The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater ensures that all employees with occupational exposure to human bloodborne pathogens, selected students and volunteers are protected from contracting bloodborne disease through implementation of a Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control Plan. This plan follows the requirements established by the Wisconsin Department of Industry, Labor and Human Relations (ILHR 32.50) as administered in December, 1991 (29 CFR 1910.1030).
The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Campus Safety Committee developed the Campus Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure Control Plan which is administered by the Office of Risk Management and Safety.
All identified campus employees who are regularly exposed to human blood and body fluids have been trained in universal precautions when handling this material.
Building employees encountering human blood and or body fluids should contact the building custodial staff or the Facilities Planning and Management Zone Coordinator immediately. These staff people are trained in handling this material.
Questions about the campus Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure Control Plan should be directed to the Office of Risk Management and Safety at 1856.
On December 6, 1991 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published the "Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens" Standard. The purpose of this regulation is to "eliminate or minimize occupational exposure to Hepatitis B Virus (HBV), Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and other Bloodborne Pathogens".
Other agencies of the Federal government have been involved with the issue of employee exposure to infectious materials for some time. For instance, for a number of years the Department of Health and Human Services has published a booklet entitled, "Guidelines for Prevention of Transmission of Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Hepatitis B Virus to Health care and Public Safety Workers."
Additionally, in 1989 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published interim final rules on the "Standards for Tracking and Management of Medical Wastes".
The impetus behind this activity is varied. First, the publicity received in recent years regarding the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and AIDS has sensitized the public and legislators alike regarding the transmission of infectious diseases. Additionally increased emphasis on employee safety and health has elevated the concern regarding exposure to Hepatitis B.
OSHA initially became involved in this area in 1983, issuing a set of voluntary guidelines designed to reduce the risk of occupational exposure to Hepatitis B Virus.
In late 1986, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) petitioned OSHA to formally take action to reduce the risk to employees from exposure to various infectious agents. Later that same year, the Service Employees International Union, the National Union of Hospital and Health care Employees and other groups petitioned OSHA to create a standard to protect employees from the hazard posed by occupational exposure to the Hepatitis B Virus. It was these actions that prompted OSHA to begin work on the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard. This Standard represents OSHA's first regulation of occupational exposure to biological hazards.
The "Bloodborne Pathogens" Standard applies to facilities or operations where exposure to human blood or other potentially infectious materials is possible. The original thrust of the regulation was aimed at Health care facilities such as:
However, the standard also affects virtually all industrial facilities, since many employees are periodically exposed to blood or blood contaminated materials in a number of situations, including:
There is one "exemption" to the regulation, that is "Good Samaritan" acts performed by employees. In this sense, it is not necessary to provide the training required by this regulation to employees who would not expect to encounter human blood or other potentially infectious materials in their jobs...but who might be called on to provide "first aid" to a fellow employee who had cut themselves on the job. However, because of the publicity bloodborne diseases have received, and employees' sensitivity to the subject, UW Whitewater will provide general information to all employees interested in attending training.
As with all OSHA regulations, the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard is intended to "protect employees" from potential workplace hazards. In this case, it is to:
"Reduce occupational exposure to Hepatitis B Virus (HBV), Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Other Bloodborne Pathogens."
OSHA fully intends that if necessary, our physical facility, work practices and other areas will be modified to attain this goal... and that employees will be informed and educated so that they can contribute to this reduction/elimination of exposure themselves, as well.
It is also important to understand what the regulation does not intend to do. As we mentioned previously, "Good Samaritan" acts such as assisting a fellow employee who has cut their finger, are not covered under this regulation. In this way, OSHA tries to ensure that employers will not discourage people from coming to the aid of fellow employees in a medical emergency.
While it is always important to know what definitions OSHA gives to certain words and phrases in their regulations, this Standard rests very strongly on a clear understanding of these definitions. In fact, it is so important that we have provided some of the most important definitions used by OSHA in this regulation below:
The following procedures are required for having wastes collected by Risk Management and Safety.