Understanding Pathogens: Bloodborne Pathogens Training
Does your occupation require bloodborne pathogens (BBP) training? If you work in a field in which you handle human blood or body fluids, cell strains, or sharps waste, then the answer to this question is most likely yes. The federal Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens Standard was developed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to protect workers who are anticipated to come into contact with blood or potentially infectious materials (PIM) as part of their job duties.
What Will BBP Training Cover?
There are 3 types of bloodborne pathogens training: initial, additional, and annual. Initial training occurs on or around your start date, and includes:
- A copy of the BBP standard
- A description of bloodborne diseases, their symptoms, and modes of transmission
- A review of the employer’s exposure control plan
- Information on the proper use of personal protection equipment (PPE)
- Information about hepatitis B vaccinations
- An explanation of procedures to follow after bloodborne pathogen exposure
Additional training occurs when new equipment or safety procedures are put in place, or when exposure risks change. Annual training, as the name suggests, occurs within one year of previous training.
Who Conducts BBP Training?
According to OSHA, a BBP trainer should be “knowledgeable in the subject matter covered by the elements contained in the training program as it relates to the workplace.” Additionally, a BBP trainer should be familiar with the particular workplace and how elements of the training program relate to it.
Although online training programs have become increasingly popular in the use of bloodborne pathogens training, it should be noted that OSHA requires that these programs provide an opportunity for interactive question and answer sessions with the trainer. These Q&A sessions can be made available over the phone or through video conferencing. However, communicating questions through email or voicemail is not acceptable.
If you are unsure where you should go for bloodborne pathogens training, speak with your employer, or contact OSHA directly.
Dangers of Bloodborne Pathogens
According to OSHA: “Bloodborne pathogens are infectious microorganisms present in blood that can cause disease in humans. These pathogens include, but are not limited to, hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS. Workers exposed to bloodborne pathogens are at risk for serious or life-threatening illnesses.”
However, blood isn’t the only concern you should have to avoid bloodborne pathogens. According to the Berkley Lab: “HIV and HBV may be found not only in human blood, but also in other potentially infectious materials including the following body fluids:
- Blood products (such as plasma or serum)
- Vaginal secretions
- Cerebrospinal fluid
- Pleural fluid (or lung fluid)
- Synovial fluid (or fluid from your joints)
- Amniotic fluid (or uterine fluid)
- Peritoneal fluid (or fluid that fills your body cavity)
- Saliva in dental settings
- Any body fluid that is visibly contaminated with blood
- Any body fluid that you can’t tell what it is”
To further your BBP education, contact Aftermath.
Aftermath, a bioremediation company with almost 20 years of experience working with potential bloodborne pathogens, provides information sessions on bloodborne pathogens and how to properly use PPE in the wake of a biohazard emergency.
If you are interested in having one of our local technicians provide education for your public conference, contact us today.
Berkley Lab: http://www2.lbl.gov/ehs/biosafety/BBP_Training/html/bbp_review.shtml