Minimizing Exposure to Blood and Body Fluids

Sonia Miller, EdD, MSN, BSN, RN, CIC, FAPIC Manager for Infection Prevention & Control

Defense Health Agency (DHA)

Infection Prevention and Control Program, Clinical Quality Management Division (QMD)/Patient Safety

Revised Publication:
November 2, 2022
Original Publication:
October 2, 2014
Declarations of Conflicts of Interest:
  • Sonia Miller reports no potential conflicts of interest.


Occupational exposure of healthcare personnel (HCP) to blood and other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) poses a significant public health risk for transmission of HIV, hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, and other bloodborne pathogens. Percutaneous injuries from contaminated sharps account for the largest number of healthcare personnel exposures to blood and other potentially infectious materials. To minimize exposure risks, healthcare organizations must take a comprehensive approach that includes the use of Standard Precautions; engineering controls, administrative controls, and work practice controls; worker training and education; and strong support from healthcare management for the safety system. This chapter reviews device-related causes of sharps injuries, available technologies for reducing injuries, and procedure- and device-specific exposure control measures.