International Janitorial Cleaning Services Association

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Bloodborne Pathogens Are A Risk To Cleaning Employees

01 Feb 2020 7:29 AM | Alfredo Volckers

Bloodborne pathogens are infectious microorganisms in human blood that can cause disease in humans.  The CDC estimates that 5.6 million workers in the health care industry and related occupations are at risk of occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and others. All occupational exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) places workers at risk for infection from bloodborne pathogens. OSHA defines blood to mean human blood, human blood components, and products made from human blood.  

Cleaning employees and staff are in the group of workers that are at risk of exposure to blood borne pathogens. Cleaning workers are at risk wile cleaning bathrooms, patient rooms, surgery rooms, removing trash, etc. One of the most important things that employers needs to train their cleaning employees is how to avoid sharps injuries.

Even do studies show that as many as one-third of all sharps injuries occur during disposal and nurses are particularly at risk, as they sustain the most needlestick injuries. Cleaning personnel needs to pay special attention to this specially when removing garbage, replacing the linen in beds or handling laundry.

Every employer that have cleaning personnel or staff at risk should have all employees train in accordance with OSHA's Bloodborne Pathogens Standard (29 CFR 1910.1030) as amended pursuant to the 2000 Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act, OSHA safety standards for bloodborne pathogens. It’s the employer responsibility to provide proper training and safety equipment to all employees, but it is the worker who needs to pay special attention wile working to prevent sharps injuries and avoid contact with bloodborne pathogens and prevent any contamination.


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