Bloodborne Pathogens: OSHA Regulations

Do you know how to protect yourself from bloodborne pathogens (disease-causing germs carried in blood and other body fluids)? You can protect yourself by using universal precautions while helping an injured person or cleaning up after an accident. These precautions mean treating all blood and body fluid as potentially infectious. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has developed regulations regarding bloodborne pathogens. These regulations are meant to protect employees from diseases spread by blood or body fluids at work.

Universal precautions are procedures that can help you avoid dangerous diseases that could infect you and spread to your loved ones.

Woman with bucket and mop asking supervisor, "What's the safest way to clean this up?" Razor blade and blood are on floor surrounded by "caution" tape. Supervisor is wearing gloves and carrying rag and spray bottle.

Know the OSHA regulations

OSHA regulations include these points:

  • If you are exposed to blood or body fluids while on the job, you can be exposed to bloodborne pathogens (disease-causing germs in blood and body fluids).

  • Anyone's blood or body fluids may carry germs, even someone you know well. Following universal precautions can protect you. This means assuming that ALL blood and body fluids, no matter who they belong to, contain infectious germs.

Know your employer's safety plan

Your employer will have a plan for using universal precautions and applying OSHA regulations in different situations. Only your employer can establish the specific guidelines for your job. Learn your employer's plan and know what guidelines apply to you.