What You Need to Know About the Bloodborne Pathogen Standards

While bloodborne pathogens are a serious health concern, bloodborne pathogen standards can help keep people safe. Standards set by OSHA dictate what should be done to protect employees from bloodborne diseases. These guidelines are important for companies that work with blood or other potentially infectious material. If you don’t know the basics of these standards, read on!

What Are Bloodborne Pathogen Standards? 

Before diving into this subject, you need to know what these standards are. When you decide to register for bloodborne pathogen training, your instructor will explain that bloodborne pathogen standards are a set of regulations that bloodborne pathogens must meet before they can be used in medical treatments. Enrolling in these classes should clear up most of your questions.

There are two bloodborne pathogen standards. The first is for products known as blood components and the second is for products known as therapeutic plasma derivatives. The blood component standard regulates how blood and blood products are collected, processed, stored, and distributed. This standard also sets requirements for manufacturers who produce blood-related products. 

The therapeutic plasma derivative standard oversees the collection, testing, manufacturing, labeling, storage, and distribution of these therapies. It’s important to know that this standard does not apply to human cells or tissues intended for implantation into humans. 

Both of these standards are overseen by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA also enforces bloodborne pathogen rules at blood centers, hospitals, research facilities, organ procurement organizations, laboratories that work with human cells or tissues for implantation into humans.

Who Is Covered By The Regulations?

A big question is who is covered by bloodborne pathogen standards. The regulations apply to a lot of workers in different sectors who could come into contact with blood or other bodily fluids in their work, including employees who might not be doing any kind of medical work. These people are classified as ‘regulated’ and they need to know what the law requires from them in terms of safety equipment and procedures when working around these hazards.

The ones covered by these regulations are as follows:

  • Healthcare workers, including nurses, doctors, dentists, lab technicians, and anyone who comes into contact with blood or other bodily fluids as part of their work
  • Employees of a correctional facility who have contact with inmates
  • Staff in schools who come into contact with students’ blood during first aid procedures
  • Employees of social service agencies who may come in contact with clients’ blood as part of their job duties
  • Anyone who works on the production line for things that could contain human blood, such as medical supplies or cosmetics

There are many other professions and sectors that are not specifically mentioned here but which could still be covered by the regulations if there is a reasonable chance that an employee could come into contact with bloodborne pathogens. This includes jobs like working in a butcher’s shop, doing janitorial work, or cleaning up after crime scenes.

How Do You Comply With The Standards?

In order to comply with the bloodborne pathogen standards, you’ll need to take a few simple steps. First of all, make sure that you are familiar with the standard and what it requires. You can find a copy of the standard on the CDC website.

Next, make sure that you have an effective training program in place. Employees who are going to be working with blood or other potentially infectious materials should receive adequate training so that they understand how to protect themselves from infection. The training should cover topics such as how to properly use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), how to decontaminate work areas, and how to deal with spills or accidents.

Finally, make sure that you have proper facilities place for handling and storing biohazardous material. This includes a designated area for decontamination, as well as appropriate storage cabinets and refrigerators.

If you take these simple steps, you can be sure to comply with the bloodborne pathogen standards. For more information, please visit the CDC website.

What Are The Consequences Of Noncompliance?

If you do not comply with bloodborne pathogen standards, there can be serious consequences. People could get sick or even die if you do not take the necessary precautions to protect them from infection. It is essential that you understand and comply with all of the relevant safety regulations in order to keep your employees safe and healthy.

Compliance with bloodborne pathogen standards is critical for protecting both your employees and customers. If you fail to comply, you could face fines, lawsuits, and even criminal charges. It is simply not worth the risk to ignore these important safety regulations. Make sure that you are doing everything possible to keep your workplace safe and healthy by complying with all applicable bloodborne pathogen standards. 

The fines are up to $70,000 for each violation of the Bloodborne Pathogens Standards and up to a year in jail. There is also a civil liability that can involve fines of more than $250,000 per infection plus attorney fees and legal costs. The criminal penalties are much higher if someone becomes ill or dies due to your negligence: fines increase from what would be considered “petty” misdemeanors under state law (up to $100) into felony charges with potential prison sentences between one and fifteen years depending on the severity of the crime.

Who Is At Risk Of Exposure?

There are certain risks that can lead to exposure to bloodborne pathogens. These risks affect healthcare workers, students and educators in the medical field, and people who work or volunteer at a non-profit organization that provides assistance for people suffering from infections such as HIV/AIDS or hepatitis B & C.

The risks of exposure are higher when handling bodily fluids which include blood, semen, vaginal secretions, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and synovial fluid (joints). 

In addition to more commonly known risks of infectious disease transmission like Hepatitis B virus (HBV), Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Syphilis, Chlamydia, etc., other risks include spinal meningitis, rabies, as well as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD).

Bloodborne pathogen standards are made in order to protect workers and all the people they’re connected with. They can be learned from training and there are many industries that are covered by these regulations. You need to make your workplace compliant, and if you don’t, you will suffer severe consequences for negligence. A lot of workers can be exposed to it causing lots of different diseases that can be hard or impossible to beat. Get educated and be careful!

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