Implications of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's bloodborne pathogen standard for the occupational health professional

J Occup Med. 1994 May;36(5):548-55.


On December 6, 1991. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) issued its final regulation concerning occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens (29 CFR 1910.1030). OSHA has determined that workers in a variety of settings face a significant health risk as the result of occupational exposure to blood and other body fluids. The pathogens that are of the most concern include human immunodeficiency type 1 (HIV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV). OSHA concludes that the hazard can be minimized via engineering and work practice controls, personal protective equipment, HBV vaccination, training and education, and appropriate use of signs and labels. Occupational health professionals, including physicians, nurses, industrial hygienists, and safety officers, are faced with the challenge of writing and periodically updating exposure control plans that are unique to their settings, as well as advising colleagues in other settings. They are charged with identifying the appropriate at-risk groups within their workplace, and providing them with the appropriate training to enable employees to understand the rationale for the safety procedures that prevent exposures to blood-borne pathogens. This review of HIV/HBV articles pertinent to the occupational setting analyzes six topics including: (1) occupational risk of transmission of HIV, (2) occupational risk of transmission of HBV, (3) special concerns of dental practices, (4) risk of HIV/HBV outside the hospital, medical, or dental office setting, (5) legal and ethical issues involved in HIV testing, and (6) the United States Public Health Service postexposure HIV/HBV prophylaxis/treatment recommendations.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood-Borne Pathogens*
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • HIV Infections / transmission
  • Health Occupations*
  • Hepatitis B / prevention & control
  • Hepatitis B / transmission
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / standards*
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Occupational Exposure / prevention & control*
  • Risk Factors
  • United States
  • United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration