Blood Borne Pathogens

Bloodborne pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses, are present in blood and body fluids and can cause disease in humans. The bloodborne pathogens of primary concern are hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.

Follow standard precautions to help prevent the spread of bloodborne pathogens and other diseases whenever there is a risk of exposure to blood or other body fluids. These precautions require that all blood and other body fluids be treated as if they are infectious. Standard precautions include maintaining personal hygiene and using personal protective equipment (PPE), engineering controls, work practice controls, and proper equipment cleaning and spill cleanup procedures.

Guidelines for Preventing Infection

To prevent infection, follow these guidelines:

  • Avoid contact with blood and other body fluids.
  • Use CPR breathing barriers, such as resuscitation masks, when giving ventilation (rescue breaths).
  • Wear disposable gloves whenever providing care, particularly if you may come into contact with blood or body fluids. Also wear protective coverings, such as a mask, eye wear and a gown, if blood or other body fluids can splash. Cover any cuts, scrapes or sores and remove jewelry, including rings, before wearing disposable gloves.
  • Change gloves before providing care to a different person.
  • Remove disposable gloves without contacting the soiled part of the gloves and dispose of them in a proper container.

Thoroughly wash your hands and other areas immediately after providing care. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer where hand-washing facilities are not available if your hands are not visibly soiled. When practical, wash your hands before providing care.

 Steps to Reduce the Risk of Exposure

to reduce the risk of exposure, follow these engineering and work practice controls:

  • To reduce the risk of exposure, follow these engineering and work practice controls
  • Use biohazard bags to dispose of contaminated materials, such as used gloves and bandages. Place all soiled clothing in marked plastic bags for disposal or cleaning. Biohazard warning labels are required on any container holding contaminated materials.
  • Use sharps disposal containers to place sharps items, such as needles.

Further Information

For more information: