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Safety Matters: Blood Bourne Pathogens

Extreme caution must be taken when working with blood, or tools used to draw, collect, or analyze blood. Exposure to blood puts both you and residents at risk of contracting dangerous pathogens such as Hepatitis B and C and HIV.


Best Practices

· Use universal precautions and procedures to mitigate any potential exposure to blood, bodily fluids, other potentially infectious materials (OPIM), and communicable diseases.

· Only use sterile equipment; never re-use needles or other items designed for single use.

· Dispose of needles immediately after use in approved sharps containers; if the needle has a cap, do not attempt to re-cap before disposal.


Handwashing and Disinfecting

· Clean your work areas with bleach or similarly effective disinfectants.

· Wash your hands with antibacterial soap for at least 3 minutes before your shift and for 30 seconds between patients.

· Change into a new pair of single-use latex gloves every time you wash your hands.


Post Exposure

• Wash, flush, or irrigate the exposed area immediately and thoroughly.

• Seek medical attention if necessary.

• Report exposure, documenting the route of exposure and how exposure occurred.

• Obtain consent from the person whose blood or fluids may be the potential source, and test blood as soon as possible after the exposure incident.

• Record injuries from contaminated sharps in a sharps injury log.

• Utilize risk counseling and post-exposure protective treatment in accordance with recommended guidelines.

• Provide written findings to employer and employee within 15 days of evaluation.


What can employers do to improve safety? Talk to your employees about safety.

*This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. For further information, please consult a risk management professional.



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