Background on Bloodborne Pathogens Testing
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Timeline of OSHA's 40 Year History

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was established in 1971. Since then, OSHA and our state partners, coupled with the efforts of employers, safety and health professionals, unions and advocates, have had a dramatic effect on workplace safety. Fatality and injury rates have dropped markedly. OSHA safety and health standards, including Bloodborne Pathogens have prevented countless work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths. This timeline highlights key milestones in occupational safety and health history since the creation of OSHA.

OSHA's Bloodborne Pathogens Standard 29 CFR 1910.1030 states an employer whose employees have occupational exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) must provide training at the time of initial assignment and at least annually thereafter.

OSHA interprets this to mean that the employer is responsible for providing this training regardless of whether the employee previously worked in a similar job for another employer and/or was given training by another employer prior to their current position. The requirements of the Bloodborne pathogens standard are performance-based, and compliance is determined on a facility-by-facility basis.

Employers must ensure that their workers receive regular training that covers all elements of the standard including, but not limited to:

  • information on Bloodborne pathogens and diseases
  • methods used to control occupational exposure
  • hepatitis B vaccine
  • medical evaluation and post-exposure follow-up procedures

Employers must offer this training on initial assignment, at least annually thereafter, and when new or modified tasks or procedures affect a worker's occupational exposure. Also, HIV and HBV laboratory and production facility workers must receive specialized initial training, in addition to the training provided to all workers with occupational exposure.

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