" (available at the indicated link, if you have if you have Adobe® Acrobat® Reader software, or order it through the OSHA web site’s Publications Order Form.)