Universal Precautions

Policy 670.45

Policy Statement

Universal precautions is an approach to infection control that assumes that any blood, body fluids, and body secretions are potentially infectious. The possibility for transmission of blood-borne pathogens such as HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C coupled with the inability to identify all infected patients demands that appropriate hand washing and protective barrier precautions (including but not limited to eye protection, mask, gown, gloves and appropriate footwear) be used consistently for all patients when it is likely that exposure to blood, body fluids, or body secretions may occur.

Policy Elaboration

  1. Affiliated health care organizations, where students participate in clinical experiences, may have additional universal precautions and blood-borne pathogen policies and procedures which students will be required to follow. Students are expected to follow universal precautions with all patient clinical encounters and any additional precautions as determined by affiliated health care organizations.
  2. Students should always take precautions to ensure their safety. Should a student feel that an affiliated clinical site’s universal precautions and blood-borne pathogens policies and procedures place them at risk, they should notify the Associate/Assistant Dean for Students.

Applicability of the Policy

All Medical Students

Related Larner College of Medicine Policies

Related University of Vermont Policies

Related Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) Standard(s)

12.8 Student Exposure Policies/Procedures


  • 5/20/2014 Policy Adopted/Affirmed [Medical Curriculum Committee]
  • 8/20/2019 Gender Neutral Language Edit [Medical Curriculum Committee]
  • 12/17/2019 Reformatted [Medical Curriculum Committee]
  • 4/26/2022 Policy Edit [Medical Curriculum Committee]
  • 6/20/2023 Policy Revised [Medical Curriculum Committee]
  • 12/19/2023 Policy Edit [Medical Curriculum Committee]

Policy Oversight

Associate/Assistant Dean for Students  

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