All occupational exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials is regulated under OSHA’s (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) Boodborne Pathogens Standard, 29 CFR 1910.1030 (Code of Federal Regulations). Occupational exposure means reasonably anticipated skin, eye, mucous membrane or parenteral contact with blood or OPIM that may result from the performance of an employee's duties. The standard mandates the use of Universal Precautions as an approach to exposure control. According to this concept, all human blood and certain human body fluids are treated as infectious for HIV, HBV and other bloodborne pathogens. The universal precautions concept is only one part of the overall plan to reduce exposures. Other methods of control include engineering controls that isolate or remove the bloodborne pathogens hazard from the workplace (e.g., self-sheathing needles or needleless systems), work practice controls that alter the manner in which a task is performed, use of personal protective equipment, receipt of the hepatitis B vaccine and training in exposure control.
Potentially infectious materials as defined in the standard are:
- human blood, blood components and blood products;
- semen, vaginal secretions;
- cerebrospinal fluid, synovial fluid, pleural fluid;
- pericardial fluid, peritoneal fluid, amniotic fluid;
- saliva in dental procedures;
- blood-contaminated body fluids, unknown body fluids;
- unfixed human tissues or organs (other than intact skin);
- HIV- or HBV-containing cell, organ, tissue cultures, culture mediums or other solutions; and
- blood, organs or other tissue from animals infected with HIV or HBV.
It is the responsibility of the employer to make the hepatitis B vaccine available, at no cost, to all employees who have potential for occupational exposure. All post-exposure evaluations and follow-up will also be provided to employees at no cost. Employers must have documentation that all at risk employees have been offered the hepatitis B vaccine. Contact UEHC (356-3631) to schedule an appointment to receive the vaccine. Declination forms are available from the EHS website or UEHC; send completed forms to UEHC, 1097-1 Boyd Tower.