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 International Janitorial Cleaning Services Association

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Bloodborne Pathogens Kill!

17 Apr 2024 7:23 AM | Jacqueline Moerkens

Bloodborne pathogens are infectious microorganisms that are transmitted by blood. For example, HIV and hepatitis B (and many others) are bloodborne pathogens. These diseases are transmitted through infected body fluids that enter the bloodstream of an uninfected person. Bloodborne pathogens can be transmitted through infected body fluids that enter the bloodstream. HIV and HBV can pose serious, long-term health risks or even death if someone comes into contact with them.

These pathogens can be transmitted in several ways. The most common ways of transmission are needlesticks, cuts, bites from humans, and mucous membranes. For example, if you are taking out the trash and come in contact with a dirty or used needle, you may come in contact with a bloodborne pathogen. Or you may need to mop up bodily fluids, and splashes can come in contact with your mucous membranes or contaminate a small tear in your skin. Any cleaning job where you come in contact with blood or other body fluids puts you at risk for spreading bloodborne pathogens. All in all, you should always assume that all body fluids you come into contact with are contaminated. This is called universal precautions. Therefore training on bloodborne pathogens is required for proper cleaning.

OSHA has developed training on bloodborne pathogens that explains how to clean body fluids, what personal protective equipment to wear when cleaning body fluids, how to properly clean and dispose of body fluids, and what else to look for in this area. For example, gloves, goggles and possibly a face mask are essential for your own protection from contamination. Thorough hand washing after an exposure is also among the important protective measures. In addition, any contamination waste generated must be specially labeled and disposed of separately, for example in different colored waste bags (red or orange).

Cleaning services and training on bloodborne pathogens are essential to keeping our environment safe for everyone. Every cleaner should complete training on bloodborne pathogens, as it is necessary for the proper performance of the job. Employers should provide access to this training free of charge during working hours. This training is one of the most important experiences a janitor or cleaner needs to have, especially, but not only, if they work in a hospital. The CDC reported that approximately 5.6 million healthcare and janitorial service workers are at risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens. If you can clean and dispose of body fluids before a bloodborne pathogen can spread, you can save lives!

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