International Janitorial Cleaning Services Association

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Service owners need to understand bloodborne pathogens can kill cleaning staff

30 Nov 2019 5:54 PM | Georgia Smith

  An important aspect to civilised society is the demand to maintain certain levels of cleanliness. To obtain a clean and safe environment, cleaners should be aware of bloodborne pathogens and the steps necessary to avoid contamination or exposure.

Bloodborne pathogens are pathogenic microorganisms that are present in human blood and cause diseases such as HBV Hepatitis B Virus or HIV Human Immunodeficiency Virus. In order to reduce exposure certain Universal Precautions should be considered. Precautions such as the proper use of equipment like gloves,disinfectant, or color coded or properly labeled disposal containers, as well as the disinfection/ disposal of infected areas or equipment. 

In the unfortunate incident of exposure, cleaning staff should be aware of their employer's control plan and notify OSHA immediately. OSHA is the occupational safety and health administration. Established in 1970, OSHA's mission is to provide safe and healthy working conditions. Those exposed should monitor their health for signs of HBV a liver disease with symptoms including but not limited to, fatigue, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, jaundice vomiting or diarrhea. Another common infectious disease is HIV. Signs of HIV are fatigue, flulike symptoms, rashes or swollen glands. These disease may not be evident for years to come and continued vigilance is advised.

In closing, the importance of understanding and obtaining a safe and clean environment is achievable by educating those in the field. OSHA's safety guidelines are thorough and the risk of exposure is minimized when universal precautions are maintained. 

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