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Introduction to Standard Precautions


Date of Last Review 10/18/10

Date of Last Review 10/31/11

Date of Last Review 01/25/13
Infection Control Manager

Implementation of standard precautions is the primary strategy for successful nosocomial infection control.

Levels of precautions

This table explains two levels of precautions:

Note: This topic provides further information about standard precautions only.


Designed for the care of...


All patients in hospitals, regardless of their diagnosis or presumed infection status


All body fluids, secretions, and excretions, regardless of whether or not they contain visible blood
: Sweat

Non-intact skin

Mucous membranes


Patients known or suspected to be infected by epidemiologically important pathogens spread by:

Airborne or droplet transmission

Contact with dry skin or contaminated surfaces


The term standard precautions replaces the term universal blood and body fluid precautions.


Hospital staff must consistently use standard precautions when they anticipate contact with the blood or other body fluids of any patient.


Each unit or department manager is responsible for:

Identifying procedures and activities requiring personnel to use protective eye-wear, gowns, masks, and gloves

Ensuring that his/her employees follow appropriate standard precautions.


This table lists how UTHCPC educates each employee about the importance of using standard precautions:

Type of Education


New employee orientation

Stresses the need for routine use of standard precautions with all patients according to UTHCPC procedures

Includes instruction on the following topics:

Blood-borne pathogens

Modes of transmission

Prevention and control measures

Health habit formation

Continuing education

Reinforces the use of standard precautions

Introduces the most recent infectious disease control guidelines


Provides training in technical skills or procedures necessary to ensure the most effective use of standard precautions

Organized by the Nursing Department content experts and Infection Control on a regular or as needed basis


Each unit maintains a copy of the CDC Recommendations for Prevention of HIV Transmission in Health Care Settings.

Related standards

The Joint Commission : Surveillance, Prevention, and Control of Infection

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Harris County Psychiatric Center University of Texas Health Science Center