Pathogens are bacteria, viruses, or other microorganisms that can cause disease. Bloodborne pathogens are infectious microorganisms in human blood, saliva and other bodily fluids that can cause disease in humans. These pathogens include hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Bloodborne pathogens can be transmitted when blood or other body fluids from an infected person enters another person’s body due to a needle-stick, bites, cuts, abrasions or through mucous membranes like the eyes.
- If you help someone who is bleeding or if you are potentially exposed to blood or other potentially infectious body fluids, you must wear personal protective equipment such as disposable gloves and eye protection.
- If blood or other possible infectious body fluid is on your gloves, dispose of the gloves properly by putting them in a biohazard waste bag. If you do not have a biohazard waste bag, put the gloves in a plastic bag that can be sealed before you dispose of it.
- Always wash your hands with soap and running water after you remove and dispose of the gloves.
- It is important that any blood or other potentially infectious body fluids is quickly and completely cleaned up with soap and water to limit the chance of exposing your coworkers to bloodborne pathogens. Wear personal protective equipment when cleaning up blood or potentially infectious body fluids.
- Hands are the areas that are most likely to be exposed to blood or other potentially infectious body fluids. Wash your hands with soap and running water after contact with blood or other potentially infectious body fluids to reduce your chance of becoming sick or spreading germs to others.
- It is very important that you report any exposures to blood or other potentially infectious body fluids to your supervisor. Reporting all exposures helps you get treatment and helps your employer identify and reduce causes of exposure.
Maintain a first aid kit which includes gloves, eye protection and a proper means to dispose of the infected material. Antiseptic hand cleaner or towelettes should also be provided.
Personnel should be properly trained in first aid response and how to correctly handle and dispose of potentially infected material.