June 01

Maintenance Teams: Beware of Blood-Borne Pathogens

Blood-borne pathogens are infectious microorganisms in human blood that can cause disease in humans. These pathogens include, but are not limited to, hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Needle-sticks and other sharps-related injuries may expose workers to blood-borne pathogens. Workers in many occupations, including first aid team members, maintenance personnel in some industries, nurses and other healthcare personnel may be at risk of exposure to blood-borne pathogens.

Occupational Safety & Health Administration – www.osha.gov

Outside of accidental death, one of the most dangerous risks involved with maintenance and cleaning services is getting sick from a blood-borne pathogen which can cause Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). It may not always be in the front of a maintenance worker’s mind while on the job, but a moment’s lapse in judgment can lead to contracting one of these serious illnesses, so it’s best to always take any steps necessary to prevent it from ever happening.

The MaintenancePro team knows that controlling exposures to blood-borne pathogens is imperative to staying healthy. To lessen the risk of coming into contact with them please take these precautions to heart:

Always Wear Long Sleeves, Pants, Work boots, and Rubber Gloves
Keeping the body covered will help to prevent outside contact with the skin. The rubber gloves are essential as they can offer protection when cleaning up garbage that could be housing a dirty needle or syringe. Work boots are generally thicker than normal shoes and therefore offer more protection.

When Cleaning Garbage, Sift Through With A Tool First
It doesn’t matter what tool one uses, whether it be a shovel or a broom, sifting through garbage with a tool can help to give a good look at what a maintenance worker is about to be cleaning up from a safe distance and could help them find a potential danger they may not have seen before.

Vaccination
Fortunately, there is a vaccination for Hepatitis B.

Do Not Go Near A Body If One Is Discovered
In the event that a maintenance worker comes across a dead body, they should leave the area immediately as it may be contaminated.

Belatedly Discovered death, also known as decomposition or ‘decomp’. As time passes, fluids seep into flooring and wick up into walls. Decompositions are also the most offensive due to the very strong and aggressive odor. The odor in turn attracts insects, which helps to spread the contamination further.

Close the door to the area and alert the authorities as soon as possible, as they have teams trained for the situation.

Following these safety precautions when on the job is an effective way to lessen the risk of getting sick from blood-borne pathogens, and due to the serious nature of the illnesses one can contract, we highly recommend at MaintenancePro that maintenance workers keep them in mind when on the job.

For more information visit MaintenancePro.

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