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Monday, December 5, 2016

Bloodborne Pathogens with Liz Tadsse

Time for some Q&A and a review on bloodborne pathogens with League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust (LMCIT) Loss Control Consultant Liz Tadsse.

Q: Liz, what is the definition of a bloodborne pathogen?

A: Pathogenic microorganisms are present in human blood or other potentially infectious materials and can cause disease in humans.

Q: Which diseases are the most common? 

A: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).

Q: What constitutes an “exposure?” More specifically, does one of our first responders getting another person’s blood on their hand meet the criteria of an exposure?

A: It must involve skin, eye, mucous membrane, or parenteral contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials that may happen during the performance of an employee’s duties. Getting blood on your hand only becomes an exposure if you have a cut or open wound on your hand.

Q. What should a person do if they have a significant exposure to HIV or hepatitis?

A: Immediately report the incident to the employee’s supervisor and seek an immediate assessment and treatment from your employee health unit. If anti-HIV medication is indicated, it should be taken as soon as possible in order to reduce your risk of developing HIV.

Q. What preventative measures are appropriate? 

A. Preventative measures include using barriers such as gloves, gowns, and eye protection as appropriate. It is important to have safe handling procedures for needles and sharp instruments, as well as using devices with safety features if possible. Hepatitis B virus is largely preventable through vaccination.

For more information, here is a link to OSHA’s fact sheet on bloodborne pathogens.

Up next: A Quick Preview and Save the Date for the 2017 Spring Safety and Loss Control Workshops

Stay safe,
Rob

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