International Janitorial Cleaning Services Association

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Cleaning for Safety

15 Oct 2020 4:32 AM | sharod wade

Bloodborne pathogens are pathogenic microorganisms that are present in the blood of humans and is a cause of diseases in humans. As an employer, it is the responsibility of the company to have a written exposure control plan that must be kept updated. Records of exposure to employees must be kept on file for three years. Properly trained staff can greatly diminish the risk of exposure to sharp objects by not manually compressing trash, eating or applying cosmetics in a potentially contaminated area, and by effectively utilizing personal protective equipment (PPE).  

Effective utilization of the Universal Precaution approach which was established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) can significantly minimize the risk of exposure. Most occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens occurs when the pathogen comes into contact with an employees open membranes such as the nose or mouth. It is key for employers to take precautions to safeguard the public and employees. Once such measure is the implementation of an OSHA Exposure Control Plan or safety manual. As a porter or technician responsible for the effective cleaning of areas with a bloodborne exposure, it would be wise to treat every such incident as exposure with contaminated pathogens. This approach allows contractors and staff to safely enter a contaminated area and provide effective decontamination procedures. 

PPE is vital, it can save the lives of staff members that are at risk of occupational hazards caused by bloodborne pathogens. Hepatitis B vaccines must be made available for free to all employees that are at risk of occupational exposure. Vaccinations must be provided after initial bloodborne pathogen training and within ten days of any occupational exposure.  Symptoms of the diseases potentially contracted as a result of bloodborne pathogen exposure may not appear for many years after the exposure. 


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