Bloodborne Pathogens Overview

  • Many employees in health care and other professions may be exposed to bloodborne pathogens. Even the Veterinary industry is surrounded with many zoonotic bloodborne pathogens.
  • OSHA adopted regulation 29 CFR 1910.1030 to help protect you and prevent bloodborne pathogens incidents at work

Training is the key to ensuring your safety!

What You Need to Know to Ensure Your Safety:

  • Most common infectious diseases, especially those that are zoonotic for veterinary professionals!
  • Importance of exposure control plans
  • Prevention procedures
  • Safe work practices
  • Information on vaccinations
  • Procedures for handling exposure to pathogens

What Are Bloodborne Pathogens?

Bloodborne pathogens are agents, like bacteria, viruses or fungi, that are found in the blood or bodily fluids of infected individuals or animals that have the potential to carry zoonotic disease.

What Are Bloodborne Pathogens?

Bloodborne pathogens cause diseases, including, but not limited to:

  • Hepatitis B Virus (HBV)
  • Hepatitis C Virus (HCV)
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
  • Leptospirosis (Zoonotic)
  • Babesiosis (Zoonotic)
  • Brucellosis (Zoonotic)

Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens

Diseases such as HBV, HCV or HIV can be transmitted through the eyes, skin, nose, mouth, or under the skin by means of puncture!

In animals, Zoonotic diseases such as Leptospirosis, Babesiosis, and Brucellosis can also be transmitted as noted above.


Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens

Exposure can result from:

  • Cuts or puncture wounds from items such as blades, needles or knives
  • Blood or bodily fluids splashed on open cuts or mucous membranes

High-Risk Activities

  • Cleaning up spills of blood
  • Sticking yourself or someone else with a needle
  • Handling knives or cutters
  • Drawing blood for lab tests
  • Cleaning up soiled linens from patients without proper PPE
  • Applying pressure to control bleeding
  • Cleaning up contaminated equipment
  • Treating a laceration
  • Handling contaminated laundry or restroom facilities

Common Bloodborne Diseases

HBV- Hepatitis B

  • Severe liver infection transmitted through blood or bodily fluids
  • 280,000 people are infected each year
  • Virus may live in the body for six months before symptoms appear
  • Medications are available for long-lasting infections
  • No cure for the disease

HCV- Hepatitis C

  • Transmitted through blood
  • May cause cirrhosis or cancer of the liver
  • The disease develops slowly

HIV – Human Immunodeficiency Virus

  • Virus that causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
  • 1 million Americans infected
  • Attacks white blood cells
  • Passed through blood or bodily fluids
  • Antibody detected in blood test six months after exposure
  • No cure or vaccination


  • A vaccine is a medical substance that helps your body fight disease
  • A vaccination is not a cure but a defense system that will make your resistance stronger in case of exposure

The Good News!

  • There is a safe and effective vaccination for HBV
  • Offered in three doses over six months
  • Available to all employees at risk of exposure

Exposure Control Plan

  • Your employer should develop a written “exposure control plan” for workers at risk of exposure
  • Goal is to minimize exposure to blood and other potentially infectious material

What does it include?

  1. List of jobs where there is exposure
  2. Detailed description of work practices regarding hand washing, disposal and protective equipment
  3. Instructions for housekeeping
  4. Procedures for responding to incidents

Universal Precautions

  • You can reduce likelihood of exposure by following “universal precautions”
  • This means you should treat all blood and bodily fluids as if they are known to be infected with HIV, HCV or other bloodborne pathogens

Personal Protective Equipment

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) includes items such as:
    • Gloves
    • Goggles
    • Face shields
    • Gowns
    • Shoe covers
  • PPE acts as your first line of defense against exposure to harmful blood or bodily fluids
  • Always wear PPE when handling potentially infectious materials
  • Remove garments penetrated by blood or infectious material immediately, or as soon as possible, to avoid exposure
  • Replace all torn or punctured garments
  • After using PPE, clean or disinfect the equipment if it is reusable
  • Remove all PPE before leaving work area
  • Place all garments in the designated area or storage bin for cleaning, decontamination or disposal


