Bloodborne pathogens can transmit deadly diseases to those who come in contact with such pathogens. However, many people are confused about how infections from these pathogens actually occur. That is why it is so important that workers – especially in industries that are at a high risk for injuries and accidents – know how the spread of pathogens take place and what to do to keep themselves safe.
Doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals are well-versed in the spread of bloodborne pathogens but most workers in industries such as construction are not. In such cases, training by a certified safety services consultant is vital to the health and safety of these individuals.
So how are bloodborne pathogens spread? What follows is a brief explanation and ways to prevent the spread of such pathogens:
- Bloodborne pathogens are spread through direct or indirect contact with infected blood or other bodily fluids.
- Direct contact occurs when bodily fluids pass from one person to another at a correct entry site.
- Indirect contact occurs when a person touches an object that has bodily fluid from another person on it.
- Droplet transmission occurs when a person inhales droplets from an infected person. This occurs through things like coughs or sneezes.
- Vector-borne transmission occurs when a person’s skin is penetrated through an animal bite, inspect bite, or sting.
Hand washing is the most effective way to avoid exposure to bloodborne pathogens and prevent the spread of infection. Hands should be washed regardless of whether or not protective gloves are worn. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used when soap and water are not available.
Engineering and work practice controls also are essential to reducing the spread of bloodborne pathogens. These controls include avoiding the splattering of infectious materials; removing and disposing of protective equipment as soon as possible; cleaning and disinfecting soiled equipment and surfaces; proper hand washing techniques; and isolating contaminated areas.
A safety services consultant also will instruct employees on how to clean up equipment and spills. Methods include, but are not limited to, wearing disposable gloves and personal protective equipment; cleaning up spills as soon as possible; disposing of material in the proper biohazard containers; disinfecting the contaminated area; and properly scrubbing or disposing of soiled clothes and shoes. A safety services consultant also will be able to inform employees involved in exposure incidents on how to properly report and document any such incidents according to their employer’s exposure control plan.
As you can see, educating and protecting your employees from bloodborne pathogens is no easy task. That’s why it is so important that you seek assistance from a safety services company that can help you keep your employees safe and protected from exposure to bloodborne pathogens.