Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP) Program


The purpose of the UW Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP) Program is to protect employees from exposure to human blood and other potentially infectious materials (OPIM).

Bloodborne pathogens (BBP) are pathogenic microorganisms that are present in human blood; these and other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) can cause disease. Examples include hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

OPIM includes all of the following:

  • Human cells, tissue or organ cultures
  • Human cell culture supernatant
  • Any solutions containing HIV, HBV, HCV or other BBPs
  • Any body fluid visibly contaminated with blood or OPIM
  • Cerebrospinal, pericardial, synovial, pleural and peritoneal fluids
  • Vaginal secretions
  • Amniotic fluid
  • Semen
  • Blood, organs or tissues from animals infected with HIV, HCV, HBV or other BBPs
  • Saliva during dental procedures
  • Any fluid where it is difficult to identify the presence or absence of blood

Urine, feces, vomit, sweat, tears and saliva are not considered to be a risk for BBP transmission unless there is visible blood in them.

All UW employees with a reasonably anticipated exposure to human blood, tissues, cell lines and other pathogenic agents that are present in human blood and OPIM are required to comply with the Bloodborne Pathogens Program.

What you need to know

Principal investigators (PIs) and supervisors are responsible for assessing activities in the workplace to determine if employees have a potential for exposure. The UW BBP Program includes:

  • Developing and maintaining a BBP Exposure Control Plan
  • Offering the hepatitis B vaccine
  • Training

PIs/supervisors must develop a site-specific BBP Exposure Control Plan as a supplement to the UW’s core BBP Exposure Control Plan in the UW Biosafety Manual. The site-specific plan identifies who is covered by the plan, personal protective equipment (PPE) for each task, decontamination procedures and first aid/exposure response procedures.

PIs/supervisors must offer the hepatitis B vaccine to employees within 10 days after they start a job with a potential for exposure to human blood or OPIM. The vaccine is provided at no cost to the employee. Employees must submit the Hepatitis B Vaccine Form provided at the end of the online BBP training to the Employee Health Center. The form is submitted electronically from the training module.

PIs/supervisors must ensure that employees receive initial and annual BBP training. Additionally, PIs/supervisors must provide training to employees on their site-specific BBP Exposure Control Plan.

What you can do to stay safe

  • Stay current on BBP training
  • Follow your site-specific BBP Exposure Control Plan
  • Learn more about the hepatitis B vaccine
  • Practice sharps safety, and follow universal precautions
  • Follow the Exposure Response Poster for any exposures or accidents

Bloodborne pathogen exposure

If an exposure to a bloodborne pathogen occurs, seek medical attention and follow the instructions on the Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure page.

Glossary Terms

materials in addition to human blood including all of the following:

  1. 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.
  2. any unfixed tissue or organ (other than intact skin) from a human (living or dead).
  3. 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.
  4. blood and tissues of experimentals animals infected with bloodborne pathogens.

Frequently asked questions

More Information