Bloodborne pathogens are infectious microorganisms present in blood that can cause disease in humans. These pathogens include, but are not limited to, hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS. Workers exposed to bloodborne pathogens are at risk for serious or life-threatening illnesses.
The universal precautions state what employers should do to protect workers who are occupationally exposed to blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM). These precautions protects workers who can reasonably be anticipated to come into contact with blood or OPIM as a result of doing their job duties.