Do you know what Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP) are and how workers can potentially be exposed on the job? Are you taking appropriate steps to protect yourself? The following information will help keep you safe from exposures to BBP.
What are Bloodborne Pathogens? BBP are infectious microorganisms present in blood that can cause disease in humans.
How do we protect our workers? The best way to prevent and control workplace exposures to have a written Exposure Control Plan which follows the requirements of OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens standard. The standard can be found in Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations at 29 CFR 1910.1030. The standard states what employers must do to protect workers who are exposed to blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM).
Who is most likely to be affected by Bloodborne Pathogens? Determine which employees could potentially be exposed to infectious bodily fluids. Examples include Police, Fire, EMT, Paramedics, Solid Waste, Wastewater Treatment employees and any personnel who have a potential for occupational exposure to blood or other infectious materials (OPIM).
What is an Exposure Control Plan (ECP)? An ECP is a written plan that an employer creates to protect their workers from exposures to BBP. Without this plan, there is little hope to properly protect our workers. So, with that in mind, let’s take a quick look at the elements of a good exposure control plan.
A written Exposure Control Plan should include the following elements:
- Preventive Measures – Hepatitis Vaccinations.
- Communicate Hazards – Annual Bloodborne pathogen training.
- Engineering and Exposure Control Practices – Universal precautions
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – Gloves, gowns, face & eye protection.
- Housekeeping – Procedures to handle, clean, and dispose of contaminated material
- Recordkeeping – Training, medical, incident, and injury records
- Labeling – Include refrigerators containing blood or OPIM and any contaminated equipment.
We want to help! Sample policies are available through your PRM Loss Prevention Consultant.
By Reneé Hudson, Loss Prevention Consultant