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Bloodborne Pathogens Program

Learn about UC San Diego's Bloodborne Pathogens Program.

The Bloodborne Pathogens Program (BBP) protects employees who can reasonably anticipate being exposed to bloodborne pathogens while performing their job duties.

Exposure Control Plan requirement

If there is any possibility an employee may be exposed to BBP’s during the course of their work, the principal investigator or supervisor must implement a written Exposure Control Plan.

Exposure Control Plan requirements are different for laboratory, non-laboratory (e.g., emergency responders and sports trainers), and healthcare personnel.

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Laboratory personnel

Principal investigators with employees who may be exposed to BBPs must:

  • Complete an Exposure Control Plan (ECP).
    • Attach the completed ECP to the appropriate online Biohazard Use Authorization (BUA).
    • If you are unable to attach the form to your online BUA, e-mail a copy to ehsbiosafety@ucsd.edu with this subject line: "BBP ECP Please Attach to BUA #_______".
  • Ensure personnel receive this training:
    • Lab-specific training about:
      • Hazards associated with the research
      • Personal protection equipment
      • Safety practices and behaviors
    • Biosafety: Bloodborne Pathogens training prior to beginning and annually

Non-laboratory personnel

Supervisors of non-laboratory personnel who may reasonably be expected to be exposed to BBPs as part of their normal duties must:

Healthcare personnel

UCSD Medical Center facilities have location specific Exposure Control Plans and training crafted for the patient care environment.

  • Contact the Medical Center Safety Office, (619) 543-7575, for more information.

Hepatitis B vaccination

Hepatitis B vaccination is strongly recommended for employees who have occupational exposure to BBP. The vaccination is provided at no cost to the employee by UCSD Center for Occupational & Environmental Medicine (COEM).

During initial BBP training, employees and students receive information about the vaccine and are provided with a Acceptance/Declination form. Employees and students working with BBPs must complete, sign and return the form to EH&S. Completed Hep B Vaccination records should be sent to EH&S Occupational Health nurse at ehs_ohn@ucsd.edu.

After completion of the 3-dose Hepatitis B vaccination series, a blood test to check the Hepatitis B surface antibody titer is strongly recommended to confirm immunity and is available at no cost to the employee.

If an employee initially declines vaccination, the vaccination remains available if at a later date the employee decides to accept the vaccination while still having occupational exposure to BBP.

Additional resources on Hepatitis B and the Hepatitis B vaccine:

Exposure procedures

Exposure procedures

  • See the UCSD Emergency Guide for Needlestick/Exposure to Blood & Body Fluids protocol.
  • Report all exposure incidents immediately.

Post-exposure evaluation and follow-up

A confidential medical evaluation and follow-up are available immediately for employees potentially exposed during an incident involving BBP. Post-exposure prophylaxis drugs are designed to stop HIV infection and replication. The sooner prophylaxis can be started, the better. Cleanse wound and then seek medical attention immediately.

  • During normal business hours call a UCSD Center for Occupational & Environmental Medicine (COEM) and ask for an emergency consultation with an Occupational Medicine Nurse:
    • COEM Hillcrest: (619) 471-9210   |   COEM La Jolla: (858) 657-1600
  • After business hours proceed directly to the emergency room at UCSD Thornton Hospital or Hillcrest Medical Center

Universal precautions and definitions

Universal precautions is an approach to infection control to treat all human blood and certain human body fluids. They help to prevent cross transmission from recognized and unrecognized sources of infection, such as: 

Bloodborne pathogens – pathogenic microorganisms that are present in human blood and other potentially infectious materials that can cause disease in humans. These pathogens include, but are not limited to:

  • Hepatitis B virus (HBV)
  • Hepatitis C virus (HCV)
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)

Universal precautions are practiced in any environment where workers were exposed to the following:

Blood – human blood, human blood components, and products made from human blood.


  • Other potentially infectious materials include human tissue and body fluids:
    • Semen
    • Vaginal secretions
    • Cerebrospinal, synovial, pleural, pericardial, peritoneal, and amniotic fluids
    • Saliva in dental procedures
    • Any other body fluid that is visibly contaminated with blood
    • All undifferentiated body fluids in emergency response situations
    • Any unfixed tissue or organ (other than intact skin) from a human
    • Human cell, tissue, or organ cultures
    • Experimental animals with human xenografts
  • Human body fluids not generally covered by the BBP unless they contain visible blood or cannot be reliably identified:
    • Feces
    • Nasal secretions
    • Sputum
    • Sweat
    • Tears
    • Urine
    • Vomit
    • Saliva

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