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What Does It Mean To Be Bloodborne Pathogen Certified?

Being bloodborne pathogen certified basically means that you are trained and prepared to work in an environment where exposure to blood and other bodily fluids is high. This is most often required for healthcare workers, but there are other occupations that may also face a high risk of exposure to bodily fluids.

What Are Bloodborne Pathogens?

Bloodborne pathogens (BBPs) are microorganisms in the blood that cause disease. They can be transmitted through blood and other bodily fluids. These microorganisms are small life forms that can only be seen under a microscope. Their infectious nature makes them dangerous, so proper training is essential to avoid contracting diseases in the workplace.

Transmission and Infection

There are many ways that BBPs can be transmitted; some are more common than others. There are three methods of transmission in particular that are the most common:

  • Blood-to-blood contact: This occurs when infected blood comes into contact with the blood of a healthy person.
  • Blood-to-mucous membrane contact: This occurs when infected blood comes into contact with certain exterior body cavities, like the eyes, mouth, ears, or nose. These exposed body parts can be entry points for bodily fluids.
  • Ingestion of contaminated material: This occurs when contaminated blood mixes with something that will be injested, like food or drinks.
  • These methods of transmission can occur in a variety of ways, such as cuts from contaminated needles, blood transfusions, or sexual contact. Transmission leads to infection, and an infected individual is capable of spreading disease inside or outside the workplace.

    For this reason, it is important to receive BBP certification if there is any possibility for transmission and infection in your workplace.

    Most Common BBP Diseases

    There are certain diseases that are more commonly spread through BBPs. These include most immune deficiency diseases, such as:

    There are many other diseases that can spread through BBPs as well.

    OSHA Requirements Regarding Bloodborne Pathogens

    OSHA does have a Bloodborne Pathogens Standard (29 CFR 1910.1030) as well as the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act. These are both important standards that seek to prevent the spread of bloodborne pathogens and establish the necessity of exposure control plans.

    These standards both led to an increase in safer control methods for handling blood, bodily fluids, and sharp objects.

    What Does Bloodborne Pathogen Training Include?

    BBP certification training can be found in online courses through third party organizations. It generally includes basic information like that shared above but in more detail. Your employer is responsible for preparing you to handle the hazards of your specific workplace, but the training should prepare you adequately beforehand.

    Not all training will be the same, but here at Hard Hat Training, we can provide you with a thorough training experience. Our training for bloodborne pathogens includes the following modules that go into great depth and are aligned with OSHA Requirements:

    Our training goes in depth on each of these subjects and usually includes quizzes, a final exam, and practical exam. All these steps will ensure that you know the information well enough to begin working in a workplace with blood and bodily fluids.

    Preventing Sharps and Needlestick Injuries

    OSHA and the CDC provide procedures for handling sharps and needles safely. These procedures are especially important due to the high risk of BBP exposure involved with sharps and needles. Some of the important tips for how to prevent exposure are:

    1. Complete bloodborne pathogens training and certification.
    2. Plan how you will handle and dispose of sharps and needles before any procedure.
    3. Use safe needle alternatives available to you.
    4. Follow the safety features of the device exactly as they are intended to be used.
    5. Immediately dispose of contaminated needles in sharps containers that are approved by OSHA and the CDC.

    In the case that you are stuck by a needle or think that you have been exposed in some way to bloodborne pathogens, make sure to follow these important steps:

    Bloodborne Pathogen Certification for Healthcare Workers

    If you are a healthcare worker, you will most definitely require bloodborne pathogen certification. OSHA Requirements dictate that healthcare workers must receive bloodborne pathogen certification and renew it annually.

    “Healthcare workers” is a blanket term that refers to anyone who works in the medical field and has direct contact with sick or injured individuals. This includes, but is not limited to, nurses, doctors, medical students, physicians, surgeons, and lab workers.

    All workplaces for healthcare workers need to have an extensive exposure control plan— more extensive than other workplaces. Other workplaces face less risk of exposure and less frequent handling of bodily fluids and contaminated sharps.

    Exposure Control Plan

    Exposure control plans (ECPs) are not made to cover any and all workplaces. OSHA provides guidelines and templates so that your ECP can be specifically adapted for your workplace. Some of the aspects of an ECP should include:

  • Organization Policy regarding the health and safety of its workers
  • Program Administration covering who is responsible for implementing parts of the ECP or the ECPas a whole
  • Job Classification of each employee, stating what they do, where they work, and what they could possibly be exposed to
  • Methods of Implementation and Control, such as precautions and controls taken to prevent the spread of bloodborne pathogens
  • List of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the workplace and how it is used
  • Hepatitis B Vaccination Plan, including training on how and when to be vaccinated
  • Post-Exposure Evaluation and Follow-Up in case an incident occurs in which someone was exposed, or possibly exposed, to bloodborne pathogens
  • Employee Training plans for when and how employees were trained and prepared for handling bloodborne pathogens
  • These are just some of the more vital and common parts of an ECP, but there are other parts that your employer may need to include for your workplace. An ECP is similar to a Hazard Communication Plan, and some parts can be shared from one to another depending on your workplace.

    Other Occupations That Need Bloodborne Pathogen Certification

    There are few other occupations aside from healthcare workers that require some form of bloodborne pathogen training. However, proper training is still important for those that do not work in healthcare because there is a possibility of drawing blood in any occupation .

    However, there is a significant risk of exposure with some other occupations unrelated to healthcare, such as:

    Your employer will determine the need for specific workplace training. They have the responsibility to prepare you for all significant workplace hazards, which may include bloodborne pathogens. Check out our homepage for more information.