Bloodborne Pathogens Training | Why Is It Important?
Within the workplace, bloodborne pathogens, or BBPs, can be spread among coworkers through a number of different ways. They can be transferred through blood or other infectious bodily fluids touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. They can spread through cuts, abrasions, rashes, burns, or paper cuts of the skin. You can acquire it through touching or handling contaminated surfaces or materials, or you can get it from a sharp, contaminated object puncturing, cutting, or wounding the skin and “injecting” the pathogens into the bloodstream. It is important to note that people who are infected with bloodborne pathogens may not show any signs or symptoms, so it is essential that ALL persons in the workplace be considered infectious. This means that any and all precautions must be taken to avoid contact with others. If you are not already educated on how to treat and prevent bloodborne pathogens from spreading in the workplace, then it is imperative that you take bloodborne pathogens training. Luckily, Safety Partners offers bloodborne pathogens training and certification. This is STRONGLY recommended for anyone who works in situations where the transmittal of these pathogens is possible. To drive home the point, we will give you a few additional pointers on WHY bloodborne pathogens training is so important in the workplace.
The two main types of bloodborne pathogens are the Hepatitis B Virus and the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV. No cures are currently available for either virus, so it is absolutely imperative that you take all measures to prevent the possible spreading of them among coworkers.
Here are a few quick facts about both viruses to help you understand them better and the threats they pose:
- Hepatitis B is more persistent than HIV and can survive for up to a week in dried blood on environmental surfaces. HIV, however, cannot survive much longer than a few minutes once it is exposed to air at room temperature. It will usually die within seconds, but if contact happens where there is direct contact of blood with one another, possible infection can occur.
- Just one single teaspoon of blood that is infected can possibly contain over a BILLION HBV particles. A single teaspoon of HIV infected blood contains about 15 HIV particles. All it takes is ONE to be transmitted and the individual will be infected.
- Hepatitis B normally has milder symptoms which makes diagnosing it more difficult. HIV infections can usually take years to be diagnosed because the symptoms can take that long to appear. Note that BOTH of these pathogens are essentially invisible, so it’s almost impossible to tell who has it. Thus, the importance of assuming EVERYONE has it.
- Hepatitis B can be prevented with a vaccine, but not cured. HIV currently has no preventive vaccine or cure.
If the situation should arise where someone is injured while working within the workplace and there is a possibility of the transfer of blood or bodily fluids, you will want to take the following precautionary guidelines:
- Wear impermeable gloves that will not let any blood or bodily fluids through.
- Use a face shield for facial protection.
- Wear safety goggles for eye protection.
- Use resucitation devices when cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is needed.
- Any and all bloodborne pathogen exposures must be reported to supervisors and managers IMMEDIATELY.
- Once the episode is over, IMMEDIATELY wash your hands and any other parts of your body that could possibly be infected with soap and warm water.
- If your eyes, nose, or any other mucous membranes are exposed, flush them out with water.
- For additional cleansing, use a mild solution of water and bleach to wash off any affected or exposed areas.
Again, we cannot stress how important it is to be properly trained for bloodborne pathogens. They become particularly lethal not just because they are dangerous for your health, but also because they are virtually invisible and symptoms take a considerable amount of time to show. You could have several infected individuals walking around and working on your job site right now and you don’t even know it. If you are not already trained, make sure to sign up for bloodborne pathogens training and certification so you can be properly educated and informed on the many dangers of bloodborne pathogens and how you can prevent and treat them. Yours and your coworkers lives could depend on it.
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