Bloodborne Pathogen OSHA Training – What you need to know

Bloodborne Pathogen OSHA Training

With the global sweep of COVID-19 (Corona Virus) now thankfully in the rear-view mirror in 2024, it’s important to recognize that there are already standards and protocols in place that are proven to help us to mitigate and control exposures and infections, for example, the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Certification standard.

Today we will be summarizing our library of articles related to bloodborne pathogen OSHA training.

This will include some useful and relevant information that everyone can apply in their daily lives to feel safer and better prepared.

What are Bloodborne Pathogens?

Bloodborne pathogens are microorganisms such as viruses and pathogens that are present in human blood and can cause disease in humans.

These pathogens include the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Hepatitis B (HBV), and hepatitis C (HCV). 

These three types are the top three bloodborne pathogens and are the most common, but there are many other types including Human-T-Lymphotropic Virus 1 (HTLV),  Syphilis, and Brucellosis, but these are much rarer, especially in the USA.

Many people assume that only healthcare employees can be exposed to bloodborne pathogens, but this is not the case.

In fact workers in many occupations may have a risk of exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens.

How are Bloodborne Pathogens Transmitted?

Infection via a bloodborne pathogen occurs through direct contact with contaminated blood, blood products or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM).

Specific infection routes include contact with blood via needles or other exposed sharps, blood transfusions with blood unscreened for the presence of infectious agents, and transmission from mother to child during pregnancy or childbirth. 

Some bloodborne pathogens can also be transmitted via contact with other bodily fluids such as cerebrospinal fluid, amniotic fluid, semen, and vaginal secretions.

Common BBP Covered in Bloodborne Pathogen OSHA Training

We touched on the three common bloodborne pathogens earlier – now let’s break them down in a bit more detail.

Hepatitis B

HBV is caused by infection with the Hepatitis B virus (HBV). Some people don’t experience symptoms when infected, but others can suffer jaundice, fatigue, appetite loss, nausea, grey stools, vomiting and abdominal pain and joint aches. 

Infection can later become chronic, especially in individuals who become infected in infancy, and chronic infection can lead to liver cirrhosis, and liver cancer.

There currently is no cure for Hepatitis B but it can be prevented through vaccination.

Hepatitis C

HCV is caused by infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV). People at the highest risk of this bloodborne disease are intravenous drug users and people who undergo blood transfusions with unscreened blood or blood products. 

Most people infected with HCV are asymptomatic, but chronic hepatitis C infection may result in liver damage and liver cancer. 

There is no vaccine available for hepatitis C, but liver function and immune activity against the virus can be well managed with medical programs and drug treatment protocols.


HIV, which eventually causes AIDS, is transmitted primarily through human blood. Possible modes of infection include unprotected sexual activity, the use of unsterilized needles, plus the transfusion of contaminated blood.

 In the advanced stages of AIDS,  the immune system failure increases the risk of opportunistic infections and unusual cancers, particularly Kaposi sarcoma. 

There is no vaccine or cure for AIDS, but medical treatments are available and it is easily managed in 2020 by the reduction and management of viral load.

So those are the big three Bloodborne diseases but what about the rest?

Who needs Bloodborne Pathogen OSHA Training?

Making an Occupational Exposure Determination

Everyone wants to work in a safe environment, but unfortunately some workplaces unavoidably expose workers to dangerous and potentially infectious materials that can contain bloodborne pathogens.

It is up to the employer to determine the employees who are covered under the OSHA standard.

The employer can accomplish this by checking if a particular job entails any occupational exposure. 

Whilst it is down to the individual employer to make exposure determinations the OSHA standard and bloodborne pathogen osha training is designed to be universal and if it is discovered later than an employee was exposed to BBP the employer will potentially face huge fines and legal actions as recourse.

Occupations at increased risk of BBP Exposure

Although there is no exhaustive list of occupations that are covered by the bloodborne pathogens standard – there are certain occupations that tend to have a higher risk of exposure.

These include:

Education, childcare and daycare workers

Any person who works with or around infants or children is likely to need blood-borne pathogen training in order to proovide a safe environment for their charges and to know what to do in the event of an exposure incident. For more information read Childcare Providers and Bloodborne Pathogens

Manufacturing Staff

Tattoo Artists and Body Art Professionals

Tattoo artists, body piercers, body artists and other body modification professionals often engage in highly diligent industry-specific training, and most ,of course, focus on maintaining a clean studio, but not all US states currently specify bloodborne pathogens training for tattoo artists as part of their tattoo licensing requirements.

This also applies to other permanent makeup artists for example, eyebrow tattooists.

Maintenance Workers

Cleaners, Housekeeping and Janitorial Staff

Janitorial staff, cleaners and custodians in this category who work in healthcare facilities and laboratories are generally at risk of exposure but it may also include others who must also take bloodborne pathogens osha training.

Health Center and Fitness Workers

Hospitality, Catering and Food Handling

Employees who handle food and/or servce customers on premises must be bloodborne pathogens certified. For more information refer to this article.

Healthcare Workers

It’s not just nurses and healthcare facility workers who are vulnerable – Doctors, physicians, clinicians and practice owners are also at risk and are subject to the BBP Standard and Bloodborne Pathogen OSHA training requirement standard just like any other employee.

The fact is, the Bloodborne Pathogens standard applies to most medical practices organized as a professional corporation – it is the rule rather than the exception.

Healthcare workers are required to take an expanded version of Bloodborne Pathogens OSHA training that covers additional topics.

The OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard

This code of federal regulations CFR 1910.1030 applies to most workers with a risk of occupational exposure to blood pathogens.

