What is Bloodborne Pathogen Training?

A standard referred to as the OSHA bloodborne pathogens standard (BBP) requires that any employee handling situations with blood exposure and potential pathogenic materials, also known as other potentially infectious materials(OPIM), to undergo training and certification.

This applies for first aid providers, employees and health experts that are tasked with the duty of handling injuries in the workplace.

BBP training should be taken at least once a year; or when there is a change in responsibility that exposes an employee to blood or OPIMs.

OSHA has made it a requirement that the training for BBP be presented to trainees according to their level of education, and the language they understand. The person conducting the training should also be a trained professional.

It is a requirement by OSHA

The OSHA bloodborne pathogen standard requires trainees to understand and have the capability to explain the concept to anyone.

The BBP standard comprises of training on handling blood and OPIMs and is grouped into various sections namely: exposure control, definitions, HIV (human immunodeficiency virus, compliance techniques, Hepatitis B virus laboratories and research facilities, post-exposure assessment and follow-up, hepatitis B vaccination and informing employees of the hazard.

Everything Your Bloodborne Pathogen Should Training Should Entail

So what should a complete bloodborne pathogen course entail. Let’s take an in-depth look:

Identification of blood-related diseases and pathogens

The human body can act as a host to a wide variety of pathogens, including viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Examples of such pathogens include HIV, syphilis, Hepatitis B, and C.

Training on BBP helps diagnose for such dangerous pathogens by conducting blood testing experiments. It is important to undergo training since these are highly infectious pathogens that require extra care while handling them.

Understanding the transmission of bloodborne pathogens

Pathogens in the blood can be transmitted from one host to another through a wide variety of ways.

 For instance, if an infected person bleeds and a non-infected individual comes into contact with the blood without using protection, he/she is at a high risk of infection.

Sharing sharp objects with the infected and exposure to the mucous membrane could also put the non-infected at a high risk of infection.

BBP training equips trainees with the knowledge about the different infection routes and pathogen exposure at the workplace.

Integrating an Office Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure Control Plan

Having an exposure control plan for employees is vital for any workplace. The procedure entails information such as:

  • A list of the tasks and duties that could potentially expose employees to pathogens or blood.
  • Methods of giving vaccinations for hepatitis, post-exposure analysis and follow up
  • A manual of how various personal protective equipment work and informative description of precautions in the workplace and different housekeeping processes.
  • The vital skill set for HIV and HBV research
  • Methods of communication of hazards to employees.
  • An exposure handling plan for the workplace.

Knowledge of occupational exposure and exposure incident.

As previously stated, the BBP standard is for workers that could be potentially exposed to BBPs or OPIMs while working, meaning that the employees’ duties could entail handling the blood or pathogenic material.

This is what occupational exposure means.

An exposure incident is different from occupational exposure in that it means that an employee has been exposed to the OPIM or BBP while working on unrelated material.

For instance, an employee gets a blood sputter on the skin from an external source.

Training equips one with the skills to handle such scenarios calmly.

List your exposure control practices

You can curb the problem of exposure by incorporating simple procedures such as:

  • Universal precautions
  • Immunizations
  • Cleaning and disinfecting tools and equipment
  • Wearing PPE
  • Personal hygiene and Handwashing
  • Labeling containers
  • Proper disposal of waste
  • Use needle-less tools, puncture-resistant vessels, and other safety devices to maintain an appropriate practice of healthcare

Educate employees on Emergency Response practices

In case of an emergency in the workplace that involves exposure to OPIMs, blood or BBP, every employee should have a protocol of how to seek assistance and how to respond to the situation at hand in a calm way.

Explain how to use PPE properly

Personal Protective equipment includes eye protection, gloves, masks, gowns, lab coats, resuscitation, etc.

PPE should be compatible with the job or task that you are performing. It is important to match the correct PPE with the potential areas of exposure.

Proper PPEs should fit the individual wearing it. Training provides you with the skills on how to properly remove the PPE and explains decontamination procedures.

Putting up warning signs and labels

It is strongly advised that any material that is hazardous i.e., containing blood, OPIMs, BBPs or regulated waste, be labeled with a biohazard symbol.

It warns an individual that might come across it that the material in the container is hazardous to his/her health and they must handle it with care.

The labels are often orange-red or fluorescent orange in color. Besides, red bags and containers could be used as an alternative to labels.

The warnings and biohazard signs should be placed on the various entry points in the workplace where research for highly pathogenic material such as HIV/HBV is conducted.

Explain the post-exposure practices.

It should be made an official requirement for any employee to report any contact with blood, mucous membrane, non-intact skin, mouth, eye or any potential OPIM/BBP carrier to their managers immediately.

Various practices on reducing the infection risk should be practiced, and the affected employee should undergo thorough medical assessment and follow-up.

Assess the vaccination program.

The hepatitis B vaccination is vital for all employees in the workplace. Therefore it should be a requirement for all.

All employees should be educated on the effectiveness of the immunization in case of infection, benefits, and how it can be given to an individual.

If any employee fails to accept the vaccination, he/she should sign a declination form to make them responsible for their health in or out of the workplace.


Pathogen carriers are common around us, and it is impossible to know who is infected or not.

The BBP standard training equips you with the skills to respond quickly to exposure incidences or occupational exposures in a calm way.

For anyone whose career or job requires that they handle potential pathogen carriers, it is critically important to undergo training for BBP to acquire the skills to protect themselves from infection, and also protect others.