7-2000 Exposure to Bloodborne and Airborne Pathogens


Officers may be called upon to directly interact with persons who are known or suspected of having communicable infectious diseases. Such interactions may occur when officers are acting as first responders, when they are called upon to transport possibly infectious persons, or to enforce isolation or quarantine orders. Other MPD employees might have contact with contaminated clothing or other personal effects of infected persons as a result of these officer contacts.

The policy of the Minneapolis Police Department regarding exposure to blood borne and air borne pathogens in the occupational setting is to provide precautions and preventative measures, offer testing, counseling and follow-up for employees exposed in the course of their work for the MPD.

The following sections provide Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidelines for MPD employees. These guidelines should be followed to prevent exposures and provide a post-exposure plan in the event an employee suffers a significant exposure.


AIDS: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome – This virus attacks a person’s immune system and reduces the ability to fight other diseases. AIDS is the final stage of HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) infection.

Bloodborne Pathogen: Pathogenic microorganisms present in human blood that cause disease. These pathogens include, but are not limited to, hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HBC), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Body Fluids: Body fluids include but are not limited to blood, semen, vaginal secretions, breast milk, amniotic fluid, urine, saliva, vomit and stool.

Health and Wellness Coordinator: The MPD’s Health and Wellness Coordinator is the designated point of contact for communications between Hennepin County Medical Center’s (or other clinic/local hospital) Infection Control Unit and the MPD.

HBV: Hepatitis B Virus – A viral infection that can result in jaundice, cirrhosis, and cancer of the liver. The virus causes HBV and may be found in blood, urine, semen, vaginal secretions and saliva. It may be transmitted by direct contact with infected persons and through needle sticks or sharps exposures.

HCV: Hepatitis C Virus – A viral infection that can result in chronic infection, cirrhosis and liver disease. Infection occurs when blood from an infected person enters the body of a person who is not infected. HCV is spread though sharing needles and through needle sticks or sharps exposures. 

HIV: Human Immunodeficiency Virus – HIV is the virus that causes AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). HIV may be transmitted from one person to another primarily through sexual contact or through the sharing of intravenous drug needles. It may also be transmitted by coming into direct contact with an infected person; i.e. an officer with a cut or sore on their hand gets blood on that hand while rendering first aid.

Influenza: Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness and can lead to death. Influenza is transmitted from person to person in respiratory droplets of coughs and sneezes. It may also be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets on another person or an object and then touches their own mouth or nose (or someone else’s mouth or nose) before washing their hands.

Infected adults infect others a day before symptoms develop and up to five days after becoming sick. Children may pass the virus for longer than seven days. Symptoms start one to four days after the virus enters the body.

Meningitis: An inflammation of the membranes that envelop the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis may be contracted through direct contact with an infected person’s respiratory secretion.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Personal protective equipment is specialized clothing or equipment used by workers to protect themselves from direct exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials. It includes, but is not limited to, protective disposable gloves, masks, goggles, boots, gowns and resuscitation masks.

Significant Exposure: Having sustained a contact which carries a potential for a transmission of bloodborne pathogens by one or more of the following means:

Note: Fluids such as urine, saliva, vomit and stool are considered significant only when they contain visible blood.

Significant exposure to diseases communicable by airborne transmission (including tuberculosis, chicken pox, measles, and pertussis) will be confirmed and follow-up will be determined with the help of Public Health.

Source Individual (SI): An individual, living or dead, whose blood, tissue, or potentially infectious body fluids may be a source of bloodborne pathogen exposure to another person. Examples include, but are not limited to, a victim of an accident, injury or illness, or a deceased person.

Tuberculosis: Bacterial disease causing swelling and lesions in the tissue of the lung. The most common means of exposure is by inhaling airborne particles from the cough of an infected person. Transmission may occur after being in a non-ventilated area for an extended period of time with an infected person. In rare cases, this bacterial disease can be transmitted through the saliva, urine, blood and in some cases, other body fluids of infected persons.

Universal Precautions: Precautions designed for infection control. Under Universal Precautions, blood and certain body fluids of all individuals are considered potentially infectious for HIV, HBV and other blood borne pathogens. Universal Precautions must be posted in a central area at all precincts and division locations.


Training on the Department’s Exposure Control Plan, information regarding Hepatitis B vaccinations and basic use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) shall be provided to all new hire personnel in at-risk assignments within a reasonable period of time of beginning employment.