  • Commonly used to prevent exposure
  • Put gloves on before contact with blood or bodily fluids
  • Carefully inspect them for holes and tears

Removing Gloves

  • Peel off one glove and hold it in the gloved hand
  • With an uncovered finger, peel off the remaining glove from the outside
  • Dispose of glove promptly
  • Wash your hands using the proper hand washing procedure

Eye and Face Protection

Always wear a mask, goggles, glasses or face shield when performing a task if there is a possibility for blood or other potentially infectious materials to be splashed, sprayed or spattered on you

Proper Technique for Hand Washing

  1. Remove rings or jewelry
  2. Use warm to hot water and wet hands thoroughly
  3. Use soap to create a thick lather
  4. Scrub hands, between fingers, wrists, forearms and under nails
  5. Continue scrubbing for at least 20 seconds
  6. Rinse thoroughly under running water
  7. Turn off faucet with a paper towel
  8. Dry hands with a single-use towel or dryer
  9. Use a paper towel to cover the door handle when leaving the room

Avoiding Injuries Caused by Sharps

  • Working with sharp instruments (otherwise known as “sharps”) can put you at risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens
  • Dispose of sharps in a designated sharps container, not a common trash basket
  • The container must be punctureresistant, leakproof, and labeled with a biohazard sign
  • Identify where sharps containers are in the workplace
  • Do not open or place your hands into a sharps container
  • Do not handle sharp objects such as broken glass with bare hands
  • Use tools such as forceps, pliers, brooms and dustpans to move or pick up sharps
  • Don’t recap, remove, bend or shear needles
  • Replace used sharps containers often

Eating, Smoking and Drinking

  • Avoid eating, drinking or smoking in an area where you may be exposed to bloodborne pathogens
  • Do not store food or drinks in refrigerators, on shelves, in cabinets or on counters where infectious materials are kept

Disposing of Biohazardous Materials

  • All biohazardous materials must be placed in containers that prevent leakage
  • Containers must be identified by a fluorescent orange or orange/red biohazard label
  • Designated person should seal container to avoid leakage
  • Containers should only be removed by authorized individuals with proper training


Written schedule for cleaning and decontamination should include:

  1. Description of affected location or area within facility
  2. Type of surface to be cleaned
  3. Type of infectious material present
  4. Procedures normally performed in that area

Handling Laundry

  • Put contaminated laundry into bags at the location where used
  • Bags should be labeled as biohazardous
  • Bags should be shipped to the laundry facility in leakproof containers


In the Event of Contamination:

  1. Section off area with barrier and isolate contaminated area
  2. Wear gloves
  3. Spread absorbent over blood or infectious material
  4. Use broom or dustpan to pick up sharps
  5. Use bleach or disinfectant to clean areas
  6. Decontaminate work areas promptly
  7. Allow area to dry before barrier removal


  • Report any incident involving possible exposure to bloodborne pathogens to your supervisor immediately
  • Your employer will provide a confidential medical evaluation and follow-up
  • Provide as much information as possible, including how you were exposed, the instrument used, etc.
  • You will be informed of the results of the evaluation
  • You will be told of any medical conditions resulting from exposure
  • Hepatitis B vaccine may be offered to you at no charge

Quick Review

At the completion of this training presentation, you should have a clear understanding of:

  • Why bloodborne pathogens present a risk in the workplace
  • Common types of infectious diseases caused by exposure to bloodborne pathogens
  • High-risk exposure activities
  • What an “exposure control plan” includes
  • The importance of following “universal precautions”
  • How various types of PPE can protect you
  • How to avoid injury when handling “sharps”
  • The proper response to contamination or exposure
  • Other prevention procedures and safe-handling practices

You are encouraged to take advantage of the safety measures covered in this training

Your knowledge about bloodborne pathogens can make the difference between sickness and good health

For additional information you can refer to OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens Standard Fact Sheet by clicking the link below;


In Summary

Remember, safety is your responsibility

Ask for additional guidance if you have any questions on bloodborne pathogens in your workplace or for
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