Training At-Risk Employees | Bloodborne Pathogens

All employees with a potential for exposure must be provided with adequate training and information including:

  1. General explanations of the modes of transmission, symptoms, epidemiology, warning signals relating to possible exposure, and procedures to follow if exposure occurs.

  2. Appropriate methods for recognizing tasks that may involve exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials and the use and limitations of practices that would reduce exposure. This includes engineering controls, work practices, and personal protective equipment.

  3. Information on the use, location, and decontamination/disposal of personal protective equipment and clothing, and information on what to do in an emergency.

Each occupationally exposed employee must be given free BBP information and training at the time of initial assignment and at least once a year thereafter. The training must be provided during working hours. Additional training is needed when existing tasks are modified or new tasks are required which affect the employees' occupational exposure.

A variety of written material, oral presentations, films, videos, computer programs, or audiotapes can be used in the training program. The information that is presented must be appropriate to the employee's education, literacy level, and language.

OSHA requires that the trainer provide opportunities for interactive questions and answers with trainees. That means that training done solely with a video or film without a discussion period would be a violation of the BBP standard. However, direct access to a qualified trainer via a telephone hot line or an immediate e-mail answer is an acceptable alternative.

Training Program Elements

Training sessions must be comprehensive, including information on bloodborne pathogens as well as on OSHA regulations relating to this standard and the employer's exposure control plan.

At a minimum, the training program must include the following elements:

  • An accessible copy and explanation of the standard;

  • A general explanation of the epidemiology and symptoms of bloodborne diseases;

  • An explanation of the modes of transmission of bloodborne pathogens;

  • An explanation of the written exposure control plan and how to obtain a copy;

  • An explanation of how to recognize events that may involve exposure to blood and other potentially infectious materials;

  • An explanation of the basis for selecting personal protective equipment, including information on the types, selection, proper use, location, removal, handling, decontamination, and disposal of personal protective equipment;

  • An explanation of the use and limitations of safe work practices, engineering controls, and personal protective equipment;

  • Information on hepatitis B vaccination, such as safety, benefits, effectiveness, and availability;

  • An explanation of the procedures to follow if an exposure occurs, including methods of reporting and the medical follow-up that will be made available;

  • Information on the post-exposure evaluation and follow-up required in the event of an exposure, and information on emergencies that relate to blood or other potentially infectious materials, follow-up procedures, and medical counseling;

  • An explanation of information on warning signs, labels, and color-coding.

Trainer Qualifications

The person conducting the training must be knowledgeable in the subject matter, especially as it relates to the workplace that the training addresses. Trainer competency should be based on the completion of specialized courses, degree programs, or work experience.

Possible trainers include a variety of healthcare professionals such as infection control practitioners, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, occupational health professionals, physician's assistants, and emergency medical technicians.

Non-healthcare professionals, such as but not limited to, industrial hygienists, epidemiologists, or professional trainers, may conduct the training provided they are knowledgeable in the subject matter covered by the elements contained in the training program as it relates to the workplace.

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