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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) disseminated the Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens standard due to a significant health risk associated with exposure to viruses and other microorganisms that cause bloodborne diseases. "Bloodborne pathogens are infectious microorganisms present in blood that can cause disease in humans. These pathogens include, but are not limited to, hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS. Workers exposed to bloodborne pathogens are at risk for serious or life-threatening illnesses"
The standard sets forth requirements by OSHA for employers with workers bloodborne pathogens in order to reduce or eliminate the hazards of occupational exposure. The steps of importance are to ensure safety and proper cleaning of exposure to viruses and other microorganisms that cause bloodborne diseases.
One step is an employer must identify and ensure the implementation of work practice controls. An exposure control plan for the worksite are practices that reduce the possibility of exposure by changing the way a task is performed, such as appropriate practices for handling and disposing of contaminated sharps, handling specimens, handling laundry, and cleaning contaminated surfaces and other materials. This type of control also ensures the use of personal protective clothing and equipment, provide training , medical surveillance, hepatitis B vaccinations, and signs and labels, among other provisions.
Another step is to identify and use engineering controls which are devices that isolate or remove an employee exposure to bloodborne pathogens hazardous at the workplace. They include sharp disposal containers, self_sheathing needles,such as sharp-injury protection and needles systems, and the use of safer medical devices, such as needleless devices, shielded needle devices, and plastic capillary tubes.
The third step is an employee is provided with the appropriate exposure to bloodborne pathogens and other microorganisms that cause bloodborne diseases. The personal protective equipment (PPE) requires safety items, such as gloves, gowns, eye protection, and masks. Employers must clean, repair, and replace this equipment as needed. Provision, maintenance, repair and replacement are at no cost to the work.
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