Bloodborne Pathogens

This is refresher training only. If you have not received previous training you must attend an initial Bloodborne Pathogens training course either provided by your department; Safety and Environmental Management; or other training venue.

This training module has been divided into several pages. At the bottom of each page is a link to the next page. At the end of the training module is a 10 question test. When you have successfully completed the test (passing score 80%), you will be prompted to fill out the training documentation form. You should print the form as it is your only confirmation as a record of training.

If you have any questions, you may contact us at 581-4088.

Who is required to have Bloodborne Pathogens Training?

All employees (including work study students, teaching assistants, graduate students, etc.) with a reasonably anticipated exposure or contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) as a result of the performance of their job duties.

This training module, the University of Maine Bloodborne Pathogens Program, and the department/task specific training that you receive from your supervisor satisfies the OSHA 29CFR 1910.1030 requirements. Addressed in the training is information about:

  • The epidemiology and symptoms of bloodborne diseases
  • The modes of transmission of bloodborne pathogens
  • Exposure control plans
  • How to prevent or reduce exposure
  • Selection of personal protective equipment
  • Hepatitis B vaccine
  • Appropriate actions to take and procedures if an exposure incident occurs
  • Posts-exposure evaluations and follow-up
  • Signs and labels and/or color coding required

If you have an occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens, you must receive initial training before you perform any tasks where occupational exposure may take place and at least every year thereafter. You must also complete training when there are changes in your responsibilities, procedures, or work situation affects your occupational exposure.

What is meant by "exposure"?

An exposure incident is an eye, mouth, or other mucous membrane, non-intact skin or parenteral contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials.

  • Parenteral contact means piercing mucous membranes or the skin barrier through such events as needle sticks, human bites, cuts, and abrasions.
  • Non-intact skin means dermatitis, abrasions, wounds, cuts, hangnails, chafing, chapped, etc.

Direct injection of infectious blood may occur in less apparent ways. For instance, a preexisting lesion on your hand from an injury that occurred at the workplace or at home or from dermatitis may provide a route of entry for bloodborne pathogens. In addition, transfer of contaminated blood via objects or environmental surfaces can also cause infection.

The importance of training, personal protective equipment, and other work practice controls to help prevent exposure should not be underestimated.

What is a bloodborne pathogen?

A pathogen is a specific causative agent (as bacterium or virus) of disease. Bloodborne pathogens are microorganisms such as viruses or bacteria carried in blood or other bodily fluids which can cause diseases in people. These pathogens include, but are not limited to, hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

There are a number of bloodborne diseases other than HBV, HCV and HIV, however, this training will only address those listed above.

What are the other bodily fluids?

Other Potentially Infectious Materials (OPIM) include:

  • Any body fluid visibly contaminated with blood
  • Any body fluid that cannot be identified
  • Saliva in dental procedures
  • Vaginal secretions
  • Semen
  • Synovial (joint space) fluid
  • Peritoneal (body cavity) fluid
  • Pericardial (sac surrounding the heart) fluid
  • Pleural (lung space) fluid
  • Amniotic (birth water) fluid
  • Unfixed human tissue or organs
  • Blood, organs, or tissues from research animals experimentally infected with HIV or HBV, and HIV or HBV containing cultures or stocks

OPIM does not include feces, urine, sputum, nasal secretions, sweat, tears, or vomit unless they contain visible blood.

What are some examples of UMaine employees that may be exposed to blood and other potentially infectious materials?

The scope of the Bloodborne Pathogens standard is not limited to employees in the health care industry. The hazard of exposure to infectious materials can affect employees working in many types of jobs here at UMaine. Examples of these jobs are:

  • WorkersPhysician, nurses and medical personnel (i.e. Cutler Health)
  • Nursing faculty
  • Housekeeping personnel
  • Facility Management plumbers
  • Facility Management rubbish and recycling crews
  • Farm workers
  • Child care
  • Laundry handling workers
  • Custodial workers
  • Athletic trainer
  • Research workers
  • Law enforcement personnel
  • Divers
  • Sporting event services
  • Lifeguards
  • Paramedics and emergency medical technicians
  • Anyone providing first-aid medical care
  • Jobs that require CPR training
What are the risks of bloodborne pathogens?
also click on the disease name hyperlink for more information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Hepatitis B Virus


Hepatitis C Virus


Human Immunodeficiency Virus


General information and Signs & Symptoms

The symptoms are: jaundice, fatigue, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, joint pain.

Liver cirrhosis and liver cancer.

About 30% of persons have no signs or symptoms. Signs and symptoms are less common in children than adults.

Symptoms may take up to nine months to appear following an exposure incident

Symptoms are: jaundice, fatigue, dark urine, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea.

80% of persons have no signs or symptoms.


Any symptom related to any other illness that the body can no longer effectively combat.

A person becomes susceptible to infection by bacteria and viruses that were easily controlled by the body prior to infections.


There is a 6-30% chance of converting if exposed.

There is no known cure.

A vaccination is available to help prevent HBV infection.

This virus is very viable and can live in dried blood and on surfaces for up to seven days.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HCV infection is the most common chronic bloodborne infection in the United States.

There is no vaccine. It often does not make you sick initially.

Lives for a long time in dried blood.

Viral infection that attacks the immune system. It can take up to 10 years for HIV to turn into AIDS. There is no known cure and no vaccine, but it may be suppressed by drugs.

There is <1% chance of seroconversion if struck by contaminated needle.

It's very fragile outside the host organism <24 hours, and is easily killed by hot soapy water or bleach.

Is there a vaccine available?

Vaccine So far, there is only a vaccine available for the Hepatitis B virus to help prevent infection. Many medical, scientific, and public health communities strongly endorse using hepatitis B vaccine as a safe and effective way to prevent disease and death.

You may be offered this vaccine upon initial assignment to your job where you have an occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens. This vaccine is free to UMaine employees and is coordinated through Human Resources.

  • There is one exemption to being offered the HBV vaccine -- if you are only required to render first aid only as a collateral duty resulting from workplace incidents (generally at the location where the incident occurred). OSHA standards state that certain tasks (for instance, field workers, electricians, loggers, telecommunications employees, and scientific divers) must have a first aid trained person available, but it is not expected that the employee will render first aid or encounter blood/OPIM during the normal course of their duties.

This exception doesn't apply to designated first aid providers who render assistance on a regular basis, for example, at a first aid station, clinic, dispensary or other location where injured employees routinely go for assistance; nor does it apply to any healthcare, emergency, or public safety personnel who are expected to render first aid in the course of their work. These employees must be offered the vaccine prior to exposure.

For more information about the HBV vaccine, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for a HBV vaccine factsheet.

Am I required to get the vaccine?

Although it's required that you are offered the HBV vaccine, you are not required to receive it. If you do not wish to receive the vaccine, you may decline it but you must sign a declination statement. A copy of the declination statement can by downloaded by clicking here.

The declination statement must be kept in your employee records.

Pre-exposure vaccination is the most effective method for preventing such infection. However, it can be expected that some individuals, who initially decline vaccination, will experience an exposure incident. Fortunately, effective post-exposure prophylaxis exists for HBV exposures if appropriate protocols are followed. It's important that your report any exposure (whether you have received the vaccine or not) to your supervisor right away. Treatment following an exposure must begin immediately (no later than 24 hours). Ask your doctor for any current treatment options to help prevent of any bloodborne type diseases.

If you initially declined the hepatitis B vaccination but at a later date you wish to receive it, you may do so at any time, as long as you're still have an occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens.

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