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Injuries with risk of Blood Borne Virus (BBV) transmission

Injuries exposed to blood or body fluids have a risk of blood borne virus (BBV).

These include injuries from:

  • needle sticks
  • sharps (for example, scalpel injury during surgery)
  • human bite
  • broken skin exposure
  • mucous membrane exposure

BBV infections include:

  • hepatitis B (HBV)
  • hepatitis C (HCV)
  • human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)

These infections can cause long-term health effects.

What to do if you have been exposed to BBV

If you have been exposed to a BBV you must report the incident to your manager. You should follow local procedures immediately. Getting an early assessment of the incident improves your treatment outcome.

You should contact your local occupational health service. If the incident happens out-of-hours, you should attend the emergency department.

A risk assessment of the incident will be carried out. Treatment or advice will be given based on this risk assessment.

Treatment and blood tests will be followed up confidentially by occupational health. You will be advised on fitness to work. A referral to appropriate services will be made, where necessary.

Managing and preparing needles and sharp instruments

Properly managing needles and sharp instruments reduces the risk of injury.

Managers must put measures in place to manage incidents.

These measures include:

  • ensuring staff are aware of local procedures
  • providing appropriate equipment and adequate training
  • ensuring appropriate action after an incident

EU sharps directive and regulations

Managing a potential Blood Borne Virus (BBV) exposure

Service areas must have local procedures to follow in case of an incident of BBV.

Local procedures for managing a BBV incident include:

  • employee, manager, source patient, medical team and occupational health responsibilities
  • name and contact details for the manager of the service
  • occupational health department details
  • emergency department details

Procedures should be based on the Emergency Management of Injuries (EMI) guidelines and toolkit - see EMI Guidelines website


Local occupational health contact details (PDF, 474KB, 20 pages)