Bloodborne Pathogens

The OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens standard (29 CFR 1910.1030) defines an employer’s responsibilities to employees with potential occupational exposures to bloodborne pathogens. SMU extends the same protections to students with potential exposures as well.

Who is covered?

Any employee or student whose work or education involves reasonably anticipated exposure to human blood or other potentially infectious materials will be covered by SMU’s Bloodborne Pathogens Program.

What comprises “blood or other potentially infectious materials?”

This term includes:
  1. Human blood, human blood components, and products made from human blood
  2. Several 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;
  3. Any unfixed tissue or organ (other than intact skin) from a human (living or dead); and
  4. 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.
This DOES NOT include urine or vomit, unless it is visibly contaminated with blood. Further clarification from OSHA specifies that human cell lines, including those that are commercially available, are subject to the Standard unless they have been explicitly tested and shown to be pathogen-free.

What are Bloodborne Pathogens?

Bloodborne Pathogens are pathogenic microorganisms that are present in human blood and can cause disease in humans. These pathogens include, but are not limited to, hepatitis B virus (HBV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).   

Exposure Control Plan

SMU has developed an Exposure Control plan, which addresses exposure determination, universal precautions, engineering and work practice controls, personal protective equipment, and housekeeping.  EHS will provide a copy upon request and review the plan annually.


The Bloodborne Pathogens Standard requires that SMU provide annual training to all employees and students with potential exposure to bloodborne pathogens.  EHS offers this training online via SafetySkills.  Please contact EHS to sign up for this training.

Hepatitis B Vaccination

Hepatitis B vaccination is available to all affected employees and students at no cost.  The cost is covered by the Office of Risk Management. 

All affected individuals must first sign and submit the Hepatitis B Vaccination form. This form includes an option to decline the vaccination for any reason.

If you have already received the Hepatitis B vaccination, or if you are medically unable to receive the vaccination, you must send proof to Gloria Ruiz at Environmental Health and Safety.  These records will be kept confidential.

If you would like to receive the vaccination, it will be provided to students at the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center and to employees at Nova Occupational Medicine Center.  Students and employees will be provided with an authorization form before they visit the appropriate health center.

Universal Precautions

Universal Precautions are an approach to infection control. According to the concept of Universal Precautions, all human blood and certain human body fluids are treated as if known to be infectious for HIV, HBV, and other bloodborne pathogens.  Under circumstances in which differentiation between body fluid types is difficult or impossible, all body fluids shall be considered potentially infectious materials.  Some examples of Universal Precautions include, but are not limited to:

  • Engineering controls to minimize exposure
  • Proper handwashing technique
  • Safe sharps practices and devices
  • No eating, drinking, smoking, applying of cosmetics or lip balm, or handling of contact lenses
  • Minimization of aerosolization
  • Secondary containment for transportation of specimens
  • Proper decontamination procedures
  • Appropriate personal protective equipment
  • Regulated medical waste management