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BLOODBORNE PATHOGENS - UNIVERSAL PRECAUTIONS

Bloodborne pathogens - universal precautions. Now that it a mouthful! Be glad you don't have to say it-quickly ten times in a row. OSHA has issued a standard that covers exposure to bloodborne diseases that we could be exposed to on the job. These include, but are not limited to, non-A hepatitis, non-B hepatitis, delta hepatitis, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV or AIDS). This standard requires your employer to reduce the risk of a bloodborne disease being contracted on the job. Suggested methods to accomplish this include providing employee training, personal protective equipment, engineering controls when possible and demanding good housekeeping practices on the job.

You may be asking yourself how in the world you are going to be exposed on the job. The most probable way is when an accident occurs. A co-worker might cut a hand open with a skill saw and look to you for help. In the past you would have jumped right in and given assistance and wouldn't care if you got any blood on yourself. Today is different. That type of exposure could lead to serious problems down the road for you. Some statistics estimate that 1 in every 200 Americans now carries the AIDS virus.

First of all, THINK before you rush to the rescue. Universal precautions today tell you to wear gloves, protective eyewear, and use a one way mask ventilation device or resuscitation bag. Your equipment must be free from any defects. Keep in mind a few rules to insure that your protective gear does the job. Your gloves must fit; your equipment must be appropriate for the job; you must be properly trained by your employer, and before leaving the accident area, you must remove all protective equipment and place in a container for washing, disposal, or decontamination.

A good place to carry a pair of disposable gloves is your hard hat. Put the gloves in a zip lock plastic bag and tape inside your hat. Should an emergency occur, you will always have your gloves with you.

AVOID UNPROTECTED MOUTH-TO-MOUTH RESUSCITATION ALWAYS USE A MASK.

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