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Bloodborne Pathogens Program: Engineered Sharps Protection

Learn about engineered sharps protection requirements for work involving potentially infectious materials.


The California Bloodborne Pathogens Standard requires the use of sharps with engineering controls that isolate or remove possibility of contact with bloodborne pathogens.

UC San Diego's Bloodborne Pathogens Program requires personnel working with potentially infectious materials, including human and non-human primate blood, cells (primary and established), and tissues, to comply with the standard.

Follow these requirements for documentation, engineered sharps protection, and training:


  • Materials covered under the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard must be listed on an approved Biohazard Use Authorization (BUA).
  • Identify the specific sharp and engineered sharps protective device within the BUA or other Exposure Control Plan. 
  • Exemptions to the engineered sharps policy must be reviewed and approved by the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC).
  • Complete a Hazard Control Plan through the Hazard Control Plan application on My Research Safety.

Engineered sharps protection

An engineered sharps protection device can vary based on the sharp. The purpose is to cover the sharp edge that may pierce or cut when either in use or immediately after use. Some examples of an engineered sharps protection device include scalpel with a retractable blade, needle with syringe that retracts needle once content is dispensed, or blunt needles.

Use engineered sharps protection for any of the following:

  • Withdrawal of body fluids after initial venous or arterial access is established
  • Administration of medication or fluids
  • Any procedure involving the potential for an exposure incident (manipulation of human blood, blood products, tissues, or cell lines using a syringe, or any injection of these materials into animals, etc.)
  • Bloodborne pathogens and any agent designated as Biosafety Level 2+ (BSL2+)

See Engineered Sharps Vendors for equipment sources.


All personnel working with these materials must receive the following training:


To learn about exceptions to the engineered sharps protection requirement, contact EH&S Biosafety.

Contact EH&S Biosafety.