Weekly Safety Meeting – Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP) Safety

Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP) Safety

Individuals who are infected with Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) or Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) may not show symptoms and may not know they are infectious. For this reason, all human blood and body fluids should be considered as if infectious, and all precautions should be taken to avoid contact. This simple rule is known as “universal precautions.”

Methods of transmission:

In the workplace, bloodborne pathogens (BBP) may be transmitted when blood or other infectious body fluids come in contact with mucous membranes (your eyes, nose, mouth); non- intact skin (due to cuts, abrasions, burns, rashes, paper cuts); or by handling or touching contaminated materials or surfaces. Bloodborne pathogens are also transmitted by “injection” under the skin via a contaminated sharp object puncturing or cutting the skin, causing a wound.

While intact skin offers some protection against blood borne pathogens, they may be transmitted through the breaks in skin via accidents, injuries or burns.

At work, the most common exposure to blood borne pathogens could occur when an infected worker has an injury causing direct exposure to human blood and the person who comes to help them is not wearing the proper personal protective equipment or practicing universal precautions.

Hepatitis B Virus versus Human Immunodeficiency Virus:

  • Hepatitis B Virus is more persistent than HIV and is able to survive for at least one week in dried blood on environmental surfaces. However, HIV will not survive for more than a few minutes when exposed to room temperature air and will usually die within seconds.

  • A teaspoon of infected blood may contain over one billion HBV particles, while a teaspoon of infected HIV blood contains about 15 HIV particles.

  • Hepatitis B Virus usually has mild symptoms that make diagnosis difficult. HIV infections usually are not diagnosed for years and symptoms may not appear for many months or years.

  • Hepatitis B can be prevented with a vaccine. At the present time, there is no preventive vaccine for HIV.

  • No cure is presently available for HBV or HIV. 

Universal precautions:

Universal precautions are a method of infection control in which all blood and certain human body fluids are treated as if known to be infectious for HIV, HBV, and other blood borne pathogens. Universal precautions are to be observed in all situations where there is a potential for contact with blood or other potentially infectious material.

Personal protective equipment should be used in conjunction with universal precautions when dealing with all body fluids.

Qualified, trained first-aiders should be equipped to safeguard against this exposure.

You should be aware that there is a good possibility that you may have small nicks or cuts on you from daily work activities and jobs tasks. These nicks and cuts, in addition to your mouth, nose and eyes, are examples of possible entryways for blood borne pathogens, present in the injured person, to enter your circulatory system.

First aid exposure:

If you administer first aid to an injured person in the workplace and there is a potential for contacting any body fluids, you should adhere to the following “universal precaution” guidelines:

  • Wear impervious gloves when there is a chance of exposure to blood or body fluids.

  • Wear a face shield to protect your entire face and safety goggles to provide the most complete eye protection.

  • Use resuscitation devices when performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

  • Report all BBP exposures or potential exposures to your supervisor immediately.

  • Immediately wash your hands and affected areas with soap and warm water.

  • Flush your eyes, nose, or other mucous membrane areas with water, if exposed.

  • Wash down areas that body fluids may have contacted with the use of a mild solution of household water and bleach (10:1).

    A wound neglected may be a wound infected!! 



Download flyer: SMOTW_408_BloodbornePathogensSafety.pdf (117.23 kb)

Download Spanish flyer: SMOTW_408_BloodbornePathogensSafety_esp.pdf (121.89 kb)

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