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.
Employees Exposed to Human Blood
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.
Scope And Application
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:
- Nursing Homes and other long term care facilities
- Medical Laboratories
- Bloodbank and plasma centers
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:
- As internal "first responders" on Hazmat Teams, Fire Brigades, First Aid Teams, etc.
- Cleaning up first aid and rescue equipment after it has been used.
- In company medical offices.
- Through trash containing contaminated band-aids, bandages, and feminine hygiene products.
- During cleanup after industrial accidents where employees have been injured.
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.
Intent of the Regulation
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:
- Blood - Human blood, human blood components, and products made from human blood.
- Bloodborne Pathogens - Pathogenic microorganisms that are present in human blood and can cause disease in humans. These pathogens include, but are not limited to, Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
- Contaminated - The presence or the reasonably anticipated presence of blood or other potentially infectious materials on an item or surface.
- Contaminated Sharps - Any contaminated object that can penetrate the skin including, but not limited to, needles, scalpels, broken glass, broken capillary tubes, and exposed ends of dental wires.
- Contaminated Laundry - Laundry which has been soiled with blood or other potentially infectious materials, or may contain sharps.
- Decontamination - The use of physical or chemical means to remove, inactivate, or destroy bloodborne pathogens on a surface or item to the point where they are no longer capable of transmitting infectious particles and the surface or item is rendered safe for handling, use, or disposal.
- Engineering Controls - Controls (e.g., sharps disposal containers, self-sheathing needles, etc.) That isolate or remove the bloodborne pathogens hazard from the workplace.
- Exposure Incident - A specific eye, mouth, other mucous membrane, non-intact skin, or parenteral contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials that results from the performance of an employee's duties.
- Hand washing Facilities - A facility providing an adequate supply of running potable water, soap and single use towels or hot air drying machines.
- HBV - Hepatitis B Virus.
- HIV - Human Immunodeficiency Virus.
- Occupational Exposure - Reasonably anticipated skin, eye, mucous membrane, or parenteral contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials that may result from the performance of an employee's duties.
- Other Potentially Infectious Materials -
- The following human body fluids: semen, vaginal secretions, cerebrospinal fluid, synovial fluid, pleural fluid, pericardial fluid, peritoneal fluid, amniotic fluid, saliva in dental procedures, 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.
- Any unfixed tissue or organ (other than intact skin) from a human (living or dead).
- HIV-containing cell or tissue cultures, organ cultures, and HIV or HBV-containing culture medium or other solutions; and blood, organs, or other tissues from experimental animals infected with HIV or HBV.
- Personal Protective Equipment - Specialized clothing or equipment worn by an employee for protection against a hazard. General work clothes (e.g., uniforms, pants, shirts or blouses) not intended to function as protection against a hazard are not considered to be personal protective equipment.
- Regulated Waste - Liquid or semi-liquid blood or other potentially infectious materials; contaminated items that would release blood or other potentially infectious materials in a liquid or semi-liquid state if compressed; items that are caked with dried blood or other potentially infectious materials and are capable of releasing these materials during handling; contaminated sharps; and pathological and microbiological wastes containing blood or other potentially infectious materials.
- Source Individual - Any individual, living or dead, whose blood or other potentially infectious materials may be a source of occupational exposure to an employee. Examples include, but are not limited to, hospital and clinic patients; clients in institutions for the developmentally disabled; trauma victims; clients of drug and alcohol treatment facilities; residents of hospices and nursing homes; human remains; and individuals who donate or sell blood or blood components.
- Universal Precautions - Treating all blood and certain human body fluids as if they are known to be infectious for HIV, HBV and other bloodborne pathogens.
- Work Practice Controls - Controls that reduce the likelihood of exposure by altering the manner in which a task is performed (e.g., prohibiting recapping of needles by a two-handed technique).
Requirements for Infectious Waste Pick-Up
The following procedures are required for having wastes collected by Risk Management and Safety.
- Label the containers with the Biohazard Label. (Available from Risk Management and Safety (1856).
- Properly package infectious waste:
- Use only red Biohazard Bags to collect infectious waste.
- Put Biohazard Bags in rigid, leak-proof containers (acts as a liner) which infectious waste is collected in.
- Each day remove red Biohazard bag from collection container and place in lined (second Red Biohazard bag) leak proof cardboard Biohazard box. Always use twist seals on bags.
- The leak proof cardboard Biohazard Box must be kept below 42?F when sealed.
- Call Risk Management and Safety (1856) for a pick-up. NOTE: HEALTH CENTER STAFF WILL TRANSPORT THEIR OWN WASTE TO THE BIOHAZARD STORAGE BUILDING WHICH IS LOCATED BEHIND THE HEALTH CENTER.