Bloodborne pathogens are pathogenic microorganisms that are present in human blood, and can cause disease in humans. Cleaning professionals can be exposed to these pathogens while performing basic duties such as trash removal, handling laundry, or cleaning up after a sick person. Taking proper precautions when performing such duties can prevent serious illness, or even death.
Being exposed to bloodborne pathogens leaves cleaning professionals, and others, at risk of contracting lifelong diseases. Any person facing potential exposure should be aware of the hazards and risks, in addition to knowing and applying proper precautions to avoid contracting disease. Most occupational exposure occurs when the pathogens come in contact with mucous membranes. Knowing this and the precautions that should be taken to avoid exposure when cleaning can save lives.
Some precautions that should be taken to reduce, or even eliminate, the potential of contracting diseases such as HIV or HBV include: wearing gloves and eye protection, being careful not to compress bags when removing trash, and being careful to clean up and dispose of fluids and contaminates in a way that will not cause any splashing or spattering. It is also very important to follow the universal precaution recommending that blood and certain other bodily fluids be considered potentially infectious, and that infection control precautions be taken to minimize the risk of exposure.
An effective way to reduce or eliminate contracting disease from bloodborne pathogens is by teaching cleaning professionals and others who may encounter blood or other bodily fluids about precautions that can and should be taken for their own safety, as well as those around them.