It covers blood and all other bodily fluids such as saliva, semen, cerebrospinal fluid, synovial fluid, vaginal secretions, pleural fluid, amniotic fluid, peritoneal fluid, pericardial fluid, and any other bodily fluids contaminated with blood or any other bodily fluids.

OSHA regulations work towards ensuring that employees remain protected from blood borne pathogens.

It does this in several different ways – let’s break them down one by one and see what is covered.

Exposure Determination

We already covered this in an earlier section – it is the job of the employer to determine if they have occupationally exposed workers as defined by the bloodborne pathogens standard.

Exposure control plan

An exposure control plan refers to a written framework aimed at protecting workers from bloodborne pathogens. It is one of the mandatory OSHA compliance requirements that entails:

  • Record keeping as per OSHA requirements. They include sharps-injury, medical, training, and incident records. Every employer must manage and maintain all these records
  • Departments, names, and tasks of each employee who’s at risk of bloodborne pathogen exposure.
  • Post-exposure administration by evaluating all the circumstances surrounding the respective incident.
  • Updating employees about bloodborne pathogens, symptoms of bloodborne diseases, and their mode of transmission. Also, workers can ask questions and seek clarifications.
  • Implementation and control methods to help to minimize the risk of exposure, which also entails labeling equipment properly and providing workers with personal protective equipment
  • HBV vaccination (see next section)
  • Medical evaluation and regular follow-ups following an exposure including documenting the exposure process, testing for infection, and collecting samples of blood for further testing.

HBV Vaccination

Employers are required to offer fee Administration of a Hepatitis B vaccine to all employees with bloodborne pathogens exposure risk. 

It is essential to ensure that all workers who are entitled to receive a free Hepatitis B vaccination are offered the vaccination within the set time period specified in the BBP standard. 

For those workers who choose to opt out, they should sign a waiver document , and retain the right to free vaccination at any time should they change their minds..

Annual Training

OSHA Bloodborne pathogen training must be taken by all employees in line with the Bloodborne pathogen standard and include a detailed explanation related to the epidemiology of blood pathogens, the symptoms associated with bloodborne diseases, how the bloodborne pathogens get transmitted and the tasks where there are high chances of exposures.

Training should also cover the three lines of defence against bloodborne pathogens.

The first line of defence are engineering controls. The second line of defence is work practice and administrative controls. Finally, the third line of defence deals with personal protective equipment (PPE). 

Bloodborne Pathogens OSHA Training

The aim of bloodborne pathogens OSHA training is essentially to keep employees safe.  

There are several types of training. Most people will need to take the general workplace course, but some people will need to take the Bloodborne Pathogens Healthcare Worker training that covers additional procedures around working with needles, body fluid cleanup, etc.

Body art professionals may be required to take a specific bloodborne pathogens certification for tattoo artists course – this will depend on which state they live in.

The job role and exposure determination should decide which course is appropriate.

After completing the chosen training, employees will gain OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Certification for 1 year – the time limit specified by OSHA.

What does Bloodborne Pathogen OSHA training cover?

In order to meet this requirement a bloodborne pathogens training course should cover these essential topics:

Introduction to Bloodborne Pathogens

A successful training course is one that starts by defining the basics and covering everything related to the subject while assuming the trainee has no prior knowledge of the subject matter.

This module should include an overview of bloodborne diseases, how bloodborne pathogens get transmitted,  and an in-depth explanation of the exposure control plan requirements for your employer.

From these topics, you’ll get an understanding of the importance and the underlying dangers of exposure blood and OPIM.

Exposure Risks

The definition of bloodborne exposure and how you can mitigate or prevent it. In this part of the training, you should gain a basic understanding of what bloodborne exposure is and its implications to your work environment.

The main subjects covered here include risk of exposure, and how to reduce or prevent this risk, ways and methods to reduce and limit exposure risk, personal protective equipment and the correct way to use it, including PPE choice, use, handling, and disposal.

After this section, you should be in a position to identify potential tasks and situations that present risk exposure and know-how to plan to reduce these risks and limit the transmission of bloodborne infections.

Post Exposure Requirements

Training must cover the necessary actions to take, who to contact, HVB vaccination and any other relevant information.

In addition to this, you need to keep your employees up to date on the exposure control plan for your organization including where they can access it.

Reporting Procedures

When a bloodborne pathogen exposure inevitably occurs, the reporting chain and the resulting paperwork are unavoidable. 

So, the training must include details related to the evaluation and procedures that follow exposure.

Reporting procedures are essential because they help in tracking exposures, diseases and the effectiveness of any preventative measures that are in place.

Bloodborne Pathogen OSHA Scheduling

Initial Training

Initial Bloodborne Pathogens OSHA training must occur on or before the employee starts employment

Supplementary Training

Supplementary training should occur whenever exposure risk to human blood and other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) changes, or when new work tasks, safety procedures or equipment are established.

Annual Re-Training

Annual re-training must take place upon the expiration of the previous training. This is often when employers begin to look for a Bloodborne Pathogens group training course that best suits their organizational needs.

Bloodborne Pathogens Test

In order to complete a training course a bloodborne pathogens test or blood borne pathogen quiz must be taken to prove what was learned in the training has been retained.

In most online training courses this is in the form of a multiple choice quiz or exam.

You can take our free interactive bloodborne pathogen test to prepare for your OSHA exam.

Choosing Bloodborne Pathogens OSHA Training

If you are an individual  looking for bloodborne pathogens OSHA training you should ensure that you choose a reputable provider and the training is in a format that you find convenient to complete. Nowadays that generally means an online course – but make sure you try a demo before you spend any money- or even better – take our bloodborne pathogens training.

For employers looking for a fully automated solution to get staff or agency workers certified online look no further than our group training options.

Click the link to take a preperation bloodborne pathogen test free.

Accessibility Options
Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top