Bloodborne Pathogens

The OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard (29 CFR 1910.1030) applies to any employee who through the performance of their job may reasonably be expected to have exposure to human blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM).


OSHA defines Other Potentially Infectious Materials (OPIM) as:

The following human body fluids: semen, vaginal secretions, cerebrospinal fluid, synovial fluid, pleural fluid, pericardial fluid, peritoneal fluid, amniotic fluid, saliva in dental procedures, any body fluid that is visibly contaminated with blood, and all body fluids in situations where it is difficult or impossible to differentiate between body fluids; any unfixed tissue or organ (other than intact skin) from a human (living or dead); and HIV-containing cell or tissue cultures, organ cultures, and HIV- or HBV-containing culture medium or other solutions; and blood, organs, or other tissues from experimental animals infected with HIV or HBV.


Meharry has a comprehensive Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure Control Plan.


Employee Exposure Determination

The following is a list of all job classifications at Meharry in which all employees have occupational exposure: Students, Nurses, Physicians, Dentists, Residents, Patient Service Representatives, Lab Techs, Respiratory Therapists, Phlebotomists, Medical Assistants, and Custodians.


The following is a list of job classifications in which some employees at Meharry have occupational exposure: Principal Investigators, Post-doctoral Fellows, Graduate Students, and Research Technicians. All research projects that have any potential for biosafety hazards is reviewed by the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) to ensure proper understanding and minimization of hazards as well as compliance with the Meharry Exposure Control Plan (ECP). These projects may begin or end at any point in the year, and the tasks and procedures for each one may vary. Therefore, the IBC serves a vital role in ensuring compliance and safety with regard to research projects.


Sharps Safety

Many employees are exposed to bloodborne pathogens each year while using needles and other sharps such as scalpels. As a result, there are extensive requirements for safe sharps included in the Bloodborne Pathogen Standard.


Hepatitis B Vaccine

OSHA requires that Hepatitis B vaccine be provided to any employee who may be exposed to bloodborne pathogens through the course of their work. Meharry provides this service at no cost to affected employees. If an employee decides not to be vaccinated, that employee must complete the Hepatitis B Vaccination Declination Form and submit the signed form to the EHS Department.


Work Practice Controls

Work Practice Controls refers to procedures that reduce the likelihood of exposure by performing work using safer methods. An example of this would be to use safe sharps, and if safe sharps cannot be used, then only recap a needle using a one-handed scooping technique.


Personal Protective Equipment

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is specialized clothing or equipment worn for protection against a hazard. Examples of PPE that may be worn to protect against exposure to bloodborne pathogens include gloves, face shields, splash goggles, lab coats, surgical gowns, and similar clothing that can provide a protective barrier.


Post Exposure Evaluation and Follow Up

Following a report of an exposure incident, a confidential medical evaluation and follow-up shall be immediately conducted by Employee and Student Health Service Director for the exposed employee. If the exposure occurs after-hours, the evaluation must begin in the Emergency Department.



Training for each affected employee is required on an annual basis (every 12 months). The primary method of training is an electronic course through the Healthstreams training application. Contact the EHS Department for any questions or additional training needs.

Contact EHS

Dept. of Environmental Health & Safety
1005 Dr. D. B. Todd, Jr., Blvd.
Nashville, Tennessee 37208
Telephone: 615.327.6642