Bloodborne Pathogens: Who Needs Training?

Yesterday, we reviewed a report stating that 60,000 Americans were put at risk of contracting hepatitis B or C over the last decade because nonhospital healthcare workers failed to follow proper precautions. But the risk of contracting hepatitis and other bloodborne pathogens (BBPs) is not limited to the healthcare setting, and today we turn to OSHA’s arduous BBP training requirements, and look at a resource that can help you painlessly satisfy them.

If your organization is covered by OSHA, you must provide bloodborne pathogen training to all employees with a reasonably anticipated risk of exposure to blood or other potentially infectious material (OPIM). For example, designated first-aid providers may reasonably anticipate exposure to blood and must therefore receive bloodborne pathogens training. The training must be provided free of cost to employees and during work hours.

Determining Who Needs Training

As the employer, it is your responsibility to determine which job classifications or specific tasks and procedures involve occupational exposure. The following is a nonexhaustive list of job classifications or tasks that qualify as having a reasonably anticipated risk of exposure to blood or OPIM and are therefore covered under the bloodborne pathogens standard:

  • Employees trained and designated to render first aid, including employees who administer first aid as a collateral duty to their routine work assignments

  • Employees whose job includes cleaning or decontaminating areas or surfaces contaminated with blood or OPIM

  • Employees trained to provide medical, healthcare, and medical research services, including doctors, dentists, nurses, dental and other healthcare aides, laboratory technicians, and phlebotomists

  • Housekeepers and janitors at healthcare facilities

Your employees can teach themselves about bloodborne pathogens, as demanded by OSHA’s BBP standard, with BLR’s Interactive CD Course: Bloodborne Pathogens program. Try it at no cost or risk. Get the details.

There are three methods to determine whether bloodborne pathogens training should be provided to employees as part of the first-aid program:

  1. If an employee provides first aid or CPR as a “Good Samaritan” and has not been designated to perform first aid by the employer, that employee is not required to have bloodborne pathogens training.

  2. Employers that have a written bloodborne pathogen exposure control plan (ECP) can determine the risk of exposure to specific employees and, therefore, the necessary level of training through the plan’s hazard analysis.

  3. Employees who render first aid as part of their job duties, i.e., they have been trained or designated through the employer to provide first aid to fellow employees, must receive bloodborne pathogens training when beginning the job and annually thereafter.

Part-time and temporary employees are covered and are also to be trained on company time.

Training must be provided at the time of initial assignment to tasks where occupational exposure may take place and at least annually thereafter.

Additional Training

Employers must give employees additional training when job tasks or procedures are modified, or when new tasks or procedures affect the employee’s occupational exposure. You can limit the additional training to addressing the new exposures created.

So how do you go about satisfying these strict training requirements? Our editors feel that BLR’s Interactive CD Course: Bloodborne Pathogens may be the ideal solution. This 80-slide, self-paced training will teach your employees how to:
–Define bloodborne pathogens.
–Describe common types of bloodborne pathogens and their signs and symptoms.
–Recognize different sources of the pathogens.
–Recognize tasks and activities that may involve exposure to bloodborne pathogens.
–Identify different means of transmission and contamination.

Your trainees learn such key concepts as universal precautions and OPIM, what personal protective equipment (PPE) is available to protect against infection and when and how to use it, and what to do should an exposure occur.

Try the unique, self-directed, self-testing program, Interactive CD Course: Bloodborne Pathogens, at no cost or risk. Find out more.

The material is informative and engaging. The computer presentation even includes “hands-on” time, asking trainees to “dress” a typical worker in PPE to fit several situations. To ensure learning, users are required to answer five “knowledge demonstrations” along the way, and they cannot proceed unless they complete the demonstrations successfully.

Workers who’ve used Interactive CD Course: Bloodborne Pathogens have both learned from and enjoyed using it, while the program’s completely self-directed nature freed supervisors from standing over them during the training.

The program is available for a 30-day, no-cost (not even return postage), no-risk trial in your workplace. Let us know, and we’ll be happy to arrange it for you.