Bloodborne pathogens are infectious materials in blood that can cause disease when transmitted from an infected individual to another individual through blood and certain body fluids.
Bloodborne pathogens are capable of causing serious illness and death. The three most common illnesses caused by bloodborne pathogens are:
Other commonly recognized pathogens transmitted by body fluids include:
Bloodborne Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is becoming more common in the healthcare setting and may be transmitted primarily by contact with infected patients or surfaces causing mild to serious illness and even death.
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The standard applies to all employees who have occupational exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM). Workers in many occupations, including first responders, housekeeping personnel in some industries, nurses and other healthcare personnel, all may be at risk for exposure to bloodborne pathogens.
You can find more information on recognizing workplace hazards associated with bloodborne pathogens on OSHA's Hazard Recognition Page.
We will be covering each of these topics in the remaining course modules.
Stanley is an employee for a small manufacturing company. One of Stanley's job responsibilities is to respond to medical emergencies that might happen in the warehouse. Stanley has worked for his employer for five years and has never had to respond to an emergency.
The frequency in which an employee is exposed to potential bloodborne pathogens is not the standard used to determine the need for training. Because the employer can reasonably anticipate that Stanley might be exposed to bloodborne pathogens as an employee, he must receive annual training. Neither Stanley nor his employer can predict when he might need to provide emergency medical care.