By Martin Supply •
How to Protect Workers from Bloodborne Pathogens
OSHA requires workplaces to implement a Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure Control Plan that defines where exposure might take place and spells out the steps that will be taken after an exposure incident.
Workers can be protected from exposure to bloodborne pathogens using the following five precautions.
1. Universal Precautions
Universal Precautions means treating all bodily fluids as if they are infected, avoiding direct contact and using PPE. It also means encouraging injured employees to bandage themselves when possible, disposing of gloves and other contaminated materials in biohazard bags or containers, and washing hands immediately after handling potentially contaminated materials, even if gloves were worn.
2. Engineering controls
In a manufacturing setting, where exposure to bodily fluids is not common, engineering controls may be limited to hand-washing. Using hand sanitizer afterward is a good follow up.
3. Work practice controls
Work practice controls could include limiting activities like eating and drinking in areas where exposure is likely to occur, encouraging hand-washing, and picking up broken glass with tools such as dustpans or tongs.
Employers are responsible for providing appropriate PPE making sure it is in good repair or replaced as needed, and disposed of safely. Appropriate PPE may include protective clothing, eye and face protection like safety glasses, masks and shields, and gloves. Disposable gloves should be discarded and replaced as soon as they have become contaminated, torn, punctured or if the barrier is compromised.
Contaminated equipment or work surfaces must be cleaned after an incident. Small amounts of blood or other fluid from an injured employee can be cleaned up by that employee or someone who is trained or designated for the job.
OSHA recommends disinfecting and sanitizing equipment and work surfaces with a solution of one-part household bleach to 10 parts water, or using FDA-approved high-level disinfectants or EPA-registered disinfectants that are labeled as effective against both HIV and hepatitis.
Martin Safety offers a Bloodborne Pathogens Course providing information and training when dealing with blood, infectious materials and other biohazards. To schedule your training, contact your Martin Sales Rep or call Malcolm Ritchie at 800.828.8116.