OSHA

Bloodborne Pathogens

Bloodborne Pathogens

Introduction

  • Exposure to Bloodborne Diseases has always been a serious concern in today's society.
  • As a result, OSHA created the "Bloodborne Pathogens" standard.
  • This law is designed to protect employees from diseases such as Hepatitis B and AIDS.

Terms

“Blood" is defined as: human blood, human blood components, products made from human blood.
"Bloodborne Pathogens" refer to: Microorganisms present in blood that can cause disease.
"Other Potentially Infectious Materials" include: human body fluids (semen, amniotic fluid, etc.), contaminated body materials, hard to differentiate body fluids, unfixed human tissue or organs, HIV and HBVcultures, infected experimental animals.
"Contaminated" means: having potentially infectious materials on an item or surface.
"Regulated Waste" refers to: liquid or semi-liquid blood or other potentially infectious material, contaminated items that would release infectious materials if compressed, items that are caked with dried infectious material, contaminated "sharps", waste containing infectious materials.
"Source Individual" means an individual whose potentially infectious materials may be a source of exposure.
"Universal Precautions" means: approaching all human blood and other body fluids as if they contain bloodborne pathogens.

 

Types of Pathogens

Hepatitis

Hepatitis is a liver disease, Results in inflammation of the liver, Frequently leads to cirrhosis and liver cancer.
"Hepatitis B" (HBV):

  • Is the most prevalent form of Hepatitis, Infects approximately 300,000 new people each year, Currently has over 1 million chronic carriers in the U.S., Does have a vaccine that can prevent infection.

After exposure, it can take up to six months for Hepatitis B to develop. Immediate vaccination can prevent infection in many cases. Hepatitis B symptoms are also very "flu-like", and include:

  • Fatigue
  • Stomach pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Jaundice

However, HBV infection may not show symptoms for some time.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV):
Has no vaccine, Has no known cure, Generally leads to the development of AIDS.
Symptoms experienced with HIV infection include:

  • Weakness
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea
  • Other "flu-like" symptoms

People with HIV can also so show no apparent symptoms for years after they are infected.

Exposure

Most exposure to bloodborne diseases is "parenteral". It occurs through breaks in the skin. It can also occur through breaks in mucous membrane.
"Parenteral Exposures" include: infectious material getting into existing cuts or abrasions, needle sticks, human bites.
Bloodborne Pathogens can enter the body several ways

  • Direct Contact
  • Indirect Contact
  • Airborne Contact
  • Vector Borne Contact

There are several ways to recognize activities involving potential exposure.

  • Seeing biohazard warning labels.
  • Knowing which jobs that involve contact with blood or other body fluids.
  • Consulting the list of job classifications and activities in the facility's Exposure Control Plan.

You might expect to encounter bloodborne pathogens in many industrial situations.

  • Emptying trash and performing other cleaning duties.
  • Refilling first aid supply cabinets.

There are a number of ways to reduce exposure by using:

  • Universal Precautions.
  • Engineering Controls.
  • Work Practice Controls.
  • Personal Protective Equipment.
  • Appropriate housekeeping practices.

"Engineering Controls" refer to equipment that can be used to limit exposure, such as:

  • Using a dustpan and broom to pick up trash.
  • Using tongs to pick up contaminated broken glass.

"Work Practice Controls" are safer ways to perform tasks.
Hand washing is an important work practice control.

  • It must be done immediately after removing gloves and personal protective equipment.
  • It also must be done after contact with blood/other potentially infectious material.
  • Mucous membranes must also be flushed with water after potential exposure situations.

Housekeeping practices are addressed in the regulation, too.

  • All potential exposure areas must be cleaned periodically.
  • Written cleaning schedules are required.
  • Equipment and other surfaces must also be decontaminated after contact with potentially infectious materials.
  • Appropriate disinfectants must be used.
  • Protective equipment coverings and bags in waste baskets or other trash containers must be changed if they become contaminated.

Prevention

OSHA regards the use of personal protective equipment as one of the most important requirements in the regulation. It must be worn whenever there is a chance of exposure.

