by Jenna Price, MPH
Industrial Hygienist

It is estimated that 5.6 million or more workers are at risk for occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens.  OSHA requires employers provide training to any employee that has the potential to be exposed to bloodborne pathogens or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM). OSHA 29 CFR 1910.1030 (the standard) applies to all workers in the private sector, as well as civilian employees of Federal entities. The standard as amended pursuant to the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act of 2000, provides general guidance on best practices for prevention of sharps and needlestick injuries.

The primary means of eliminating or minimizing employee exposure to bloodborne pathogens and OPIM are engineering controls.  The states and territories that operate OSHA-approved plans are required to enforce standards in the public sector that are “at least as effective” as the Bloodborne Pathogens standard and implement the use of safer medical devices.  The 2001 revision to the standard identifies the isolation or removal of bloodborne pathogens hazards from the workplace as suitable engineering controls.

It is the employer’s responsibility to implement effective safer medical devices that are appropriate for the specific medical procedures reasonably anticipated to be performed by their workers.  The standard requires a written Exposure Control Plan (ECP) to include exposure determination (identify job classifications with occupational exposure risks), procedures for evaluation exposure incident circumstances, and methods of compliance (universal precautions, engineering and work practice controls, PPE, housekeeping, and documentation).  The ECP must be reviewed and updated annually and whenever necessary to reflect new or revised work tasks and new or revised employee positions.

How Can We Help?
The EI Group, Inc. (EI) offers three separate trainings that comply with OSHA 29 CFR 1910.1030: Bloodborne Pathogens Awareness, Bloodborne Pathogens Train-the-Trainer, and Bloodborne Pathogens – First Responders.  EI’s Training & Compliance Centers provide continuing education support to the regulated community through flexibly scheduled courses at cost-effective pricing. Please contact us today at (800) 717-3472 or [email protected].