Workers in many different occupations are at risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens, including Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and HIV/AIDS.  This exposure may be through needlesticks, sharps injuries, mucous membranes, and skin exposures.  First aid team members, housekeeping personnell in some settings, and nurses are examples of workers who may be at risk of exposure to blood and other body fluids.

In 1991, OSHA issued the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard to protect workers from this risk of exposure. In 2001, in response to the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act, OSHA revised the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1030. The revised standard clarifies the need for employers to select safer needle devices and to involve employees in identifying and choosing these devices. The updated standard also requires employers to maintain a log of injuries from contaminated sharps.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration promulgates the standard to eliminate or minimize occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens. OSHA has made a determination that employees face a significant health risk as the result of occupational exposure to blood and other potentially infectious materials because they may contain bloodborne pathogens. The Agency further concludes that this exposure can be minimized or eliminated using a combination of engineering and work practice controls, personal protective clothing and equipment, training, medical surveillance, Hepatitis B vaccination, signs and labels, and other provisions.

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