Episode 9 – Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP) Safety


Toolbox Topic: Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP)

In today’s episode, we will not only discuss the dangers of bloodborne pathogens (BBP) but also precautions you should take to prevent becoming infected.



According to OSHA 1910.1030(b), Bloodborne Pathogens means pathogenic microorganisms that are present in human blood and can cause disease in humans. These pathogens include, but are not limited to, hepatitis B virus (HBV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).


In simpler terms, bloodborne pathogens are microorganisms such as viruses or bacteria that are found in blood and can cause disease in people.


Ways in which bloodborne pathogens can be transmitted at work include:


  1. Accidental puncture from contaminated needles, broken glass, or other sharps
  2. Contact between broken or damaged skin and infected body fluids
  3. Contact between mucous membranes and infected body fluids
  4. Accidental puncture from contaminated needles and other sharps



Hepititus B

Depending on the individual, hepatitis B can be short-lived or become a long-term infection. It can affect the liver, even leading to liver cancer and cirrhosis.


In 1965 Dr. Baruch Blumberg Discovered the hepatitis B virus and won the Nobel Prize for it.


The origins of Hep B have been widely debated. In 2013 many scientists believed it originated in birds, but in 2015, fish were thought to be the source. One thing was clear, the virus was prehistoric, likely first appearing 82 million years ago, starting in N. Africa and the Middle East. It then spread to the entire globe.



HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks cells that help the body fight infection, making a person more vulnerable to other infections and diseases. If left untreated, HIV can lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). https://www.hiv.gov/hiv-basics/overview/about-hiv-and-aids/what-are-hiv-and-aids


Between the 1930s and 1950s, several pneumocystis pneumonia epidemics occurred in northern and central Europe, affecting prematurely born children. Researchers found that the most likely cause was a retrovirus closely related to or a mild version of HIV.


The First Known Case

In 1959 the first case of HIV in a human was discovered. But, it was only later confirmed from his preserved blood samples.

In 1969, a St. Louis teenager died of an illness that baffled his doctors. Eighteen years later, molecular biologists tested samples of his remains and found evidence of HIV.

In 1981, the Center for Disease Control identified a San Francisco man as the first patient of the AIDS epidemic in the U.S.



According to WHO, the world health org, approximately 257 million people live with hepatitis B, and 620, 000 people die from it every year.


In the United States, there are approximately 3,000 new cases of hepatitis B infections every year.


Approximately 1.2 million people in the U.S. have HIV. About 13 percent of them don’t know it and need testing. In 2019, an estimated 34,800 new HIV infections occurred in the United States.



Safety Tips

Tip #1 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Any time you are exposed to blood or other bodily fluids use gloves, face protection, gowns, and other barriers to prevent contact. PPE can keep bloodborne pathogens from entering mucous membranes via the eyes, nose, or mouth.


Tip#2 Take Precautions When Exposed to Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP)

Always handle human blood and body fluids as if they are infectious; even if you think it’s likely disease-free, treat it as hazardous.


Tip#3 First Aid

Protect yourself when administering first aid. Before assisting anyone, don the proper PPE for the situation. If performing CPR use a mouth guard or what is sometimes referred to as a CPR mask.


Tip #4. Bloodborne Pathogen (BBP) Kits

Keep a BBP kit on hand. This kit will provide you with all the necessary items to clean up blood safely. Also, be sure to dispose of the contents properly. Place soiled items in doubled disposable red bags marked “Biohazard .”Place all bags into a labeled, sealable container. Also, make sure the container is color-coded or marked with a biohazard label. And lastly, have the container picked up and disposed of by an infectious waste disposal company when needed.


Tip#5 Sanitation and Potential Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP)

Wash your hands and skin immediately after contact with blood or other body fluids. And, if you believe you have been exposed to bloodborne pathogens, report your exposure to the appropriate person and see a doctor or visit an emergency room immediately.

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