Bloodborne Pathogens

What Are the Risk Factors?

  • Sudden movement by a patient, resident or client when healthcare worker is inserting a needle.
  • Recapping a needle.
  • Collision with a co-worker who may be in transit with a sharps device.
  • Placing sharps in a container during disposal.

Injury Prevention Strategies for Bloodborne Pathogens Hazards

  1. Use universal precautions: All bodily fluids should be treated as if they are potentially infectious.
  2. Train all employees with potential exposure to bloodborne pathogens in accordance with requirements established by the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens standard.
  3. Purchase devices with integrated safety features, e.g., self-sheathing needles, retracting needles, and needleless systems.
  4. Prohibit recapping of needles. If absolutely necessary, do not allow two-handed recapping.
  5. Advise healthcare workers to use caution when changing bed linens and carrying garbage and linen bags away from the body. Also use caution if placing them on a rolling cart to be transported.
  6. Ensure disposal procedures include placing used sharps in wide-mouth, puncture-proof, leak-proof containers. Locate the containers where sharps are commonly used; remove and replace containers when three-quarters full. Do not wait until they are completely full.

Resources and Training Guides

OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens Standard

Sharps Safety for Healthcare Settings: CDC

Training for Development of Innovative Control Technologies (TDICT) – Preventing Exposure to Blood