• OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Training Requirements

    Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP) are infectious microorganisms like hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), just to name a few. They are found in blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) and can quickly spread disease. Because of this, it is important to protect workers from the risks that these pathogens pose, which can lead to serious or even life-threatening illnesses.

    What are OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Training Requirements?

    OSHA, which stands for Occupational Safety and Health Administration, requires that employers and employees take universal precautions, in other words a "better-safe-than-sorry" approach to these threats, by treating human blood and OPIM as if they're already infected with pathogens. As part of training, employees will learn in-depth information about:

    • BBP and OPIM
    • Disease exposure
    • Methods used to control exposure
    • Vaccines
    • Medical evaluation and post-exposure follow-up procedures

    All training classes should be presented in an easy-to-understand format, and workers must be able to ask questions. (In addition to this standard training, workers at HIV and HBV laboratories and production facilities must receive specialized initial training.)

    Who Needs to take Bloodborne Pathogen Training?

    Basically, anyone who may come in contact with blood or OPIM as part of their job should receive training. This includes (but is not limited to):

    • Healthcare workers: Doctors, nurses, and medical assistants
    • Laboratory personnel: Those who work with blood samples or OPIM in a lab setting
    • First responders: Paramedics, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), firefighters, and police officers
    • Janitorial and maintenance staff: Workers who clean and maintain facilities, particularly those where medical procedures are performed
    • Tattoo and piercing artists: Professionals who work with needles and bodily fluids
    • Mortuary and funeral home staff: Workers who deal with deceased individuals and bodily fluids

    What Topics Should Bloodborne Pathogens Training Cover?

    As part of BBP training, workers will learn about topics including, but not limited to:

    • Engineering controls (e.g., devices) that isolate or remove potential hazards, including sharps disposal containers, self-sheathing needles and/or needleless systems
    • Cleaning/disinfecting equipment and supplies
    • Personal protective equipment (PPE) like gloves, gowns, eye protection, and masks
    • Personal hygiene (e.g., proper handwashing)
    • Safe handling and disposal of bloodborne pathogens
    • Universal and standard precautions (UP/SP)
    • Hazard communication practices
    • Recognizing, reporting and following up on employee exposures

    How Often Is Bloodborne Pathogens Training Required?

    Each employee should receive this training upon hire and then every year thereafter, as well as whenever new or updated tasks or procedures might affect their exposure levels.

    Who Can Provide Bloodborne Pathogens Training?

    While OSHA does not specify a particular job classification for qualified trainers, it does require that the trainer be knowledgeable in the subject matter, whether it's a healthcare or occupational healthcare professional, or a non-healthcare professional, like an industrial hygienist, epidemiologist, or professional trainer.

    How Do You Get Certified in Bloodborne Pathogen Training?

    American Red Cross offers flexible BBP training classes that meet OSHA certification requirements for workplaces and healthcare providers. In addition to receiving OSHA compliant certificates, employers and employees can access free digital materials online.

    For more than a century, we've prepared individuals and organizations to be ready in an emergency. In addition to individual BBP training classes, be sure to ask about our time- and money-saving group training options, as well as our CPR, First Aid + BBP course bundle that saves even more money, while helping to promote a safer workplace. For healthcare providers, you can also have employees get certified in Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Life Support (ALS), and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS). For more group training information, call us at 1-800-567-1487.