OSHA report says that more than 5.6 million healthcare workers face exposure to contaminants every year.
In hospitals, the threat of exposure is higher than usual. The risk of contracting this kind of illness is always present for health care workers. It’s important that they know what to do when things go wrong.
Bloodborne pathogens training helps staff better understand how to work around this threat. It teaches them that they must stay safe from dangerous infections.
To learn more about what to do if you encounter bloodborne pathogens, keep reading.
Bloodborne Pathogens: A Top Workplace Threat
Bloodborne pathogens are microorganisms. They’re sometimes present in human blood and can cause life-threatening sicknesses. Staff members can also get sick from other fluids that transmit diseases.
In the healthcare field, workers can get exposed to pathogens in several ways. The ways that workers can become exposed range from accidental punctures to bites from patients. Workers can also become exposed to diseases due to exposure to patient fluids.
Healthcare professionals perform minimally invasive procedures regularly. As a result, skin breaks from needles are more common than desirable in the workplace.
Management must remain vigilant about potential hazards. They must also maintain a safe, clean environment for employees to work.
Prevention is key in protecting yourself and other staff members. It begins with a solid exposure control plan.
The plan should include a schedule for managing exposure prevention. It should also go over the ways of setting up the workplace to present staff injuries.
In addition, it should include procedures for handling biohazardous spills and waste disposal. These procedures should comply with OSHA standards.
An effective exposure prevention plan should also include employee training. In addition, employees should have access to said training free of charge.
List of Bloodborne Pathogens
Every day, about 1,000 medical workers endure a sharps injury. There are around 20 different infections that can expose employees to disease.
These infections might include less serious illnesses. For example, CMV and Epstein-Barr may fall into this class. Still, there are more devastating illnesses that health workers face.
It’s also imperative to know that not all infectious diseases travel through the blood. There are some infections that get transmitted in other ways.
Medical staff wear bloodborne pathogens PPE for this reason. It protects them from occurrences such as blood spatter.
These illnesses can affect staff members in different ways. Common bloodborne pathogens include hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS and syphilis.
The following entries offer a closer look at these threats.
90% of adults who are infected with Hep B recover completely. They’ll still show signs and conditions of the illness.
For example, an individual who’s contracted Hep B might show signs of jaundice. They may also show signs of fatigue.
However, give or take 10% of adults become chronically infected with Hep B. Their body cannot purge the illness without assistance.
Sometimes, a person who becomes chronically infected with Hep B may not show symptoms for years. At the same time, continuing liver inflammation can place them at risk for illnesses such as cirrhosis and liver cancer.
Meanwhile, Hep C can affect people in two stages. First, a worker might develop an acute infection after initial contact with the virus.
At this stage, they might show symptoms similar to Hep B. Also, many workers have no idea they have the early stages of the disease. Often, they are asymptomatic.
However, a chronic infection might follow this phase. In this case, workers can face long-term symptoms. Also, the symptoms may prove severe.
HIV/AIDS is another threatening condition. It’s also another condition where someone may not notice symptoms of the disease right away. Often, individuals who are diagnosed with the disease think it’s something else.
Still, some people show symptoms of the disease quickly. In this instance, a worker might show symptoms of infection two to four weeks after the first contact. These early symptoms are called a seroconversion illness.
The symptoms might include fever. They can also include muscle aches and joint pain.
Furthermore, a staff member suffering from this condition may exhibit swollen glands. These are all telltale signs of HIV/AIDS.
It’s also common for someone not to notice symptoms after contracting syphilis. It appears like many other infections. Resultantly, it’s challenging to diagnose.
During the early stages of the illness, a worker might develop a pain-free sore. Usually, this kind of sore isn’t noticeable. It can last anywhere from 3 to 90 days after initial contact.
Later, however, a worker might develop a non-irritating rash. This condition can develop anywhere from 14 to 90 days after initial contact.
It can also show up anywhere on the staff member’s body. Also, it will eventually disappear and return later.
Syphilis can also enter a latent stage. This stage can last 30 years or more. During this time, an individual will not have symptoms.
OPIM Bloodborne Pathogens
Other potentially infectious materials (OPIMs) bloodborne pathogens also place workers at risk. OPIM materials can include many things, such as:
• Abdominal fluid
• Amniotic fluid
• Cerebrospinal fluid
• Joint fluids
• Reproductive secretions
Workers can also become infected by any fluid that’s visibly contaminated with blood. In fact, they should treat all body fluids as dangerous. If it’s difficult to impossible to distinguish if a sample contains blood, it’s potentially hazardous.
Unfixed tissue, whether living or dead, can also pass infections. Likewise, cells or tissue cultures containing HIV can pass on to humans. Other solutions and cultures containing various diseases present an equal threat.
It’s vital that workers understand how to recognize pathogenic threats. Moreover, health workers must learn more about protecting themselves when a threat is present.
It’s also necessary for staff to know how to handle and clean equipment after contact with a potential hazard. In addition, they must learn how to clean spills and how to properly dispose of potentially infectious material.
What Should I Do If I Come in Contact with Bloodborne Pathogens?
If you or a coworker comes in direct contact with blood or bodily fluids, you must take action immediately. In the case of a needlestick, for instance, you should wash the affected area right away with soap and running water.
In the event of a splash, you’ll also want to wash the affected area right away with soap and water. This is especially important if a patient’s bodily fluids splash in your nose, mouth or directly on your skin.
It’s also important to wash your eyes if fluids affect that area. Next, you should report the incident to your supervisor immediately after decontamination.
Now, you should change any clothes soiled by fluid exposure. You should also thoroughly wash the clothes after you’ve changed. Finally, you must decontaminate any equipment that was exposed to fluids.
Keeping the Workplace Safe
Most people don’t have to worry about bloodborne pathogens. However, they present a considerable risk for people who work in medicine.
A healthcare worker can face exposure to disease from the people and equipment that they work with every day. Accordingly, medical workers must learn how to keep themselves safe under these circumstances.
Comprehensive training is the first step in understanding how to stay safe from bloodborne pathogens. OSHA regulates bloodborne pathogen training across the nation.
Training enables workers to protect themselves. It also empowers them to protect other coworkers when working near bloodborne pathogens.
There are various methods available to prevent exposure. These methods might include using bloodborne pathogens PPE.
It might also include eliminating sharp corners in the workplace. Protecting oneself from infection can even include good housekeeping measures.
What Is Bloodborne Pathogens Training?
Bloodborne pathogens training is the solution for ensuring that health workers stay safe. It ensures that staff members are prepared to work around bloodborne pathogens.
A training course will review the various threats that are present in medical settings. It will then test learners on their understanding of the lessons.
Furthermore, health workers will learn proper safety procedures. They can also learn other important facts about staying safe in the workplace.
Training will also provide them with resources for further learning and support. In addition, health workers will learn how to identify, assess and react appropriately when a colleague is exposed.
What Is Bloodborne Pathogens Certification?
Employers cannot allow staff to work in a hazardous environment without training. They must provide training according to OSHA standards.
Bloodborne pathogens training certification is an important step in protecting your staff members. However, it will also protect your facility from fines and penalties.
Best of all, you or your staff members can access certification training from the convenience of home. If you’re an administrator, you can also contact a leading training partner for a customized training solution.
We’ll Help You Keep Your Staff Members Safe
Now you know more about what you should do if you come in contact with a bloodborne pathogen. What you need now is the nation’s premier bloodborne pathogens training partner.