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Bloodborne Pathogens

Bloodborne pathogens (BBP) are microorganisms found in the blood of infected individuals that cause diseases.  They may also be present in other potentially infectious materials (OPIM), such as blood-tainted body fluids, unfixed tissues or body parts, some biological research materials, and even other primates. These pathogens are a concern because they are capable of infecting others who are exposed to infectious blood or other body fluids. 

Some workers are at risk of exposure as a result of their occupational duties, and, these workers are required to receive bloodborne pathogens training prior to initial assignment to tasks where occupational exposure may occur, and then receive refresher training annually thereafter. The training covers a variety of topics aimed at reducing the risk of exposure and disease transmission.

Bloodborne Pathogen Training

Bloodborne pathogen training should be completed annually by all workers in a laboratory or health care setting who come in contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials as a part of their normal routine and non-routine job duties. (Examples but not limited to: those involved in and the support of biological research, health services workers)

The Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) bloodborne pathogen training (Course 2111507 for research and clinical environments or 2111503 for non-research and clinical environments) can be accessed through TrainTraq, sso.tamus.edu.

By completing the appropriate training course you will learn how bloodborne diseases are transmitted, procedures for accidental exposure, the importance of early detection, the symptoms of initial exposure, and how to limit the risk of exposure.

Hepatitis B Vaccination

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a serious bloodborne pathogen that attacks the liver and can cause potentially life-threatening disease in humans.  HBV is transmitted through exposure to blood or other body fluids. 

Workers whose job duties have a reasonable anticipation of contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials are required to be offered a vaccination series against HBV. The vaccine is offered after bloodborne pathogens training and within 10 working days of initial assignment to work unless the employee has previously received the complete hepatitis B vaccination series, antibody testing has revealed that the employee is immune, or that the vaccine is contraindicated for medical reasons.

A form for acceptance or declination of the HBV vaccine must be filled out by all workers whose job duties have been identified as placing them at risk for exposure. This form is submitted  when enrollment in the TAMHSC Occupational Health Program is completed.  The following link will direct you to the TAMHSC Occupational Health Program  Enrollment Forms, tamhsc.edu/ehsm/occupational-health.html.

Exposure Control Plan

The TAMHSC’s Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure Control Plan is a written action plan that identifies occupational risks and specifies precautionary control measures needed to manage and minimize potential exposure to bloodborne pathogens. 

Exposure Incident Reporting

If a bloodborne pathogens exposure incident should occur, report the incident immediately to your supervisor and the Occupational Health Program at OHP@tamhsc.edu or 979-436-0574. 

In addition, complete and submit an Employer's First Report of Injury or Illness and, if a contaminated sharps was involved, a Contaminated Sharps Injury Reporting Form to HSC Risk Management at hsc-workerscomp@tamhsc.edu.

DO NOT DELAY! If you think you may have been exposed to human blood or infectious materials through a needle stick or cut, or in your eyes, nose or mouth, do not delay.  Thoroughly wash the affected area and immediately report the exposure to the Occupational Health Program to receive follow up care.

Questions

If you have any questions about bloodborne pathogens, Hepatitis B vaccination, your Exposure Control Plan, or your risk of occupational exposure, contact the Occupational Health Program Coordinator.