Safety Issues and Bloodborne Pathogens
A reader comments: “Although we try to enforce the rules regarding bodily fluids, do you have any suggestions on how to reinforce these concepts to our workers?”
Exposure to bloodborne pathogens in the work place should be taken seriously. Go to www.osha.gov for detailed guidance, talk to your insurance carrier and if available use your distributor to make regular presentations on how to deal with this issue. I remember coming off an elevator with a supervisor and found a worker trying to clean up vomit using his bare hands and a dust pan. The supervisor stopped and instructed the worker to make sure he got it all up and to place a wet floor sign in the area which was a waiting room for applicants and their families. Needless to say, that is not best practices when it comes to handling bodily spills. If the worker had any cuts and if the child who threw up had any infections the outcome could have been disastrous. We won’t even go into whether he thoroughly sanitized the dust pan and broom or thoroughly cleaned his hands before touching his eyes or mouth.
You should know that vomit, saliva, blood and other bodily secretions can contain pathogens such as HIV, herpes I and II, and a host of other dangerous diseases. These diseases can easily be transmitted through contact with human skin that is unprotected. Other sources of possible contamination include contaminated bandages, feminine hygiene products (in sanitary napkin boxes) that can easily enter another person's body through open cuts, nicks and even abrasions of the skin and mucous membranes. You should give serious consideration to offering the Hepatitis B shot free to any workers who run additional risks by working in a doctor’s office, clinic or hospital setting.
The goal is always safety.
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.