Bloodborne pathogens are microorganisms found in the blood of infected individuals that cause diseases. They may also be present in “other potentially infectious materials,” such as blood-tainted body fluids, unfixed tissues or body parts, some biological research materials, and even other primates. These pathogens are a concern because they are capable of infecting others who are exposed to infectious blood or other body fluids. Some workers are at risk of exposure as a result of their occupational duties, and, these workers are required to receive bloodborne pathogens training prior to initial assignment to tasks where occupational exposure may occur, and then receive refresher training annually thereafter. The training covers a variety of topics aimed at reducing the risk of exposure and disease transmission.
Hepatitis B Vaccination
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a serious bloodborne pathogen that attacks the liver and can cause potentially life-threatening disease in humans. HBV is transmitted through exposure to blood or other body fluids. Workers whose job duties have a reasonable anticipation of contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials are required to be offered a vaccination series against HBV. The vaccine is offered after bloodborne pathogens training and within 10 working days of initial assignment to work unless the employee has previously received the complete hepatitis B vaccination series, antibody testing has revealed that the employee is immune, or that the vaccine is contraindicated for medical reasons. A form for acceptance or declination of the HBV vaccine must be filled out by all workers whose job duties have been identified as placing them at risk for exposure. The following link will direct you to The Texas A&M University System’s Hepatitis B Vaccine Form. This form should be completed and returned to the designated individual(s) at your institution.
Exposure Control Plan
An Exposure Control Plan is a written action plan that identifies occupational risks and specifies precautionary control measures needed to manage and minimize potential exposure to bloodborne pathogens. A copy of your institution’s Exposure Control Plan is available to you at your institution’s link given below.
Exposure Incident Reporting
If a bloodborne pathogens exposure incident should occur, report the incident immediately to your supervisor and the safety office. In addition, complete and submit a Employer’s First Report of Injury or Illness and, if a contaminated sharps was involved, a Contaminated Sharps Injury Reporting Form.
DO NOT DELAY! If you think you may have been exposed to human blood or infectious materials through a needle stick or cut, or in your eyes, nose or mouth, do not delay. Thoroughly wash the affected area and immediately report the exposure to the biosafety contacts listed above to receive followup care.
If you have any questions about bloodborne pathogens, Hepatitis B vaccination, your Exposure Control Plan, or your risk of occupational exposure, contact your safety office or a biosafety specialist.