Bloodborne Pathogens

Bloodborne pathogens symbol in red.

TWU faculty, staff, and students may face significant health risks from occupational exposure to blood and other potentially infectious materials (OPIM). Blood and OPIM may contain bloodborne pathogens, including the Hepatitis B virus, causing serious liver disease, or the human immunodeficiency virus, which causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

Faculty, staff, and students who are exposed to blood or OPIM as a necessary part of their employment or education are covered by URP 04.430 and the TWU Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control Plan (BBP ECP), which describes required procedures to reduce exposure. Specifically, the Exposure Control Plan covers the following:

  • Responsibilities
  • Exposure determination (listing specific employees and students who are exposed to bloodborne pathogens)
  • Methods of compliance, including universal precautions, engineering and work practice controls, personal protective equipment, and waste handling/disposal
  • Hepatitis B and other vaccinations
  • Prevention of transmission while providing health care services, where applicable
  • Evaluation and follow-up following accidental exposure to bloodborne pathogens
  • Communication of hazards to employees (warning labeling)
  • Training
  • Annual plan reviews

Exposure Incident Procedure Summary

The following is a summary of the required procedures when an employee or student has an “exposure incident”. An exposure incident is defined as a specific eye, mouth, other mucous membrane, non-intact skin, or parenteral contact with human blood or other potentially infectious materials that results from the performance of an employee’s duties or as part of a student’s education. For complete instructions, refer to the Post Exposure Incident Evaluation and Follow-Up section of the TWU Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control Plan.

An exposure incident is a medical emergency and must be addressed immediately.

Following an exposure incident, all of the following must be completed:

  1. Cleanse the wound and surrounding area with soap and water (for a puncture, cut, or similar incident) and/or flush eyes, nose or mouth with copious amounts of tap water (for a splash to the face) for a minimum of 15 minutes.
  2. Report the incident to the exposed individual’s supervisor or instructor immediately, regardless of the location or time the incident occurred.
    1. Without delaying treatment, upon notification, the supervisor should notify the Worker's Compensation Coordinator in the Office of Human Resources at (940) 898-3555 immediately if the individual is an employee.
    2. Without delaying treatment, the supervisor or instructor must notify their department’s upper-level administrative supervisor of the exposure incident.
    3. In the case of employees or students who have an exposure incident at non-TWU facilities, without delaying treatment, the supervisor or instructor must notify their department’s upper-level administrative supervisor AND the clinical site/institutional supervisor of the exposure incident.
  3. Exposure incidents should be considered urgent medical concerns. The supervisor of the exposed individual must ensure that they receive immediate medical attention. The CDC states that post-exposure incident preventive medications are most likely to be effective if administered as soon as possible after the exposure (within hours of the incident, not days). The exposed individual must immediately be sent to a nearby hospital or clinic to receive the post-exposure evaluation described below. Students may be sent to Student Health Services in Denton or to a local clinic or hospital. Employees must be sent to a clinic or hospital within the CareWorks CompKey Plus network if available in the area (call 1-800-580-1314 or visit the CareWorks website to find a provider).
    1. The exposed individual must receive a confidential medical evaluation and follow-up exam, including identification and documentation of source individual, collection and testing of blood, post-exposure prophylaxis when medically indicated, and appropriate counseling regarding infection status/results of tests/necessary precautions.
    2. The information on the TWU BBP Exposure Incident Reporting Form must be provided to the healthcare professional providing the medical evaluation as soon as possible (but do not delay sending the exposed individual for treatment). This may be accomplished verbally or by using the form, but all information on the form must be provided.
  4. The exposed individual’s supervisor must obtain and provide the individual with a copy of the medical provider’s written opinion within 15 days of completion of the evaluation. This opinion must be limited to the items listed on the TWU Medical Provider's Written Opinion Form.
  5. Employees and their supervisor(s) must complete several required injury/incident forms and submit them to TWU Human Resources as soon as possible after the employee receives medical care. The forms can be obtained from the TWU Human Resources website, or by contacting the Worker's Compensation Coordinator at (940) 898-3555.
  6. Students can submit a claim for post-incident medical care under the BBP insurance program. Individual treatment locations can choose whether or not to run/accept the BBP insurance program. In the event a location is asking for payment upfront, the student is encouraged to contact Student Health Services to have the invoice submitted to them or, if the incident occurs after hours and/or the student cannot reach someone at SHS, they can submit the invoice to them for reimbursement.
  7. If the exposed individual is an employee who has not previously been offered the Hepatitis B vaccination (deferred vaccination position), the individual must be offered the vaccination within 24 hours. This includes any incident where they render assistance, even if they themselves have not had an actual exposure incident and may not require full medical evaluation.
  8. If the incident involved a percutaneous injury from contaminated sharps, the DSHS “Contaminated Sharps Injury Reporting Form” must be completed by the supervisor and mailed to the local health department (with a copy to Risk Management) within 10 days of the incident.

Work With Human Blood or Other Potentially Infectious Materials (Including Certain Human Cell Lines)

In clinical settings, those exposed to blood or other potentially infectious material must follow the TWU Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure Control Plan (BBP ECP). Similarly, in research settings, certain activities also fall under the BBP ECP. Work with primary human cells, tissues, explants, etc. are considered other potentially infectious materials. Established cell lines and human cell strains NOT documented to be tested and free of bloodborne pathogens are also considered other potentially infectious materials. If there are questions as to whether work is required to follow the BBP ECP, contact EH&S. 

For any additional questions regarding bloodborne pathogens or the Exposure Control Plan, contact EH&S at 940-898-4001, option 3, or email risk@twu.edu.

For a map of publicly available sharps disposal containers, consult the TWU Sharps Containers Across Campus map.

Page last updated 2:06 PM, November 28, 2022