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Summary

The OSHA blood-borne pathogens standard was developed to help reduce blood-borne pathogens transmission and infection. The blood- borne pathogens standard has general and specific recommendations, and all healthcare workers are required to have a basic knowledge of and comply with the recommendations of the standard. Adhering to a health employer’s policies related to employee safety and sanitary rules, such as the correct use of PPE, proper handling of blood and other body fluids, medical equipment, i.e., needles, sharps, and disposable medical equipment, and the disposal of contaminated or potentially contaminated medical equipment, are important requirements to prevent blood-borne pathogen transmission. Proper hand washing technique, including use of gloves, and the use of safety precautions are standard competencies for all healthcare workers.

Exposure to blood or body fluids in the healthcare setting continues to occur at alarming rates. Necessary information on how to report an unsafe exposure, such as a needlestick wound, is both an employer and employee obligation. The potential medical consequences are quite serious and research indicates that the psychological burden of a needlestick can be significant. An exposure to a blood-borne pathogen should be reported immediately.