Janitorial employees need training in bloodborne pathogens prevention because as they clean various buildings from business offices to medical offices there is always potential to being exposed to bloodborne pathogens from accidental bodily fluid spills or needles or other similar medical devices that are not properly disposed of in biohazard bins. Janitorial employees need to be prepared to prevent exposure and also what to do should they be exposed.
Training in how to recognize a potential hazard and how to properly handle said hazard should be provided by the employer to the employee. Should an employee encounter a needle they should be wearing appropriate medical equipment and should handle the needle carefully and dispose of in a proper sharps bin that is labeled and has a lid. Proper personal preventative equipment can include masks, gloves, gowns, face shields and/ or protective eyewear. Those who are at a higher risk of exposure can also consider vaccinations to help reduce risk of exposure.
Employers should have a plan on how to respond to potential exposure and should keep record of any needle sticks (sharps injury log) or exposure and medical records associated with at work exposure. Should an employee get stuck by a needle or have a pathogen enter thru broken skin, mouth, nose, or eyes needs to quickly wash out the pathogen with water (soap and water for skin) and seek medical attention. After handling any item that is used to clean up a spill should be properly disposed of as well as protective equipment and hands should be washed with soap and water before putting on new protective equipment and continuing with assigned tasks.
With proper training in prevention and response the risk of contracting bloodborne illnesses while providing janitorial services can be greatly reduced. With knowledge attained from training a person is able to make better decisions while at work to prevent themselves and others from exposure.
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