International Janitorial Cleaning Services Association

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Importance of knowing Bloodborne pathogens

07 Nov 2020 1:17 PM | Rondon Manwaring

The cleaning industry is a great place to work especially if you are an outdoor/active person. The industry has serious potential to earn anyone exponential success. However, that comes with a price that monetary possessions can't buy, a compromised health situation. As a business owner of my own cleaning company I am so glad that I paid attention in the many OSHA courses underwent during my tenure in the biopharma and human donated tissue environments. The one thing always stood out was the universal precaution of treating all human blood and certain bodily fluids as if they are infectious.

With this in mind, the importance of knowing bloodborne pathogens are critical to every cleaning employee and staff. It is of paramount importance that workers and staff first become aware of their environment and what bloodborne pathogens they can be exposed and or at risk to. Everyone gets excited when starting a new job and many at times want to dive right into the payroll aspects of the company but can totally miss the core of the entire orientation. In my opinion, is the occupational exposure and safety presentation during orientation are the most important slides. When it comes to knowing how a company handles OSHA regulations related to protecting employee health in the workplace is huge for me. 

Workers/staff must first know and understand what are bloodborne pathogens, become familiar with the types and know their definitions to say the least. Employees must realize they have a responsibility to protect themselves from bloodborne exposure through thorough company provided OSHA training and recurring training follow ups. Knowing the risks and what procedures to follow and who to contact in case of an exposure should become second nature to any employee/staff. Employees should know the importance of having their employer provide access to things like an "exposure control plan", ensuring that labels are complicit to OSHA's standards, etc. Employees should have a clear understanding of course objectives such as, occupational exposure, transmission of germs whether they are airborne, respiratory, direct contact, fecal/oral, and or blood contact.

When these important aspects of bloodborne pathogen are understood employees can Segway into further becoming aware of control mechanisms (knowing safe practices including proper use of PPE), preventative measures (rule of thumb.....don't store food in biohazard storage fridge compartments where blood is kept), house keeping rules (cleaning work areas based upon a routine schedule), and post exposure such as, (reporting near misses, incidents to supervisor and having them document the event(s). Every employee, staff member, and employer have a role to play to keep each other safe and protected from bloodborne pathogens transmission in the workplace.        

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