The MPD Training Unit and the MPD Health & Wellness Coordinator can be utilized as a resource for employees seeking additional information/materials regarding Universal Precautions and blood/air borne pathogens in the workplace.


Hepatitis B vaccinations are available to all MPD employees at no cost. To arrange for obtaining a vaccination, contact the MPD Health and Wellness Coordinator or the MPD Training Unit.


Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is recommended and strongly encouraged in any situation which the employee believes an exposure to blood borne and/or airborne pathogens may occur. PPE may be obtained through MPD Stores and at each precinct.


When possible, all MPD employees shall practice Universal Precautions to reduce the risk of infection by blood borne pathogens. Universal Precautions shall be used for all activities involving contact with blood, tissue, body fluids, equipment and materials that may be contaminated by infectious disease.

All MPD employees are responsible for ensuring that the following Universal Precautions and policies are followed when interacting with any potentially infectious individuals or handling potentially infectious materials:

  1. Employees shall not eat, drink or smoke in work areas or at crime scenes where bodily fluids are present or other contagious factors exist.
  2. Food and drink shall not be kept in refrigerators, freezers, shelves, cabinets or on countertops where blood or other potentially infectious materials are present.
  3. Employees shall wash their hands and any other skin with soap and water, or flush mucus membranes with water immediately or as soon as feasible following contact of such body areas with blood or other potentially infectious materials.
  4. Contaminated needles and other contaminated sharps shall be properly disposed of in a "sharps" container or stored in leak-proof, puncture resistant packaging if needed to preserve for evidentiary purposes.
  5. Property and evidence containing blood and/or body fluids or other potentially infectious materials shall be placed in a container which prevents leakage during collection, handling, processing, transport and storage. The container used for transport or storage shall be labeled or clearly marked in such a way that it is evident that blood, body fluids or other potentially infectious materials are inside.
  6. All handling or decontamination of items contaminated with blood or other potentially infectious materials shall be performed in such a manner as to minimize splashing, spraying, spattering and generation of droplets of these substances.
  7. Sworn MPD employees have an obligation to inform other support personnel (MPD civilians, firefighters, paramedics, etc.) whenever a subject has blood or bodily fluids on his/her person, or if the subject has made a voluntary statement that he/she has a contagious disease.
  8. Sworn MPD employees shall indicate in the CAPRS report when an individual taken into custody makes a voluntary statement that he/she has an infectious disease. A notation shall also be made in the related supplements when a subject has blood or bodily fluids on his/her person or clothing.
  9. Employees shall not refuse to work with or handle any individual – victim, complainant or suspect because of the employee’s fears of possible infection.
  10. Employees shall not refuse to arrest or otherwise refuse to handle any person in a legitimate law enforcement context, provided that appropriate protective equipment is available.
  11. Employees shall use appropriate PPE unless it is the employee’s professional judgment that in a specific instance its use would prevent the delivery of public safety services or it would pose an increased hazard to the safety of the employee or a co-worker. When the employee makes this judgment, the circumstances shall be documented in CAPRS and with a Supervisor’s Report of Injury to be reviewed by the employee’s supervisor in order to determine whether changes can be instituted to prevent such occurrences in the future.
  12. Employees should be aware that certain prescribed medications, such as steroids and asthma medications, can suppress their immune systems increasing their susceptibility to infectious diseases. Employees should consult with their physician if they are taking prescription drugs.


MPD employees shall use the following OSHA approved cleaning procedures when disinfecting or decontaminating themselves or equipment while on-duty.

Hand Decontamination

Clothing, Tool/Equipment Decontamination

Mix 1/4 cup bleach per gallon of water. ( Note: More bleach is not better.)

Immerse objects in solution for 10 minutes; if clothing, gently agitate periodically. ( Note: Dark clothing/fabric may produce bleach spots.)

Severe Surface Decontamination

Important Considerations


Any police vehicle which has been contaminated by bodily fluids shall be taken to the Royalston Police Garage for proper biohazard decontamination. MPD employees shall not attempt to clean vehicles themselves.

Employees shall follow the standard vehicle drop-off procedure when leaving a vehicle for cleaning, including notifying the front desk during shop hours and displaying a notice on the dash of the vehicle indicating the biohazard status.


