Bloodborne pathogens are micro-organisms that transmit serious illness and diseases. These diseases include, but are not limited to, HBV (Hepatitis B Virus) and HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). These diseases are not visible to the human eye, and may be contracted in any environment with substantial risk of Blood-borne Pathogen exposure, such as hospitals. Properly educating staff on the risks of these diseases is the first step to prevention.
Most likely methods of contact with these viruses, that many may be first unaware of, include but are not limited to; garbage, laundry, and cleaning up after sick personnel. As such, staff should be educated on proper approaches to handling task that may render potential exposure hazards. Garbage should never be manually compressed, as needles or sharp infectious material could potentially stab or cut the person, potentially causing exposure. Laundry that is infected with bodily fluids should always be treated as highly dangerous and bagged and labeled separately in an orange or red bag marked bio-hazard. When cleaning up after an individual who is ill, especially if there is vomit or other bodily fluids, the cleaner must take the utmost caution to avoid spraying/splattering chemicals that may spread the infected environment.
Staff should also receive HBV Vaccination within 10 days of receiving an assignment that has a high risk of Bloodborne pathogen exposure. All job sites with this potential risk of exposure are required to have a written exposure control plan that must be updated annually. A copy must be distributed to any staff at their request. In the event a staff member is exposed to potential pathogens they should inform their employer and also consult a doctor immediately. Also in the event of exposure, an employer is required to maintain records of the incident for a minimum of 3 years.
By following these steps to educate and inform staff and employees, we can mitigate the risk of infection and spread of disease.
Learn more about bloodborne pathogens here.