Bloodborne Pathogens

Bloodborne pathogens are infectious microorganisms in human blood that can cause disease in humans. These pathogens are hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Bloodborne pathogens can be transmitted by the following human body fluids: semen, vaginal secretions, saliva, any body fluid that is visibly contaminated with blood, and all body fluids in situations where it is difficult or impossible to differentiate between body fluids. Pathogens can also be transmitted by unfixed tissue or organ from a human (living or dead) and/or HIV-containing cell or tissue cultures, organ cultures, blood, organs, or other tissues from experimental animals infected with HIV or HBV.

Employees whose jobs may require handling of bodily fluids may have the potential for exposure to bloodborne pathogens. Southern Utah University's Bloodborne Pathogen program provides access to controls, training and free Hepatitis B immunization for those employees who are potentially exposed. Hepatitis B immunization is offered through Cedar City WorkMed.

In order to avoid potential exposure to bloodborne pathogens, see the following:

  • Wear appropriate PPE when working with potentially infected blood.
  • Wash hands frequently.
    • When handwashing facilities are not available, use an appropriate antiseptic hand cleanser with clean cloth/paper towels, and/or antiseptic wipes. When these measures are taken, hands shall still be washed with soap and water as soon as possible.
  • Contaminated needles and other contaminated sharps shall not be bent, recapped, or removed. Shearing or breaking of contaminated needles is prohibited.
  • Immediately or as soon as possible after use, contaminated reusable sharps shall be placed in appropriate containers until properly reprocessed.
  • Eating, drinking, smoking, applying cosmetics or lip balm, and handling contact lenses are prohibited in work areas where there is a reasonable likelihood of occupational exposure.
  • Food and drink shall not be kept in refrigerators, freezers, shelves, cabinets or on countertops or benchtops where blood or other potentially infectious materials are present.
  • All procedures involving blood or other potentially infectious materials shall be performed in such a manner as to minimize splashing, spraying, spattering, and generation of droplets of these substances.
  • Specimens of blood or other potentially infectious materials shall be placed in a container which prevents leakage during collection, handling, processing, storage, transport, or shipping.

For bloodborne pathogen exposure prevention training or questions regarding Hepatitis B immunization, contact your supervisor or ERM. For more information regarding Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure and prevention refer to 29 CFR 1910.1030. See also Written Safety Programs for more information on our Bloodborne Pathogens Program.