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Importance of Knowing About Bloodborne Pathogens

01 Feb 2023 8:20 AM | Chris Poynter

Bloodborne pathogens are infectious microorganisms in human blood that can cause disease in humans. These pathogens include, but are not limited to, hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Needlesticks and other sharps-related injuries may expose workers to bloodborne pathogens. Workers in many occupations, including first responders, housekeeping personnel in some industries, nurses and other healthcare personnel, all may be at risk for exposure to bloodborne pathogens.

Therefore, it is important for all employers to inform their employees about the potential risk of coming in contact with bloodborne pathogens.  The best option is always prevention through education and providing the appropriate PPE to employees and encouraging them to follow these steps:

  • Use barrier protection at all times.
  • Use gloves for protection when working with or around blood and body fluids.
  • Change glove between patients.
  • Use glasses, goggles, masks, shields, and waterproof gowns/aprons to protect face from splashes.
  • Wash hands if contaminated and after removing gloves.

In order to reduce or eliminate the hazards of occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens, an employer must implement an exposure control plan for the worksite with details on employee protection measures. The plan must also describe how an employer will use engineering and work practice controls, personal protective clothing and equipment, employee training, medical surveillance, hepatitis B vaccinations, and other provisions.  This is important to keep all employees safe, healthy, and knowledgeable in the workplace when exposed to bloodborne pathogens.


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