OSHA states, "According to the concept of Universal Precautions, all human blood and certain human body fluids are treated as if known to be infectious for HIV, HBV, and other bloodborne pathogens."
Universal precautions include vigorously washing hands before and after exposure to blood and other body fluids. Healthcare providers should also always wear gloves, masks, goggles, other personal protective equipment (PPE) and use work practice controls to limit exposure to potential bloodborne pathogens.
What are Bloodborne Pathogens?
Bloodborne pathogens are microorganisms present in human blood that can cause disease in humans. Bloodborne pathogens are spread primarily through:
- Direct contact. Blood or body fluid from an infected person enters the body of another person.
- Indirect contact. An object that contains the blood or body fluid of an infected person touches the skin of another person.
- Respiratory droplet transmission. A person inhales droplets from an infected person, such as through a sneeze or cough.
There are several different types of diseases that can result from bloodborne pathogen exposure, with the greatest risk being HIV and Hepatitis B and C, yet not limiting other disease risks, including:
- Hepatitis A
- Staph and Strep infections
- Gastroenteritis-salmonella and shigella
- Chicken pox
- Urinary tract infections (UTI)
- Blood infections
OSHA | Universal Precautions Help Prevent Infection?
If you have ever been to the doctor or dentist you have probably noticed them wearing gloves, goggles, masks, and other personal protective equipment (PPE) while examining every patient. Wearing PPE significantly reduces the transmission of bloodborne pathogens by creating a barrier between germs and the human body.
In correlation with universal precautions, OSHA has compiled a set of regulations known as the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard that requires employers to:
- Establish an exposure control plan. An exposure control plan contains a list of job classifications in which workers have occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens, as well as a list of procedures performed by those workers that result in their bloodborne pathogen exposure. An organization’s exposure control plan must be updated annually.
- Implement the use of universal precautions. As mentioned above, all health care workers must treat all potentially infectious materials as if they are infected.
- Provide personal protective equipment (PPE). PPE includes gloves, gowns, eye protection, and masks.
- Provide hepatitis B vaccinations to workers with occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens. The vaccination must be offered within 10 days of initial assignment to a job with occupational exposure.
- Provide a post-exposure evaluation to any worker who experiences an exposure incident. This evaluation must be at no cost to the worker.
For Professional Infection Control, Call Aftermath
Although universal precautions most commonly affect those working in health care, anyone can become exposed to potentially dangerous biological material at any time.
"We are typically called in for blood cleaning and trauma situations, such as industrial accidents, homicide/suicide, active shooter (mass trauma), medical situations such as gastrointestinal bleeding, and transportation accidents. All we do is blood cleanup and biohazard removal.
Unlike a typical general purpose cleaning company or carpet cleaning company, we approach biohazard remediation and cleaning blood spills with a full scientific process to prevent the spread of germs and fully remediate all potential bloodborne pathogens and visible blood stains from the property."
You can learn more about Aftermath and our services.