What is OSHA: 29 CFR 1910.1030- Bloodborne Pathogens?

06/28/24 By Emily Miller

Exposure to bloodborne pathogens and other potentially infectious materials can be dangerous to anyone in many different occupations. Bloodborne pathogens are infectious microorganisms in human blood that can cause diseases. The three most common bloodborne pathogens are hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Other potentially infectious materials include human body fluids such as semen, vaginal secretions, cerebrospinal fluid, synovial fluid, pleural fluid, pericardial fluid, peritoneal fluid, amniotic fluid, saliva in dental procedures, any body fluid visibly contaminated with blood, and all body fluids in situations where it is difficult or impossible to differentiate between them. It also includes any unfixed tissue or organ (other than intact skin) from a human, whether living or dead, as well as HIV-containing cell or tissue cultures, organ cultures, HIV- or HBV-containing culture medium or other solutions, and blood, organs, or other tissues from experimental animals infected with HIV or HBV.

To help protect against infection and disease, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has standards that require what employers must do to keep their employees safe in the event of exposure to bloodborne pathogens and other potentially infectious materials. One standard, 29 CFR 1910.1030, requires universal precautions to be observed, which is an approach to infection control to treat all human blood and other potentially infectious materials as if they were known to be infectious for HIV, HBV, and other bloodborne pathogens.

Understanding OSHA 29 CFR 1910.1030

OSHA 29 CFR 1910.1030 is vital for protecting employees from serious health risks, ensuring legal compliance, fostering a safe work environment, and minimizing financial and legal liabilities for employers. Key components of this standard include:

  • Exposure Control Plan: Employers must develop a written plan detailing protective measures to eliminate or minimize exposure to bloodborne pathogens.
  • Methods of Compliance: This includes universal precautions, engineering and work practice controls, personal protective equipment (PPE), and proper housekeeping.
  • Hepatitis B Vaccination: Employers must offer the hepatitis B vaccine to employees at risk of exposure at no cost.
  • Post-Exposure Evaluation and Follow-Up: Procedures must be in place for employees who experience an exposure incident.
  • Communication of Hazards: This includes proper labeling of biohazard materials and training employees on the risks and prevention methods.

Exposure and Protection

Workers in many occupations, such as first responders, housekeeping personnel, nurses, and other healthcare personnel, may be at risk for exposure to bloodborne pathogens. Exposure can come from a multitude of incidents, such as sharps and needlestick injuries while disposing of used needles, as well as blood and bodily fluid spills.

OSHA 29 CFR 1910.1030 standardizes safeguards to protect workers against health hazards related to bloodborne pathogens in the workplace.

Preventing Sharps and Needlestick Injuries

Under the standard, the best practices to prevent sharps and needlestick injuries include:

  • Safe handling and disposal before any procedure
  • Use safe and effective needle alternatives when available
  • Use needles with engineered sharps injury protection (SESIPs)
  • Always activate the device’s safety features
  • Do not pass used sharps between workers
  • Do not recap, shear, or break contaminated needles
  • Immediately dispose of contaminated needles in properly secured, puncture-resistant, closable, leak-proof, and labeled sharps containers
  • Complete bloodborne pathogens training

Training and Recordkeeping Requirements

Employers must provide comprehensive training on bloodborne pathogens to all employees with occupational exposure. This training should cover the risks, prevention methods, and the employer’s exposure control plan. Training must be conducted upon initial assignment and annually after that. Employers are also required to maintain records of employee training, medical records related to exposure incidents, and the exposure control plan.

Hepatitis B Vaccination

Employers are required to offer the hepatitis B vaccination series to all employees who have occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens at no cost to the employee. Employees may decline the vaccination, but the employer must keep a record.

Decontamination and Sanitation

In compliance with the standard, when there is occupational exposure to blood and bodily fluids, employers must provide, at no cost to employees, appropriate, readily accessible personal protective equipment that prevents blood or other infectious materials from reaching employees’ skin, clothes, eyes, mouth, or mucous membranes during normal use.

Additionally, contaminated work surfaces must be decontaminated with an appropriate disinfectant after a spill cleanup. Employers must also provide a means to sanitize hands and skin, such as antiseptic wipes and soap.

How can Safetec help?

At Safetec of America, we can offer you the resources and products needed to keep your workplace safe and OSHA-compliant.

Our Universal Precaution Compliance Kit combines personal protection and cleanup items mandated by OSHA, the CDC, and State Health Departments. Our U.P. spill kit complies with 29 CFR 1910.1030 and is designed to aid in the cleanup, transportation, and disposal of potentially infectious blood and body fluid spills.

Spill kits are a key component in protecting employees in the case of a spill and exposure. With our OSHA-compliant U.P. spill kit, we can help you protect your workplace and employees from potentially hazardous exposure to bloodborne pathogens other potentially infectious materials.

Additional Resources

For more detailed information, visit OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens Standard page. For guidelines on best practices, the CDC provides comprehensive resources here.

Contact Us for Assistance

If you have specific questions about compliance or need personalized advice, please get in touch with us at 1-800-456-7077 or sales@safetec.com.

For over 30 years, Safetec, located in Buffalo, N.Y., has been a leading American-made manufacturer of infection control, first aid, and over-the-counter products. All our over-the-counter products are made in our FDA-regulated facility, manufactured under Good Manufacturing Practices, and distributed from our nearby distribution center.