4 Tips for Avoiding Bloodborne Pathogen Contamination
When you hear the words “bloodborne pathogen” in the workplace, you probably brush it off and assume it won’t affect you since you don’t work in the medical field. But depending on your environment, you may be exposed in areas you didn’t initially think of like inhalation or ingestion. This shouldn’t scare you, but rather ensure you’re protecting yourself and employees to the best of your ability. Below are a few universal precautions you can implement to reduce the potential for contamination in your waste or recycling facility:
- Ensure physical guards are used on equipment. This can also be inclusive of barriers or shields on equipment or even ventilation hoods to cleanse the air.
- Follow safe work practices. Place needles in secure bins immediately; wash your hands after glove use; don’t eat, drink, smoke or place items near your mouth in the work area.
- Use proper personal protective equipment (PPE). Primarily, this includes proper hand wear such as gloves, but which brand to use depends on your job function. Gowns, shoe covers, face shields, respirators, bio suits and other preventative equipment can be required in certain situations depending on the level of contamination that the employee is working within. Also, make sure to remove the PPE before leaving the work area, and place it in a separate enclosed area where the materials can be laundered.
- Communicate hazards. Symbols, labels, bags or signs should all clearly mark when hazardous material is in the area.
If you do have an incident, thoroughly clean the infected area out with water and ensure an incident report is filed. Company policy should address this with a medical evaluation to test the level of exposure and then those results should be posted and viewable by other employees at the facility.
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