Safety Policies and Procedures Manual
Chapter 2: General Workplace Safety

Bloodborne Pathogens

SPPM 2.44

For more information contact:
   Environmental Health and Safety


Bloodborne pathogens are pathogenic microorganisms including bacteria, parasites, and/or viruses present in human blood and/or other body fluids that can cause disease in humans. Departments with employees likely to be exposed to bloodborne pathogens are to implement a Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control Plan.


Positions/tasks with potential exposure to bloodborne pathogens include:

  • Health care providers
  • Custodians in health care facilities
  • Athletic trainers
  • Law enforcement personnel
  • Employees who handle or pick-up contaminated sharps or wastes containing human blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM)
  • Employees designated to clean-up human blood or OPIM spills
  • Researchers working with human blood or OPIM
  • Employees whose position description duties include providing first aid

Employees in these positions or performing these tasks may be exposed to bloodborne pathogens through inhalation, ingestion, or absorption of human blood or other potentially infectious materials.

Other Potentially Infectious Materials (OPIM)

Other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) include:

  • Semen, vaginal secretions, cerebrospinal fluid, synovial fluid, pleural fluid, pericardial fluid, peritoneal fluid, amniotic fluid, and body fluid visibly contaminated with blood or where it is difficult to differentiate between body fluids.
  • Any unfixed human tissue or organ.
  • Human cell or tissue cultures, organ cultures, culture medium, or other solutions which may contain bloodborne pathogens.
  • Blood and tissues of experimental animals infected with bloodborne pathogens.


Prevention of infection generally can be accomplished by eliminating employee exposure. In addition, immunization against the Hepatitis B Virus is recommended.

Employees are to use “universal precautions” to eliminate or minimize exposure to human bloodborne pathogens. Universal precautions are infection control approaches which require all human blood and OPIM (see Other Potentially Infectious Materials (OPIM)) to be treated as infected with bloodborne pathogens.

Specific engineering and work practice controls as well as personal protective equipment are to be utilized if human blood or OPIM are present. Contact Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) for information about applicable engineering and work practice controls; telephone 509-335-3041.



Departments are responsible for:

  • Reviewing employee position description duties to determine if the employees are likely to be exposed to bloodborne pathogens.
  • Developing a Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control Plan if supervised employees may potentially be exposed to bloodborne pathogens.
  • Ensuring that a copy of the Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control Plan is accessible to employees.
  • Reviewing the plan annually or when there is a change in duties that alters bloodborne pathogens exposures.
  • Ensuring that employees who have an exposure incident are offered post-exposure evaluation, treatment, and follow-up, as outlined in the department’s Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control Plan.An exposure incident occurs when the eyes, mouth, other mucous membrane, or non-intact skin contacts blood or OPIM.
  • Ensuring that all employees covered by the Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control Plan receive initial and annual training.
Template and Assistance

Environmental Health and Safety has created a Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control Plan template which departments may use to complete site-specific bloodborne pathogens exposure control plans. Contact EH&S to obtain copies of the template and assistance with implementing the exposure control plan requirements; telephone 509-335-3041.

Human Resource Services

Human Resource Services is responsible for:

  • Maintaining hepatitis B virus vaccination records and declination forms.
  • Assisting with post-exposure evaluation and follow-up.
  • Maintaining post-exposure evaluation and follow-up records, if applicable.

Hepatitus B Virus Vaccination (HBVV)

The Hepatitis B virus vaccination (HBVV) series is to be offered to all employees covered by a Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control Plan. The employing department pays the cost of the vaccination series.


Employees covered by a Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control Plan are to receive training prior to assignments with potential exposure to human blood or OPIM and annually thereafter. Contact EH&S to arrange training; telephone 509-509-335-3041.

Blood Spill Reporting and Cleanup

WSU Pullman

Personnel at WSU Pullman report blood spills for cleanup to the following departments:

  • Housing Services when the blood spills are in residence halls and/or University housing; telephone 509-335-1541.
  • Facilities Services, Operations when the blood spills are in University academic, research, and administrative facilities; telephone 509-335-9000.
  • Environmental Health and Safety for outdoor spills and when assistance with blood spill cleanup is needed; telephone 509-335-3041 during business hours and 911 during non-business hours.
  • University laboratories cleanup blood spills associated with laboratory research.
  • WSU Police cleans up minor blood spills associated with incident response.

All Other WSU Locations

At non-Pullman WSU locations, departments are to develop procedures for reporting and cleaning up blood spills. These procedures must include:

  • Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control Plans; and
  • Departmental or campus response teams; or
  • Contracts with local clean-up companies. (See also BPPM 10.11 and 70.50.)


Contact EH&S for assistance; telephone 509-335-3041.

Revisions:  Reviewed July 2013; May 20212 (Rev. 96); Dec. 2008 (Rev. 77); May 1999 – new section (Rev. 23).