Bloodborne Pathogens: The hidden hazards in non-healthcare settings
It’s easy enough to determine the potential exposure in a healthcare or laboratory setting. While it’s unlikely that exposure to blood occurs regularly in a non-healthcare setting, there is still a potential for occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens.
Education and prevention are relevant to all industries; after all, anyone can come in contact with blood or bodily fluids. As we at Safetec like to put it: there’s no such thing as “too careful” when it comes to dealing with blood or other infectious materials in the workplace.
Knowing and following the correct procedures, as well as treating all bodily fluids as infectious, will minimize the risk to your employees and customers while providing protection.
What are bloodborne pathogens?
Bloodborne pathogens are infectious microorganisms in human blood that can cause disease in humans. The three most common bloodborne pathogens we need to protect against are hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), however, bloodborne pathogens are implicated in the transmission of at least 20 other pathogens.
Why should you care about bloodborne pathogens?
At the very least, bloodborne pathogens can be dangerous; at worst, they can be deadly. Try this little exercise: Is there sufficient evidence of reasonably anticipated exposure? If so, you could be held responsible for providing the protections in the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard.
What is the standard?
The standard’s requirements state what employers must do to protect workers who are occupationally exposed to blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM), as defined in the standard. That is, the standard protects workers who can reasonably be anticipated to come into contact with blood or OPIM as a result of doing their job duties.
In general, employers are required to:
• Establish a written exposure control plan.
• Update the plan annually to account for changes in tasks, procedures, and positions that affect occupational exposure.
• Implement the use of universal precautions.
• Identify and use engineering controls (devices that isolate or remove the bloodborne pathogens hazard from the workplace)
• Identify and ensure the use of work practice controls (practices that reduce the possibility of exposure by changing the way a task is performed).
• Provide personal protection equipment (PPE), such as gloves, gowns, eye protection, and masks.
*Note: The complete Bloodborne Pathogens Standards can be obtained at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/bloodbornepathogens/standards.html or by contacting OSHA at (800) 321-OSHA
Don’t let “what if” turn into “what now”
Understanding the risks your employees face and being proactive will help foster a safe and healthy workplace. No one understands the importance of workplace safety and preparedness more than us! Safetec is a trusted manufacturer of first aid and infection control products for over 28 years and has designed kits to help in OSHA Standard Compliance (29 CFR 1910.1030 – Bloodborne Pathogens).
Safetec’s Universal Precaution Compliance Kit combines personal protection and cleanup items mandated by OSHA, CDC, and State Health Departments to aid in the cleanup, transportation, and disposal of potentially infectious blood or body fluid spills.
The Universal Precaution Compliance Kit Contains a pair of vinyl gloves, protective apron, combo mask/safety shield, Red Z® Solidifier, scoop/scraper, SaniZide Pro 1® Surface Disinfectant Wipe, Red Bio-hazard Waste Bag with a twist tie, p.a.w.s.® Antimicrobial Hand Wipe, ID tag, and instructions.
Safetec’s National Standard EZ-Cleans® Kit is used for the cleanup of body fluid spills, and this kit is an excellent economical alternative for workers not needing complete face and body protection. This kit is also perfect for a work vehicle or bus.
The National Standard EZ-Cleans® Kit contains a pair of vinyl gloves, Red Z® Solidifier, scoop/scraper, SaniZide Pro 1® Surface Disinfectant Wipe, Red Bio-hazard Waste Bag with twist tie, p.a.w.s.® Antimicrobial Hand Wipe, and instructions.
Safetec’s EZ-Cleans Plus Kit includes personal protection items for the cleanup of blood or body fluid spills. Encapsulating and containing potentially infectious spills helps reduce employee exposure to infectious waste, as well as possible cross-contamination of co-workers, customers, or family members.
The EZ-Cleans Plus Kit contains a pair of vinyl gloves, Red Z® Solidifier, scoop/scraper, SaniZide Pro 1® Surface Disinfectant Wipe, paper towel, Red Bio-hazard Waste Bag with twist tie, p.a.w.s.® Antimicrobial Hand Wipe, and instructions.
*All three kits Contains Red Z® Solidifier, a fast and effective solution to solidify blood and body fluids while also removing odor.
We all know work environments can change rapidly. Above all else, be proactive in assessing potential risks and develop plans to mitigate those risks. Safetec has a robust product line all aimed at helping your company stay compliant and keeping your employees safe and healthy.
At Safetec, we strive to build long-lasting relationships with all of our distributor partners by providing high-quality products quickly and efficiently and giving our customers the one-on-one attention they deserve. If you are looking for a partner that will help your distribution company grow, Safetec is the perfect option. Get started by filling out a Become a Distributor Form today!