Of all the diseases which we face today, bloodborne pathogens are some of the deadliest. Many can remain in your blood and bodily fluids for years, even for life, and can cause severe illness and potential death. For people who are regularly exposed to blood, contracting bloodborne pathogens is a real fear, so taking a bloodborne pathogen training course is crucial for them to protect themselves and everyone around them.
This article is a guide to everything you need to know about bloodborne pathogens and the fundamentals of the training process.
“Bloodborne pathogens” is a term that is used to refer to microorganisms that are in contaminated human blood and blood-containing body fluids (such as saliva, vaginal secretion, or semen) that can potentially lead to numerous bloodborne diseases such as Hepatitis B (HBV), Hepatitis C (HCV), Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and many other types of hemorrhagic fevers.
There are many ways that bloodborne pathogens are transmitted – but it is mainly through contact with infected blood or bodily fluids. It is essential to identify potential sources of contamination in order to figure out an effective procedure to prevent transmission. Bloodborne diseases vary in severity, but it is still vital to minimize the risk of infection, as many are potentially deadly.
Bloodborne pathogens training has never been more widely available since the introduction of online courses. Employees are now able to learn at their own pace – and customize the training process in a way that is suitable for their schedule.
According to OSHA requirements – the bloodborne pathogens training process should be based on the employee’s literacy, education level, and language for it to be effective. You can read more online about OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens Standard, but it is in place to protect everyone involved. To keep up with OSHA’s requirements, employers have the responsibility to ensure that their employees receive adequate instruction and training from a reliable source.
Here are some of the fundamental components of an effective training program:
- Information on bloodborne diseases – such as hepatitis B and C, AIDS, syphilis, malaria, and brucellosis.
- Information on how blood pathogens are transmitted, such as when an infected patient’s blood comes into contact with broken skin or mucous membranes or when a cut is created by a contaminated object. The training course will cover some of the most common transmission routes in the workplace.
- A detailed explanation of the bloodborne pathogens standards – from definitions to compliance methods, record keeping, communication with employees, and other OSHA requirements.
- Information on exposure control plans – preferably in writing so that employers can easily make them available to all employees.
- Exposure control process – from immunizations to labeling containers, disposing of contaminated waste, and various others.
- Information about personal protective equipment and safe practices – those are the gears and procedures required for employees to use and follow to minimize their exposure to bloodborne pathogens.
- Post-exposure steps – a systematic order of steps for employees to take after a certain or suspected exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials.
Everyone should be aware of bloodborne pathogens and how transmissions occur as anyone can be exposed to them in our daily lives. However, some people are at a higher risk of exposure than others because of their occupations. Here is a list of tasks and job classifications that are considered to have an anticipated risk of exposure and which fall under the bloodborne pathogens standard:
- Emergency responders and healthcare workers, including those who perform first-aid only as a workplace duty.
- Cleaning professionals like housekeepers and janitors, whose work revolves around cleaning and decontaminating surfaces contaminated with blood or other potentially infectious materials.
- People who provide healthcare, medical, and medical research services such as doctors, nurses, dentists, or lab technicians.
- Artists whose work is closely related to people’s skin, like tattoo artists and permanent makeup artists.
These people will need extra protection from bloodborne pathogens, so they should consider doing a specialized training course to minimize the risk.
Employees who work in environments where they are regularly exposed to blood and other infectious materials should always be mindful of their working conditions and the associated risks. It is vital that they take the important steps to protect themselves and everybody around them and that they are educated and are taking all the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of these harmful diseases. If you are an employee who works in a high-risk environment and is yet to receive bloodborne pathogens training, speak to your employer to ensure that you get the training you need.