Bloodborne Pathogens and Needlestick Prevention
OSHA's Bloodborne Pathogens Standard applies to all ambulance
service and first responder service providers. This is the law
that mandates the Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure Control Plan for each
service. The subsequent Needlestick Prevention Act mandates that if
there is a safety device available, it must be used unless there is a
patient safety issue that overrides the employee safety issue.
Safety controls or “devices” include sharps disposal containers,
self-sheathing needles, safer medical devices, such as sharps with
engineered sharps injury protections and needleless systems.
The requirement to implement safer medical devices is not new. You
must evaluate and implement appropriate engineering controls during the
mandated annual review of your services Bloodborne Exposure Control
Plan. During your annual review of devices, you must inquire about
new or prospective safer options and document this fact in your written
Exposure Control Plan. When evaluation is complete, devices should
be implemented promptly after appropriate education and training on the
use of any new device.
Safety equipment must be available at all times. If for some
reason an engineering control is not available (due to supply shortages,
back orders, shipping delays, etc.), this must be documented in your
Exposure Control Plan. You would then be responsible to implement the
chosen control(s) as soon as it becomes available and adjust your
exposure control plan to illustrate such. In the meantime, work practice
controls must be used and, if occupational exposure still remains,
personal protective equipment must also be used.
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information and for the benefit of the general public. The Department of
Health Services does not testify to, sponsor, or endorse the accuracy of
the information provided on externally linked pages.
are several resources available for employers and employees with regard
to occupational exposures to blood and OPIM. Please see the following