Bloodborne pathogens are microorganisms, normally carried in infected blood and bodily fluids, that can cause diseases, some fatal, such as Hepatitis B and C, as well as HIV.
Bloodborne pathogens must find a direct route of entry into the body for infection to be possible. Bodily fluids can also splash into the eyes and cause infection.
Exchange of these body fluids must be direct. Thus, you cannot contract a bloodborne pathogen disease when an infected person touches you or sneezes/coughs on you.
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 bloodborne 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 entry-ways for bloodborne pathogens, present in the injured person, to enter your circulatory system.
Personal protective equipment:
Personal protective equipment, which includes latex or vinyl gloves, gowns, mouthpieces, resuscitation bags, and face masks can significantly reduce the health risks for workers exposed to blood and other potentially infectious materials.
The PPE must be suitable for the level of expected exposure and should be readily accessible to employees and available in appropriate sizes.
Employees should be trained on the proper use of PPE and how to respond effectively and safely to an injury.
Responding to injuries:
Here at our facility the one opportunity we have to come in contact with a bloodborne pathogen is while we are trying to assist an injured coworker who is bleeding.
Here are some things to remember:
- If a coworker has a minor accident that causes bleeding, try to have the victim bandage his or her own wound.
- If the injury is serious, call the emergency response team.
- If you don’t have time to wait for the emergency response team, make sure you take universal precautions.
- Remember that vomit, burns, abrasions, and both external and internal injuries can release bodily fluids.
- When removing disposable gloves, roll the first glove off the hand inside out.
- Place disposable gloves in an approved biohazard bag. Wash your hands immediately after removing any gloves.
- If you have been exposed to a victim’s bodily fluid, wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water.o Contact a medical professional and report the incident to your employer for further action, should it be appropriate.
When you gamble with safety…you bet your life!!!
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