Bloodborne pathogens are one of the most risky occupational hazards faced by healthcare employees. When employees come in contact with infected blood or any fluid, they can be struck by serious maladies like hepatitis B and HIV.
This hazard is not only faced by the healthcare employees but even by police, firefighters, laundry and sanitation workers as well. Even mortuary employees face the hazard risk and even workers trying to help an injured colleague can be exposed to this hazard.
OSHA has put forward some specific requirements to protect workers from bloodborne pathogen exposures. The standard 29 CFR 1910.1030 has been designed by OSHA to deal with this dangerous hazard. The following are the responsibilities imposed on employers whenever there is a risk of bloodborne pathogen exposure.
Develop an Exposure Control Program: Employers must create an ECP, where all possible situations at the workplace that could transfer pathogens must be put in detail. It must also describe how the risks will communicate to workers, methods of compliance to reduce the risk must be listed and a process to handle and investigate incidents and offer a means of record-keeping of both exposure incidents and employee training.
The plan must also be reviewed annually, incorporate latest technologies or enhanced methods to reduce the risk. If such measures are implemented, the risk can be dramatically cut down.
Offer the Means of Compliance: Employers must provide Personal Protection Equipment to their workers. The PPE must be appropriate with the kind of work the employees are handling, which includes disposable gloves, face masks and eye protection as the bloodborne pathogens are most likely to be transmitted through the eyes, skin, nose and mouth.
Employers must also install “engineering controls” right for the particular job site. These include antiseptic & hand washing towelette stations and leak proof, labeled, and puncture-resistant containers, which will hold contaminated items or particularly sharp items. Hepatitis B vaccine must also be provided to all workers exposed to this hazard.
Recordkeeping: OSHA also requires employers to keep a “sharps injury log” to note the type of device which causes the injury, in what job area it happened and an account of how it happened.
Training: A vital point that OSHA stresses on is employee”s training. The best possible means to spread the awareness of the risk of bloodborne pathogens is to educate them. The OSHA safety training is a compliance program that will not only educate and train workers on the risk of this hazard exposure but the steps to avoid it. As an employer it is your responsibility to make sure your employees receive the OSHA compliance training.
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OSHA Compliance Safety Training is a major provider of OSHA Safety Training Courses. Their safety training program is completely online. To know more visit: http://www.oshacompliancesafetytraining.com/