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The cleaning employees and staff of an organization have a crucial role when it comes to the prevention of and/or the reduction of exposure to bloodborne pathogens. These bloodborne pathogens are found in bodily fluids and solids such as vomit, urine, feces, and blood. An encounter of these blood-borne pathogens could potentially cause disease and even worse, death. As a cleaning employee, it is advantageous to be familiar with the OSHA bloodborne standards in how to properly handle bloodborne pathogens. Knowing so will decrease the spread of their symptoms and create a clean and safe environment. In taking the time to incorporate these practices, it will be clear that an individual can keep themselves and others safe from potential harm.
The main focus for a cleaning employee and possibly even a staff member is to contain, disinfect and to rid the area where the bloodborne pathogen is so as to not spread it to others or themselves. Once coming upon a potential threat such as a bloodborne pathogen or other type of matter, the best practice would be to treat it as if it is in fact infectious. So protection is the first safeguard. The member should be wearing proper protective personal equipment such as gloves, masks, eye shield, etc to guard themselves from contamination of the bodily matter. Properly discarding the bodily matter with the proper equipment is the next defense, as well as sanitizing the area and equipment. These materials and or laundry should be properly disposed of in color-coded or labeled bins for bloodborne pathogens which are universally understood.
Identifying and disposing of the bloodborne pathogens and their waste are two specific features that cleaning employees and staff should be knowledgeable with, along with monitoring symptoms and keeping records of the very exposures. If the potentially harmful bloodborne pathogen comes in contact with the skin, eyes, mouth, or cuts of anyone, it is responsibility of the person to report it so that testing and monitoring of symptoms can begin. Some symptoms from exposure may not show up for months and sometimes even years depending on the pathogen and/or severity of the degree of infection. It is also important for the site where the exposure took place to keep at least a 3-year record of the exposure to be compliant with OSHA as well as to help aid in reduction and prevention of spread of illness.
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