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Bloodborne Pathogens

30 Mar 2024 4:06 AM | John Perkins

As a cleaning professional, we can be placed into situations where we are exposed to bloodborne pathogens. It’s important to know how to protect yourself and your employees to prevent exposure. Once exposed, you are subject to become infected with Hepatitis B and/or HIV as just some examples. 

Hospital workers are not the only individuals who are at risk of exposure. Anyone who cleans up bodily fluids such as vomit, blood, or saliva or does laundry is at risk of exposure due to hazardous materials that may be in the covers or on the clothes. Most exposures is through contact of the mucus membranes in the nose or mouth or through breaks in the skin. 

It is very important to follow universal precautions. One precaution is to wear protective gear at all times when cleaning and to assume all bodily fluids are infected. It’s also wise practice to wash your heads before touching your face, smoking, eating/drinking, or applying lip balm. It’s important to have a system in place such as color coding or labeling laundry. It’s your job to clean the area properly so that no one else will be exposed. Never manually smash down trash. Avoid splashing and splattering while cleaning. Dispose of all PPE in properly marked containers. Disinfect any equipment used to clean the area. Again, wash your hands thoroughly. 

If you feel you have been exposed, contact your supervisor and your doctor. Be sure to pay attention to your body and check for any symptoms for the infections. 

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