Bloodborne Pathogens Course

Training is ideally determined by the education level, language, vocabulary and literacy of all prospective employees that are being trained. Additionally, all employees must be provided with annual training within a single calendar year of their last training session.

The employer has a duty to train every employee on the risks of Occupational Exposure in accordance with the specified requirements of the appropriate section. Training must be free of cost for each employee and provided solely during working hours. The employer must also provide additional training for changing work tasks, new procedures and responsibilities, as well as training based on new and emerging technologies. This training session must introduce new exposure risks by addressing any new changes within the field itself.


Please review the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard definitions.

View Definitions

Assistant Secretary – shorthand for the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, or their designated representative.

Blood – human blood including the components thereof and any products created with human blood.

Bloodborne Pathogens – any microorganism that, when exposed to human blood, can cause illness or disease. Some examples of bloodborne pathogens include human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV) in addition to other similar diseases.

Clinical Laboratory – any work environment that is used to screen blood and other possibly infectious substances for diagnostic purposes.

Contaminated – a situation that occurs when there are infectious materials, such as blood, believed to be present on any surface or item.

Contaminated Laundry – linens or other laundry items that might contain sharps or that have been exposed to or contain human blood or another possible substance that could be infectious.

Contaminated Sharps – an item that contains an infectious substance and can also break the skin. Some examples include any broken glass tubes, vials, glasses, needles, dental wires, or scalpels.

Decontamination – the action of removing any infectious substance. Both physical and chemical means can be employed to remove blood or other pathogens from surfaces and items to ensure that they cannot be transmitted. It is also used to ensure that items are safe to dispose of, use, or handle.

Director – shorthand for the person who holds the position of the Director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or their designated representative.

Engineering Controls – protocol steps that are put into place to decrease the likelihood of contamination. Some examples include needless systems, sharps with built-in protection, altered medical devices, sheathed needles, and containers for safe disposal of sharps. The purpose of these measures is to decrease or eliminate the chance of bloodborne pathogens becoming a workplace hazard.

Exposure Incident – an incident that occurs as an employee is performing their regular duty. The employee comes into contact with a possible infectious substance or blood in their eye, mucous membranes, mouth, or non-intact skin.

Handwashing Facilities – the area where employees have direct access to clean, potable water, a disinfectant or cleanser, and air-drying machines or personal paper towels.

Licensed Healthcare Professional – the title of a person who has fulfilled the legal requirements that allow them to perform the actions associated with paragraph (f) of the Hepatitis B Vaccination and Post-exposure Evaluation and Follow-up protocols

HBV – an abbreviation for hepatitis B that is caused by the HB virus. This virus causes an infection in the liver that can become quite serious in some people. While there is a preventative vaccine for the virus, there is no cure at this time.

HIV – an abbreviation for the human immunodeficiency virus. HIV is a virus that can lead to the onset of AIDS. Because of the damage that it causes to the immune system, it can lead to death. There is no current cure for HIV although a lot of progress is being made with anti-retrovirus drugs.

Needleless systems – a system that does not require the use of needles when performing the following tasks:

  1. Collection or withdrawal of bodily fluids once initial venous or arterial access is made;
  2. Administration of fluids and medication; or
  3. Other procedures that involve the chance of exposure to bloodborne pathogens.

Occupational Exposure – the exposure to blood pathogens or other possibly infectious substances that can be expected to happen as one performs their employment duties.

Other Potentially Infectious Materials (OPIM)

  1. Body fluids including but not limited to: amniotic fluid, pleural fluid, semen, saliva in dental procedures, body fluid contaminated with blood, peritoneal fluid, pericardial fluid, vaginal secretions, synovial fluid, cerebrospinal fluid, fluids in situations when it is difficult or impossible to determine different body fluids;
  2. Unfixed tissue or organ that is taken from a human (alive or deceased); and
  3. Cells or tissues that contain HIV, organ cultures, and solutions or other mediums that contain HBV or HIV; and tissues, organs, blood, and fluids taken from animals that have been infected with HBV or HIV for experimental purposes.

Parenteral – the action of using needles, biting, abrasions or cuts to pierce mucous membranes.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – specialized clothing utilized by an employee for hazard protection. Any “regular” clothes that are worn to work would not fall under this definition if they do not have the ability to protect the wearer from harm and biomedical hazards.

Production Facility – a facility that produces HIV or HBV on an industrial scale.

Regulated Waste – any waste product that contains items that have possible contamination or contain blood or other infectious materials.

Research Laboratory – a laboratory that uses or produces a high volume of HBV or HIV. The volume at a research laboratory is less than that produced at a production facility.

Sharps with engineered sharps injury protections – a device that is used to withdraw blood or fluids that has been engineered with built-in safety systems to protect an employee utilizes the device to access a vein or artery.

Source Individual – the living or dead person who is a carrier of infection to employees that interact with their body, remains, or organs removed from the body.

Sterilize – a common practice that is used to remove microbes and resistant endospores from items and devices in order to reduce the risk of harm.

Universal Precautions – a widely used protocol that is put in place to minimize infection from bloodborne pathogens including HBV and HIV.

Work Practice Controls – any effort that is implemented to reduce an employee’s exposure to potential harm by changing the way that common work practices are performed carried out when working with bloodborne pathogens.