Cleaning employees & staff knowing about bloodborne pathogens
One of the common life-risks involved with the routine work of Housekeepers and Cleaning employees are the existence of bloodborne pathogens. These can be found on surface or elements, with them workers are coming in contact routinely.
According to OSHA definition, “Bloodborne Pathogens (BPs)are infectious microorganisms in human blood that can cause disease in humans. These pathogens include, but are not limited to, hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)”
The BPs are kind of ‘Silent Killer’. Their illness symptoms can be developed sometimes years after the infection event. Hence, Workers must be aware for this fact and understand the need to repeat again and again safety instructions and guidance.
As much the health risk found in BPs is high, as much is the unawareness for them. This exactly due to the fact, cleaning and housekeeping is about getting into contact with trash left behind human action. "This is part of the Work" our brain tell us. We must get into the d . As in driving, which is risk-involved activity naturally, our brain directed us to ignore risks and disturbances that are not immediate. In such way, PBs sources of risk are usually ignored.
Part of the solution of getting over the “Routine is the Enemy (RIE)” problem, is to refer for any element or surface, having the chance of carrying body liquids or blood as ‘BPs contaminated ‘. In such way, any surface or element coming in contact with human body liquids, will be treated according to the OSHA regulations as contaminated stuff. In this way, we will eliminate much of the 'RIE psychological effect' and always be at the safe-side regarding BPs risks. This will help us also, to fulfill our part in preventing infectious diseases and their spread in the cleaning-environment.
Following the golden-rule says: “Being aware to problem is 50% of its solution”, we must be in contact awareness to the BPs risks. At the moment we are aware, just few had to be done to be at the Safe-Side. Widely speaking is to follow the OSHA set of precautions and standards directed “to reduce or eliminate the hazards of occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens” (OSHA BPs and Needlestick Prevention).
It all starts by development of "PBs and Needlestick Prevention plan", and of course, its implementation in the workspace. The program has little to do if is any, with disturbance for work routine. Also, at the moment staff are aware to its importance it is widely and happily accepted and assimilated quickly in workplace.
As part of this program, special care is given for any “Needlesticks and other sharps-related injuries may expose workers to bloodborne pathogens”. Their appearance in Laundry or in other places like toilets and bathrooms in expected in high chance, especially while speaking on cleaning in healthcare facilities.
Additionally, Protective Personal Equipment (PPE) must be supplied to workers according to their expected exposure to BPs Risks. Also, Disinfection and decontamination materials must be defined and available to workers, in accordance with their cleaning duties, and in consideration with their cleaning environment.
Awareness is achieved by periodical training and managers’ comments to their staff. Aside of the BPs PRevention plan assimilated, evoking the workers awareness constantly to the BPs risks, is the most effective prevention tool and supervisors should always keep a place for this in their Daily or Weekly staff instructions.