MPD employees are responsible for removing any non-biohazard items at a crime scene or traffic accident. This includes properly disposing of rubber gloves and crime scene tape.

Minneapolis Fire Department (MFD) personnel are responsible for removing any medical debris, blood and other bodily fluids from a crime scene, traffic accident, or in public places such as sidewalks and streets, and decontaminating the area.

The MPD on- scene supervisor or senior officer may request MFD Personnel to leave the crime scene/accident scene intact during a prolonged investigation of the crime/accident scene.

The MPD on-scene supervisor or senior officer shall contact the MFD via MECC to make necessary arrangements for calling MFD personnel back to the scene to remove medical debris, blood, or body fluids upon completion of the investigation.

A police officer shall remain on the scene for security purposes until MFD personnel completely remove the medical debris, blood or body fluids.


MPD is not responsible for the cleaning or repair of a crime scene after it has been processed.


MPD units which accumulate/generate biohazard materials shall properly dispose of such materials (not including chemical waste) by transporting the waste to the Minneapolis Public Service Center Laboratory, Room 523. All waste shall be clearly marked by affixing warning labels or biohazard symbols to any containers or waste involving body fluids or associated materials.

Chemical waste shall be disposed of only by use of an approved vendor. Contact the City’s Purchasing Department for assistance.


Per HIPAA laws, medical facility staff shall not release confidential patient data. Questions relating to the diagnosis of a patient who may have a potentially contagious disease or infection and with whom MPD employees may have been exposed shall be directed to the MPD Health and Wellness Coordinator. The MPD Health and Wellness Coordinator will liaison with the Infection Control Unit of the medical facility to determine if the patient’s medical status poses a risk of significant exposure to the MPD employee.


In the event of a significant exposure, the employee should do the following:

1. Seek initial medical examination with Occupational Medicine Consultants or HCMC ER; (08/05/13)

a. The employee may obtain testing, counseling, and follow-up services
     through their own medical provider;

b. Refer to the Checklist for Work-Related Injuries (08/05/13)

2. Complete a Supervisor’s Report of Injury (IOD) form and submit it to their immediate supervisor.

Note: Employees may be responsible for medical expenses incurred if Worker’s Compensation guidelines are not followed and/or Worker’s Compensation does not accept the claim.


If a physician determines that the MPD employee has suffered a "significant exposure" and the source individual is receiving treatment at a medical facility or is in-custody at the Hennepin County Jail, the medical facility will contact the source individual to obtain consent for a blood draw from the source individual (SI).

If the SI is not receiving treatment at the medical facility, the medical facility will make reasonable efforts to locate the SI and obtain consent. If the medical facility cannot identify or locate the SI, a representative from the Infection Control Unit will contact the MPD’s Health and Wellness Coordinator to inform the MPD the SI has not been contacted. The MPD may initiate actions to identify or locate the SI after receiving such notice.


If the medical facility cannot identify or locate the SI but MPD subsequently identifies and locates the SI, a consent for blood draw may be initiated by the MPD.

A consent for blood draw must be coordinated by the Precinct/Division Commander (or designee) and the MPD Health and Wellness Coordinator (or their alternate). The Precinct/Division Commander and Health and Wellness Coordinator will coordinate contact with the SI to obtain consent only under the following conditions:

  1. A physician determines that an MPD employee has suffered a significant exposure, and;
  2. The SI is not at the medical facility, and;
  3. The medical facility cannot identify or locate the SI.

When all of the above conditions are met and the MPD has identified and located the SI, the Precinct Commander (or designee) will initiate contact with the SI to obtain consent. The following steps should be taken;

  1. The Consent for Blood Draw Form (MP-8861) should be read to the SI, using a language translator if necessary. The SI should be informed they have the right to refuse testing and that any test will be paid for by the MPD;
  2. If the SI gives consent by signing the Consent for Blood Draw Form (MP-8861), the MPD may transport the SI to and from an appropriate medical facility;
  3. If the SI refuses consent, indicate their refusal on the Consent for Blood Draw form (MP-8861) and include any other information/notes;
  4. Forward the Consent for Blood Draw Form (MP-8861) to the Health & Wellness Coordinator.


If the Precinct/Division Commander and Health and Wellness Coordinator determine that a court ordered blood draw is necessary, they shall contact the city attorney who will petition the Hennepin County District Court for a court ordered blood draw.


Last updated Jul 2, 2018



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