Precautions Against Bloodborne Pathogens


Bloodborne pathogens (BBPs) are disease-and infection-causing micro-organisms carried by blood or other potentially infectious materials. You cannot tell by looking at someone if they are infected, therefore it is important to understand the hazards and the ways to avoid exposure. BBPs are not spread through casual contact. Laborers, in general, are at no higher job-related risk for these viruses, although some may engage in behaviors that put them at a higher risk. Consequently, Laborers should be aware of the potential danger and how to prevent infection. Hepatitis had HIV are two of the most common bloodborne pathogens.


This is the general name for any inflammation of the liver and can be caused by toxins such as alcohol, drugs (prescribed or over-the-counter), and chemicals in aerosol sprays, paint thinners and other environmental pollutants. Hepatitis causes the liver to stop functioning properly. Four types of Hepatitis are bloodborne pathogens. B,C,D, and G.

Hepatitis B&C are spread through contaminated blood, semen and vaginal fluids. Those at risk include: sexual partners of infected individuals, injection drug users and people who snort cocaine, transfusion recipients, or anyone exposed to blood of a contaminated person. Hepatitis A, although not a bloodborne pathogen, can also put Laborers at risk and is spread by food and water that are preventable vaccines available for Hepatitis A& B, but not for Hepatitis C.


HIV is a virus that attacks a persons immune system making them susceptible to infection. Once a person has HIV, they have it for life. It can be treated to prolong life, however it cannot be cured. Anyone- man or woman, gay or straight black or white, old or young can get the disease.

HIV is spread through exposure to infected blood, semen, vaginal fluids and breast milk. It can be spread through sexual contact, sharing needles and contact with a bleeding person. HIV cannot be transmitted through tears, sweat, saliva, urine or stool, unless thy are contaminated with visible blood.


Bloodborne pathogens are not spread through casual contact; only through the behaviors described above. Therefore, it is necessary to take the following precautions to prevent infection:

•Use condoms during sexual intercourse;
•Dont do IV drugs or share needles or equipment for drugs, body piercing and tattooing;
•Practice universal precautions on the job; treat ALL body fluids as if they are contaminated, regardless of who it comes from:
•Wear personal protective equipment (PPE), where applicable