University Safety and Assurances

Bloodborne Pathogens Training for RAs and Custodial Staff


Use of Personal Protective Equipment

When there is a potential for occupational exposure, the University provides appropriate personal protective equipment such as gloves, gowns, laboratory coats, face shields or masks and eye protection.

Personal protective equipment must not permit blood or other potentially infectious materials to pass through or reach the employee's work clothes, street clothes, undergarments, skin, eyes, mouth, or other mucous membranes.

Masks in combination with eye protection devices, such as goggles or glasses with solid side shields or chin-length face shields, shall be worn whenever splashes, spray, spatter, or droplets of blood or other potentially infectious materials may be generated, and eye, nose, or mouth contamination can reasonably be anticipated.

Sweeping Needle into Dustpan

How to Protect Yourself from Infection

If you find a discarded syringe, you must assume that the syringe may have been used by a person infected with a bloodborne disease. Therefore you must be sure not to bend, shear, break or recap the needle. You can use your dustpan and a broom or brush to sweep the needle in the dustpan. The needle should then be placed into a "Sharps" container.

When emptying trash containers, do not use your hands to compress the trash in the bag. If a needle or syringe has been disposed of in the trash and you use yours hands to press down on the trash bag there is a possibility that you could be stuck with the needle.

When carrying the trash bag to your cart, make sure to carry it away from your body so that there is no possibility of having a needle break through and pierce your skin.

Disposable Gloves

If you need to clean-up an area that has been contaminated with blood, you must assume that the possiblity exists that the blood may contain bloodborne pathogens. Therefore you will need to use the "Personal Protective Equipment" (PPE) available to you before you begin. This PPE will include:

  • Disposable Gloves
  • Protective Eyewear
  • Protective Mask (if the possibility exists that blood may splash on your face during cleanup
  • If the possibility exists that blood may splash onto your work clothes during cleanup, you should wear some kind of protective clothing (such as a disposable gown or coveralls) to cover your clothes

How to Protect Yourself from Infection


To clean up any blood spills - including dried blood, which can still be infectious:

  • If the blood spill is in a public area, use signs or caution tape to set up a barrier to keep the public away from the area
  • Remove as much visible material as possible with absorbent towels
  • After removing visual remainders of the spill, clean the area with disinfectant/detergent active against BBP (Disenfectant Solution: 1 (one) part household bleach to 10 (ten) parts of water)
  • Apply disinfectant/detergent a final time, allowing agent to set for 10 minutes or to air dry.
  • Remove your gloves being careful not to touch your skin with the contaminated gloves. Refer to Glove Removal Technique for step-by-step instructions
  • Place gloves and all disinfected clean-up materials in a plastic bag and dispose in the regular trash
  • Wash your hands well using liquid, bar or powder soap. Rub hands together vigorously to make a lather and scrub all surfaces. Continue for 20 seconds! It takes that long for the soap and scrubbing action to dislodge & remove stubborn germs. Rinse hands well under running water

What is an "exposure incident"?

"Exposure Incident" means a specific eye, mouth, other mucous membrane, non-intact skin, or parenteral contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials that results from the performance of an employee's duties.

An "Exposure Incident" includes:

  • Blood getting on a recent cut
  • Blood splashing into the eye
  • Being stuck by a needle

Cleaning up a blood or OPIM spill does not constitute an exposure incident even if someone gets blood on their skin unless the area of contact is unhealthy (cut, rash, etc.).



What should you do if you have an exposure to blood and/or other body fluids that might contain Hepatitis B virus (HBV), Hepatitis C virus (HCV), or (HIV) virus?

  • Squeeze the puncture or open area to induce bleeding. Cleanse the wound thoroughly with soap and water.
  • If a mucous membrane (nose or mouth) or eye exposure occurs: Irrigate the affected area immediately with copious amounts of water or normal saline for at least 3 minutes.
  • Report the incident to your supervisor.
  • Immediately seek medical treatment at an emergency room or contact UWM's Worker's Compensation Program at x5652 for a list of occupational health physicians. Hospital Emergency Rooms have policies and procedures for evaluation of bloodborne pathogen exposures. You should inform the emergency room intake personnel that the charges are to be filed under State of Wisconsin Workers' Compensation.
  • The supervisor, together with the exposed employee, must immediately fill out the "Employee's Work Illness and Injury Report" and an "Employer's First Report of Injury of Disease".

Hepatitis B Vaccination


Because of your potential for workplace exposure to bloodborne pathogens, you will be offered the opportunity to receive the Hepatitis B vaccination. Remember there currently is no vaccination for HIV.

What you should know about the Hepatitis B vaccination:

  • There is a very low risk of complications from the vaccine
  • There are three doses of the vaccine which you will receive over a period of 6 months
  • You must receive all three doses
  • The vaccine is greater than 79% effective
  • There is no charge to you for the vaccination
  • You may decline to receive the vaccine at this time, but if you do, you must sign a waiver
  • You may receive the vaccine at a later date if you change your mind

If you decide that you want to receive the vaccination you will need to complete the Consent Form and turn it in to your supervisor. Your appointment can be scheduled at the Norris Health Center

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the symptoms of viral hepatitis?

    The symptoms of acute (newly acquired) hepatitis A, B and C are the same. Symptoms occur more often in adults than in children. If symptoms occur, they might include:

    • tiredness
    • loss of appetite
    • nausea
    • abdominal discomfort
    • dark urine
    • clay-colored bowel movements
    • yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
  2. For how long is the hepatitis B vaccine effective?

    Studies indicate that even though your antibody levels may decline over time, your vaccination will provide protection against clinical illness and chronic HBV infection for at least 23 years.

  3. If my hepatitis B vaccination series is interrupted, do I have to start over?

    No. If the vaccination series is interrupted after the first dose, the second dose should be administered as soon as possible. The second and third doses should be separated by an interval of at least 2 months. If only the third dose is delayed, it should be administered when convenient.

  4. Can I donate blood if I have had any type of viral hepatitis?

    If you had any type of viral hepatitis since age 11, you are not eligible to donate blood. In addition, if you ever tested positive for hepatitis B or hepatitis C, at any age, you are not eligible to donate, even if you were never sick or jaundiced from the infection.

Who Should NOT Get the Hepatitis B Vaccination?

  • Anyone with a life-threatening allergy to baker’s yeast, or to any other component of the vaccine, should not get hepatitis B vaccine. Tell your provider if you have any severe allergies.
  • Anyone who has had a life-threatening allergic reaction to a previous dose of hepatitis B vaccine should not get another dose.
  • Anyone who is moderately or severely ill when a dose of vaccine is scheduled should probably wait until they recover before getting the vaccine.
HBV Brochure


  • Bloodborne Pathogens are microorganisms (such as viruses) transmitted through blood, or other potentially infectious material (OPIM)
  • Bloodborne pathogens can enter your body through a cut in the skin or through your mucous membranes (eyes, nose or mouth)
  • Hepatitis B is a serious disease which can result in lifelong infection
  • About 30% of infected people have no signs or symptoms of the disease
  • HBV is not spread through food or water, sharing eating utensils, breastfeeding, hugging, kissing, hand holding, coughing or sneezing
  • HBV can survive outside the body at least 7 days and still be capable of causing infection
  • If you must clean up a blood spill, wear your personal protective equipment, follow the steps outlined earlier in this training. If you have questions or concerns, talk to your supervisor about how to proceed
  • The Hepatitis B vaccine provides you with the best protection
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