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5 Steps to Prevent Bloodborne Pathogens Exposure

Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure

Bloodborne pathogens are a serious threat to both employee safety and overall health. It’s important to keep your workforce safe and productive by certifying some level of understanding around the dangers of bloodborne pathogens. Providing regular training is a simple way to keep workers aware of what bloodborne pathogens are and what to do should exposure occur.  Keep reading to learn more about how you can train staff members on the dangers of bloodborne pathogens at home or within your company.

What are Bloodborne Pathogens?

Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP) are viruses that infect people and cause disease. HIV, hepatitis B (HBV), and hepatitis C (HCV) are the most dangerous bloodborne pathogens, although other pathogens such as malaria, brucellosis, and syphilis can also harm humans. The consequences of liver cancer caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B (HBV), and hepatitis C (HCV) viruses at work are the most serious. Despite the fact that the medical profession is vulnerable to BBP dangers, that does not mean that workplace contamination should not be monitored.

Pathogens are not only found in blood but also in bodily fluids that are referred to as other potentially infectious materials (OPIM). These fluids include the fluid around organs and joints such as the spine, heart, brain, lungs, and knees; semen and vaginal secretions; and amniotic fluid.

Simple comprehension of some basic facts on bloodborne pathogens (BBP) can help keep workers healthy and productive. A variety of ways can cause transmission, including unprotected sexual contact with an infected person, sharing contaminated needles or syringes, transfusions from infected blood, and contact with open sores or wounds of an infected person. Infected mothers can also transmit these pathogens to their children.

What to do if exposed to Bloodborne Pathogens?

Fortunately, there are simple steps to follow to help ensure the safety of your employees when exposed to bloodborne pathogens.

  1. Use personal protective equipment such as latex gloves to wash the exposed area with water and clean any wound with soap and water or a skin disinfectant if available.
  2. Report the incident to your employer immediately, whether on company grounds or remotely.
  3. Seek the care of a doctor to discuss your exposure and find out if the person injured has HIV, Hepatitis B, or Hepatitis C.
  4. If a doctor prescribes antivirals or any other treatment, start as soon as possible.
  5. Continue to follow up with your physician or occupational health practitioner for additional blood tests and the status of the injured person.

What is Bloodborne Pathogens Awareness Training?

First and foremost, it’s vital to learn about bloodborne pathogens—why they matter, and how they can be transmitted. This can be challenging in a fast-paced work environment, but it can be done. Bloodborne Pathogens awareness training takes less than an hour and can be taken by workers during downtime. It educates staff that in the event that someone gets injured and bleeds, how they should respond to help the injured person and protect themselves from exposure. It typically includes universal precautions, such as blocking the fluid or blood with an impervious barrier, and a quick introduction to first aid. The training may also include company policy information on what employees should be notified if there is an incident. Taken annually, bloodborne pathogens training serves as an excellent reminder of safety measures and how to notify an incident to someone else in charge.

Who needs Bloodborne Pathogens Training?

If your employees are well-equipped with the knowledge of the risks involved and the courage to act, they can deal with any unforeseen circumstances that might involve bodily fluid exposure, even if they have worked in a blood-free environment before. 

Unfortunately, accidents do happen, and people in blood-free jobs can find themselves unexpectedly administering first aid, cleaning up after an accident, or injuring themselves with a sharp object. In these situations, employees who do not typically work with blood will benefit from BBP Awareness training. Providing this training annually reduces the risk of illness making your workforce more productive, but it’s specially important for the following audiences:

  • CPR/AED workers
  • Healthcare professionals
  • Anyone providing first aid assistance
  • Housekeeping staff
  • First responder teams
  • Police and Firefighters
  • Maintenance workers and janitors
  • Plant operations
  • School personnel
  • Child care workers
  • Lab staff
  • Retail workers

Bloodborne pathogens training can be done in many different ways, but all of them should be aimed at keeping your employees safe. With a little bit of effort, your employees will learn how to protect themselves from bloodborne pathogens and understand the importance of protecting their health at work. Keep in mind that bloodborne pathogens training is a process. It begins with educating your employees about the dangers of blood-borne pathogens, but it doesn’t end there. Vubiz offers the following Bloodborne Pathogens online courses for employers as part of annual compliance or health & safety requirements.

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