Bloodborne Pathogens Program

About the Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP) Program

The purpose of the UW BBP Program is to protect employees from exposure to human blood and other potentially infectious materials (OPIM). The requirements of the BBP Program are mandated by the Washington State BBP Rule, WAC 296-823. The Environmental Health and Safety Department administers the UW Bloodborne Pathogens Program.

All UW employees with a reasonably anticipated potential for exposure to human blood and its components, human tissue, all human cell lines, human source materials, as well as medications derived from blood (e.g., immune globulins, albumin) and other potentially infectious materials (OPIM), are required to comply with the University's BBP Program. Principal investigators (PIs)/supervisors are responsible for assessing activities in the workplace and determining if employees have a potential for occupational exposure. Compliance with the UW BBP Program involves the following components:

  1. Developing a BBP Exposure Control Plan
  2. Offering the hepatitis B vaccine
  3. Training

BBP Definition

BBP are pathogenic microorganisms that are present in human blood and OPIM and can cause disease. Examples include hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

OPIM includes all of the following:

  • Human cells, tissue, or organ cultures
  • Culture supernatant
  • Any solutions containing HIV/HBV/HCV or other bloodborne pathogens (BBPs)
  • Any body fluid visibly contaminated with blood or OPIM
  • Cerebrospinal fluid
  • Pericardial fluid
  • Synovial fluid
  • Pleural fluid
  • Saliva during dental procedures
  • Peritoneal fluid
  • Blood, organs or tissues from animals infected with HIV/HCV/HBV or other BBPs
  • Any fluid where it is difficult to identify the presence or absence of blood
  • Vaginal secretions
  • Amniotic fluid
  • Semen
  • Any unfixed tissue or organ (other than intact skin) from a human (living or dead)

Urine, feces, vomit, sweat, tears, and saliva are not considered to be a risk for BBP transmission unless there is visible blood in them. However, they should still be approached with caution by using latex or nitrile gloves and other personal protective equipment (PPE) as needed when handling.


The Hepatitis B Vaccine

Principal Investigators (PIs)/supervisors must offer the hepatitis B vaccine to employees within 10 days of commencing a job with a potential for exposure to blood or OPIM. The hepatitis B vaccine is provided at no cost to the employee. Employees in the BBP Program must complete the Hepatitis B Vaccination Form and submit it to the Employee Health Center prior to working with human blood or other potentially infectious materials. Contact the UW Employee Health Center (UW campus: 206-685-1026; Harborview: 206-744-3081) for questions about the vaccine. For more information about the hepatitis B vaccination see the Centers for Disease Control fact sheet. There are no vaccines available for hepatitis C or HIV at this time.


Exposure Control Plan (ECP)

EH&S maintains the UW Core BBP ECP. It is located in the Biosafety Manual Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control. It includes the policies and procedures for safe work with human blood and OPIM.

PIs/supervisors must develop a Site-Specific BBP ECP by completing the Site-Specific BBP Exposure Control Plan form (Word). This Site-Specific BBP ECP supplements the University's Core ECP and includes who is in the BBP program, personal protective equipment for tasks, decontamination procedures, and first aid and medical follow-up procedures exposure response.

The Site-Specific BBP ECP must be reviewed annually and updated as necessary. PIs/supervisors must train their employees on the site-specific BBP ECP prior to work and annually thereafter. Training must be documented.



The PIs/supervisors must ensure that their employees receive initial and annual EH&S Bloodborne Pathogens BBP training. EH&S BBP training and PI/supervisor provided training, on the site-specific BBP ECP, is required. To register for EH&S BBP training, go to the EH&S training website. The class may be completed in person or online.



Forms and Manuals

Health and Safety

Regulations and Guidance



If you have questions about the BBP program or need assistance, contact EH&S at 206.221.7770 or