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Definition: 'Universal Precautions'

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Universal Precautions

Type: Term

Pronunciation: yū′ni-ver′săl prē-kaw′shŭnz

1. (in full, Universal Blood and Body Fluid Precautions). A set of procedural directives and guidelines published in August 1987 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (as Recommendations for Prevention of HIV Transmission in Health-Care Settings) to prevent parenteral, mucous membrane, and nonintact skin exposures of health care workers to bloodborne pathogens. In December 1991, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) promulgated its Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens Standard, incorporating universal precautions and imposing detailed requirements on employers of health care workers, including engineering controls, provision of protective barrier devices, standardized labeling of biohazards, mandatory training of employees in Universal Precautions, management of accidental parenteral exposure incidents, and availability to employees of immunization against hepatitis B.

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