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Bloodborne Pathogens and OSHA Compliance

May 17, 2021

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) enacted the Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP) Standard in 1991 to protect healthcare employees and other workers from risk exposures to bloodborne pathogens. OSHA inspectors have the authority to fine organizations up to $70,000 in fines for non-compliance. In this blog, we explain best practices for complying with OSHA BBP medical waste disposal requirements.

The OSHA defines bloodborne pathogens as any “pathogenic microorganisms that are present in human blood and can cause disease in humans. These pathogens include, but are not limited to, hepatitis B virus (HBV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).”

Annual Training

Annual bloodborne pathogen training is legally required for workers who may be at risk for contact with infectious materials. Employees should receive instruction on procedures for preventing exposure to bloodborne pathogens and remediation measures if exposure occurs. Training should be done by an individual “knowledgeable in the subject matter covered by the elements in the training program and be familiar with how the course topics apply to the workplace that the training will address.” BBP training records must be kept for three years from an employee’s training date. Online OSHA compliance training is an effective tool for helping your organization meet its annual BBP training objectives.

Safety and Exposure Control Plans

OSHA requires that employers maintain specific safety and exposure control plans, including hazard communication. These should include the name, department, and task of each employee where the potential for occupational exposure to bodily fluids exists. Your organization’s safety and exposure control plan should be updated every year and available online or in written form to all employees.

Sharps Disposal Management

Improperly disposed of sharps can cause injuries that expose employees to bloodborne pathogens. OSHA estimates that nearly 6 million healthcare workers are at risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens from sharps-related injuries at any given time. As a result, sharps waste management is a major component of BBP Standard compliance. Sharps containers must be closeable, spill-proof, shatter- and puncture-resistant, and labeled with the universal “biohazard” symbol. Partnering with a licensed medical waste disposal company can reduce the risk of sharps injury to your staff and ensure compliance with OSHA’s BBP standard.

GreenServ provides compliant, sustainable, and secure medical waste disposal services to clients throughout Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee. To learn more about our OSHA compliance solutions, please call us at 662-533-0940 or complete the form on this page.

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