  • Gloves are the most often used protective equipment.
  • They must be used whenever hand contact is anticipated.
  • Disposable gloves must be replaced as soon as possible after contamination (they cannot be reused).
  • Other gloves can be reused if they are decontaminated.
  • All gloves must be discarded if they become cracked, peeled or otherwise damaged.
  • Masks and eye protection are also important.
  • They should be worn if fluids can splash or splatter you.
  • Safety glasses can protect you from direct exposure (side shields should also be used).
  • Safety goggles provide complete eye area protection.
  • Face shields protect the entire face.
  • Pocket and face masks protect the mouth and lip areas.
  • These should be worn whenever eye protection is used.
  • Clothing can protect much of the body.
  • It should be selected based on the degree and circumstance of exposure.
  • Personal protective equipment is available in all work areas.

You can obtain information about the locations where this equipment can be found from your supervisors, if necessary. Employees should also know the procedures for handling protective equipment once it has been used.

  • Take off the equipment before leaving the work area.
  • Know where collection and disposal points are located, and use them.
  • Despite being careful, accidents with potentially infectious materials can occur.

Emergency Steps

It's important to know what to do in case of an emergency. The first steps that should be taken are:

  • Wash any areas of contact with soap and water as quickly as possible.
  • Contain infectious material using absorbent barriers.
  • Remove any remaining material with additional absorbent.
  • Clean the spill area using an approved disinfectant.
  • Dispose of contaminated materials in approved waste containers.
  • Discard or recycle contaminated personal protective equipment.
  • Several people will need to be notified as well.
  • Supervisors.
  • Your Safety/Health Department.

An incident report will also need to be completed. This helps your facility provide information about the incident, and helps to determine what needs to be done medically. A number of steps will be taken for you if you are involved in an exposure incident. Your employer will provide a written description of the incident, the routes of exposure and the identity of the source individual (if known). Your employer will provide the healthcare professional with information such as:

  • The type of work that was being done leading up to the exposure.
  • A description of the incident.
  • The results of the source individual's blood test (if it is known).
  • Your relevant medical records.

Prevention

Bloodborne pathogens are dangerous, but exposure can be greatly reduced by:

  • Using engineering controls.
  • Employing good work practices.
  • Using personal protective equipment.
  • Participating in your facility's free vaccination program

OSHA regards the use of personal protective equipment as one of the most important requirements in the regulation.
Personal Protective Equipment - It must be worn whenever there is a chance of exposure.

  • Gloves are the most often used protective equipment.
    • They must be used whenever hand contact is anticipated.
    • Disposable gloves must be replaced as soon as possible after contamination (they cannot be reused).
    • Other gloves can be reused if they are decontaminated.
    • All gloves must be discarded if they become cracked, peeled or otherwise damaged.
  • Personal Protective Equipment
    • Masks and eye protection are also important.
    • They should be worn if fluids can splash or splatter you.
    • Safety glasses can protect you from direct exposure (side shields should also be used).
    • Safety goggles provide complete eye area protection.
    • Face shields protect the entire face.
    • Pocket and face masks protect the mouth and lip areas.
    • These should be worn whenever eye protection is used.
    • Clothing can protect much of the body.
    • It should be selected based on the degree and circumstance of exposure

Personal protective equipment is available in all work areas. You can obtain information about the locations where this equipment can be found from your supervisors, if necessary.

Post-exposure

Employees should also know the procedures for handling protective equipment once it has been used.

  • Take off the equipment before leaving the work area.
  • Know where collection and disposal points are located, and use them.

Despite being careful, accidents with potentially infectious materials can occur. It's important to know what to do in case of an emergency. The first steps that should be taken are:

  • Wash any areas of contact with soap and water as quickly as possible.
  • Contain infectious material using absorbent barriers.
  • Remove any remaining material with additional absorbent.
  • Clean the spill area using an approved disinfectant.
  • Dispose of contaminated materials in approved waste containers.
  • Discard or recycle contaminated personal protective equipment.

Several people will need to be notified as well.

  • Supervisors.
  • Your Safety/Health Department.

Transmission Methods

  • Direct Contact
    Touching blood or other body fluids
  • Indirect Contact
    Touching blood soaked or contaminated objects
  • Vector Borne
    Infection through an insect or animal