A reader writes: “What are the primary tools needed for a bloodborne pathogen cleanup kit? Why can’t I simply use a good cleaner and dump the vomit into a trash bag that I can then safely dispose? Aren’t we making this process harder than it has to be?”

My first response is liability. The second and third are liability and liability. If you go to www.osha.gov you can learn all the reasons that you must have a working blood borne pathogen program in place and that you are making yourself liable for all sorts of claims if you fail to do so. I remember watching a worker scoop up vomit in a waiting room that was filled with children and old people. The worker used his bare hands and pushed the fluids into a soiled dust pan. He then used a paper towel to dry wipe the tile floor. When I expressed concerns to the supervisor directing this debacle, he stated “It’s OK, it was just a child and the risk is minimal.” Not only was the worker at risk but everyone who came in contact with that surface was at risk as well. This company later on had a multi-million dollar workers compensation claim and now have very high standards for safety, including blood borne pathogen clean up. It seems that they could not get insurance at any price until they addressed these serious concerns.

You need to have at least the minimum on hand for a cleanup kit. I urge you to consult with your vendor and/or OSHA to make sure that not only do you have the right tools but also the right training in place to protect your workers, the public and to be able to document you are in compliance with the law.

Lives can be at risk.

Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net