You may not think about bloodborne pathogens (BBPs) until you have to provide training for your employees. But once that time comes, it can be a little overwhelming. Where do you start? What information do they need? How do you create a training plan that won’t put them to sleep? Training your employees is essential to know what risks are involved with their work.
When someone is exposed to BBPs, there is potential contamination from cuts or other injuries. If employees understand their risk and how to mitigate it, accidents are less likely to happen. These tips will help you create an informative bloodborne pathogens training program for your employees in less time.
Defining Bloodborne Pathogens
Bloodborne pathogens are infectious diseases transmitted through contact with blood or other bodily fluids. These diseases are typically transmitted by direct contact with the blood or other bodily fluids of infected individuals.
The bloodborne pathogens that are most commonly transmitted in the workplace are hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV. If cuts or abrasions come in contact with blood, the bloodborne pathogens in that blood can infect the person.
These pathogens can also be transmitted if blood enters a person’s eyes, nose, mouth, or open wound. The most important thing to know about bloodborne pathogens is that everyone is susceptible. That means everyone can get one of these diseases even if they’ve never been exposed.
Why Is BBP Training Important?
BBP training is essential because it teaches employees the risk factors associated with their work. This knowledge helps prevent accidents from occurring. At a minimum, employers must provide BBP training for employees creating a biological hazard during work. These individuals may include:
- Healthcare providers
- Laboratory workers
- Animal handlers
- First responders
Others may be exposed to BBPs during work, such as office staff who may be exposed to contaminated paper products, envelopes, computer keyboards, or other work surfaces.
Start With the Basics
Before you dive into more detailed information, start with the basics. This will help your employees understand the importance of the training and make sure they have the foundation they need to succeed.
What are BBPs? How do they spread? What are the health risks of being exposed to them? What kind of precautions should employees take?
These are all excellent questions to start with. You can also create a short quiz for your employees. They can take the quiz online, and you can send them a link to the quiz. This can be a fun way to engage your employees and ensure they know the basics.
What Does a BBP Exposure Look Like?
Before you learn how to prevent exposure, you should also talk about what a BBP exposure looks like. Exposure can happen in many ways, such as someone getting blood in a cut or fluid coming into contact with someone’s eye or nose.
A cut is the most common way someone is exposed to BBPs. This is why you should keep first aid kits at work. If someone has a cut, you can quickly clean it up and put a bandage on it. Your employees should also learn how to clean a cut properly if someone gets blood in it.
Blisters and rashes are another common way to be exposed to BBPs. They can indicate exposure to BBPs, so it’s essential to recognize them. An infection can also be a sign of exposure. If someone experiences swelling, fever, chills, or a general feeling of being sick, they may have an infection caused by exposure.
How to prevent BBP exposure
Prevention is key when it comes to BBP exposure. Here are a few ways you can reduce the risk of BBP exposure in your workplace:
– Education – Educate your employees about the risks of exposure. They may not know what signs to look for or precautions to take.
– Engineering Controls – Install safety devices and engineering controls to reduce the risk of BBP exposure, such as self-closing doors and foot-operated switches.
– Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – Ensure your employees wear the appropriate PPE for their jobs, such as gloves, goggles, or masks.
– Housekeeping – Keep your work area clean and free from blood or other bodily fluids. This includes disposing of waste properly.
– Sterilization – Properly sterilize your equipment and tools to reduce the risk of releasing blood.
– Transportation – Make sure your vehicles are clean and free from blood or other bodily fluids to avoid contamination in transit.
– Vaccination – Vaccination can help prevent exposure to some BBPs, such as hepatitis B.
What Are Some Common BBPs?
Now that you know what BBPs are and how to prevent exposure let’s discuss some common BBPs.
Hepatitis B – This disease attacks the liver and can sometimes lead to death. It is most commonly spread through contact with blood, but saliva can also carry the virus.
Hepatitis C – This disease also attacks the liver but can also affect the kidneys and other organs.
HIV – HIV causes AIDS and can lead to death. It is transmitted through bodily fluids, including blood, semen, and vaginal fluids.
TB is caused by bacteria and can spread through the air. It can be challenging to treat and requires a long antibiotic course. These diseases are often fatal. That’s why it is so essential to prevent exposure to them.
Bloodborne pathogens are a genuine risk in many types of jobs. BBP training is an integral part of keeping your employees safe. It’s essential to start the training process early since employees will retain the information better if they’ve had plenty of time to digest it.
Once you’ve chosen a format and established a timeline, you can create a BBP training program in no time. Remember, the more information you give your employees, the better they’ll be able to protect themselves and their co-workers.