Reacting to a Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure

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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Infection Prevention and Control for Healthcare Personnel. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Reacting to a Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure

OSHA requires employers to provide an immediate and confidential medical evaluation and appropriate follow-up to employees that have an exposure incident at no cost to the worker.
If you experience a bloodborne pathogen (BBP) exposure:
  • Wash/flush/irrigate the affected area:
    • Wash needlesticks and cuts with soap and water.
    • Flush splashes to the nose, mouth, or skin with water.
    • Irrigate eyes with water or saline.
  • Notify your supervisor right away.
  • Seek medical evaluation/treatment immediately per facility policy. 
  • Document the incident per facility policy (eg, completing an exposure incident report).
  • Follow-up as instructed.
If you are not sure, but think you may have been exposed to a BBP, contact your supervisor or the appropriate department/personnel (eg, Occupational Health) designated by your facility. If an exposure is confirmed, it is important to follow up as instructed.