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Cleaning employees and bloodborne pathogens

07 Mar 2021 11:56 AM | Jose David Luna

Bloodborne pathogens are a serious concern for cleaning employees.  It’s important that all cleaning personnel understand what bloodborne pathogens are, what hazards they possess, how to prevent exposure and the procedures for post exposure.  Bloodborne pathogens include, but are not limited to, hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). These diseases can be transferred through blood and bodily fluids.  It is important that cleaning employees and staff understand the importance of these hazards and follow guidelines on safety.

OSHA has created guidelines for employers on how to implement control measures, universal precautions, hazard communication and record keeping.  Work practices should be explained to the employees and enforcement of the procedures should be a top priority.  Understanding the importance of using Personal protective equipment, disinfectants and the post-exposure steps are critical in those working in facilities that have possible contact with bloodborne pathogens. Eating, drinking smoking, applying cosmetics or lip balm, and handling contact lenses are prohibited in work areas where there is reasonable likelihood of occupational exposure to body fluids.

Employers must implement a safety program so employees understand and follow the rules for working with bloodborne pathogens. They must wear the proper PPE, use the appropriate cleaning products and equipment when working in these facilities. A universal precaution is an approach to infection control to treat all human blood and certain human body fluids as if they were known to be infectious.

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