Bloodborne Pathogens

Bloodborne pathogens are disease-causing viruses, bacteria, or other organisms that can cause serious illness, and are transmitted through contact with human blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM). The Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control Program covers the University of North Carolina at Charlotte employees whose job duties present a reasonably anticipated risk of occupational exposure to human blood or OPIM, and outlines procedures to protect employees in accordance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Bloodborne Pathogens standard, 29 CFR 1910.1030.

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 bodily 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 UNC Charlotte 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. Please consult with the Office of Biosafety for research laboratory anticipated exposures.

What you need to know

  • The workplace must be assessed to determine if employees have potential exposure to human blood or OPIM. A list of potential exposure job classifications is outlined in the Bloodborne Pathogens Program Appendix I. If you have occupational exposure to human blood or OPIM and your job classification is not on the list, please submit a safety service request as soon as possible.
  • The hepatitis B vaccine must be offered free of charge to employees within 10 days after they start a job with a potential for exposure to human blood or OPIM. The Bloodborne Pathogens Program Appendix II includes instructions for enrollment.
  • Training must be provided initially and annually
  • Biohazard containers must be properly labeled
  • A specific clean-up procedure is outlined in the Bloodborne Pathogens Program Appendix IV. Additional procedures may need to be written for site-specific hazards.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) must be provided
  • Complete an injury incident report for any exposure


The Environmental Health and Safety Office offers the following services:

  • Consultative hazard assessment
  • Hepatitis B vaccine authorization
  • Training
  • Biohazard signage
  • Biohazard spill kits
  • Written programs, plans, and procedures
  • Inspections