The Bloodborne Pathogen Standard: An Overview

The Bloodborne Pathogen standard was primarily aimed at workers in hospitals, funeral homes, nursing homes, clinics, law enforcement agencies, emergency response organizations, and HIV/HBV research laboratories. However, all employees who could "reasonably anticipate" to face contact with blood and other potentially infectious materials while performing their job duties are covered by the standard.

Other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) that can carry bloodborne pathogens include semen, vaginal secretions, cerebrospinal fluid, synovial fluid, pleural fluid, pericardial fluid, peritoneal fluid, amniotic fluid, saliva in dental procedures, any body fluid visibly contaminated with blood and all body fluids in situations where it is difficult or impossible to differentiate between body fluids.

Infectious materials also include any unfixed tissue or organ other than intact skin from a human (living or dead) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)- containing cell or tissue cultures, organ cultures and HIV or hepatitis B (HBV)-containing culture medium or other solutions as well as blood, organs or other tissues from experimental animals infected with HIV or HBV. OSHA has not attempted to list all occupations where exposures could occur, but examples include:

Maintenance personnel and custodial workers employed in non-health care facilities are not generally considered to have occupational exposure. However, the employer is responsible for determining which job classifications or specific tasks and procedures involve occupational exposure.

NOTE: OSHA does not consider "Good Samaritan" acts, such as assisting a co-worker with a nosebleed, as occupational exposure.