Bloodborne Pathogens – Overview

OSHA 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 with 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 mission of OSHA is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health.