Exposure to blood, body fluids and other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) can be hazardous to your health. Blood and body fluids, for example, may contain bloodborne pathogens – microorganisms that can cause illness and disease. These microorganisms are transmitted through contact with contaminated blood and body fluids.
There may be times when you need to take extra precautions while performing certain tasks on the job or assisting others who may be ill or injured at work. Some dangerous tasks include:
· Those performed with the use of sharp implements like needles, razors blades, and glass.
· Those requiring direct work and contact with blood and other body fluids.
· Those requiring the handling or disposing of contaminated trash or waste.
· Those requiring actions of a first-responder, like attending to a bleeding victim or performing CPR.
In order to minimize your exposure, always use appropriate PPE when working with blood or infectious materials. Be sure to check your PPE for damage before using and remove PPE carefully to avoid self-contamination. Follow proper protocol for disposing of contaminated PPE correctly in leak-proof containers for properly marked bags. Employers must ensure that all employees have been trained in the use of PPE and all training should be documented. Other steps to follow include:
· Use good personal hygiene. Wash exposed skin immediately with soap and water. Wash thoroughly after removing PPE. Flush exposed eyes, nose or mouth quickly and thoroughly with water. Cover any open wounds or cuts.
· Use good work practices. Minimize splashing of infectious materials. Clean up spills immediately. Clean and decontaminate all equipment and surfaces in contact with blood or other infectious material. Dispose of sharps in a puncture-proof, labeled container.
· Know the proper response for accidental exposures. Know the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard so you can respond without fear. Report on-the-job exposures promptly and seek immediate medical attention.
Responding to Exposure
In the event you experience an exposure to blood, body fluids or OPIM immediately:
· Wash affected area thoroughly.
· Report the incident to your supervisor, complete an incident report form, and promptly begin medical follow up.
If you have an exposure incident on the job in which your eyes, mouth, other mucous membrane or broken skin comes into contact with blood or other infectious materials, arrange for an immediate medical evaluation that:
· Documents what happened.
· Identifies and tests the source individual if feasible.
· Tests the exposed person’s blood, if consent is obtained.
· Provides counseling & Evaluates any reported illness.
You can reduce your chance of an infectious occupational exposure by identifying dangerous tasks, minimizing your risk and knowing what steps to take following an exposure incident.
If you have any questions concerning bloodborne pathogen exposures and how you can improve your employees safety, please contact the LL Roberts Group PEO Risk Management department (toll free) at 877.878.6463.