OSHA estimates that 5.6 million workers in the health care industry are at risk of occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens. Workers exposed to bloodborne pathogens are at risk for serious or life-threatening illnesses. Bloodborne pathogens are infectious microorganisms present in blood that can cause disease in humans. Diseases such as HBV, HCV, or HIV. Providing staff with the proper protocol for cleaning and handling potentially hazardous materials reduces the risk of exposure.
Universal precautions work as a prevention to exposure. This requires the employee to treat all fluids as potentially hazardous. Potentially hazardous fluids should be handled with gloves, goggles and face shields to limit exposure. Trash bags should not be pushed down to avoid risk of getting pricked by sharp objects.
Even though precautions have been put into place, mistakes still occur. In this case, having a Post Exposure Management Plan is necessary. The focus of the plan should be on what an employee can do after exposure has occurred. The employees and staff should be aware of the need to flush the area, contact their supervisor, and contact a health care professional. In the end, prevention, precaution, and post exposure should be key elements of employee training.
Learn More About Bloodborne Pathogens Here