This session discusses how you might be exposed to bloodborne pathogens (BBP) and infectious diseases, how you can protect yourself from exposure, and how to clean up and properly dispose of blood or bodily fluids. Employees most likely to be exposed include first-aid responders, janitorial and maintenance personnel, and workers assigned to clean up after an industrial accident. Even if your job does not normally expose you to blood or bodily fluids, this session is helpful to raise your awareness of bloodborne pathogens, to understand why you should not come in contact with them, and to understand that it is important to report spills of blood or bodily fluids so that they can be cleaned up safely.
Why “Avoiding Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens” Matters:
Millions of people in the United States are living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other bloodborne diseases;
Tens of thousands are newly infected each year;
The age range with the highest numbers of BBPs is 20 to 50, or in other words, working people;
More than 15,000 Americans die of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) each years; and
Exposure to infected blood could lead to HIV or other bloodborne diseases.
- Bloodborne pathogens can cause fatal diseases. They include HIV, which causes AIDS, as well as hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
- Be aware of the potential for exposure to bloodborne pathogens at work. Exposure can happen if a coworker suffers a bleeding injury, or when you are administering first aid to a student, touching a contaminated surface, cleaning up blood, cleaning a restroom, or touching a tool that has dried blood on it.
- Take universal precautions by assuming that all blood or bodily fluid is infected:
- Use PPE as a barrier between you and the source of infection, and follow safe work practices such as labeling and proper disposal of infectious material.
- Decontaminate yourself by thoroughly washing up after potential exposure, and decontaminate any tools or equipment that might be exposed.
- Understand and follow exposure incident procedures if you think you might have been exposed.
- Finally, report all incidents of possible exposure to blood or bodily fluids.