By Greg Garner
A pathogen, in simple terms, is a germ or a virus. So this makes a bloodborne pathogen a germ or a virus that is present in the blood. These pathogens can cause a number of diseases in case you come in contact with infected blood, bodily fluids vaginal secretions, mucus, feces or any potentially infectious material. Bloodborne pathogens are not only limited to the Hepatitis B virus or HIV, its a lot more. An accidental prick by a needle or any sharp object is one of the easiest ways of coming in contact with the virus, for instance. Other ways such as open wounds, cuts or even acne could be a way to contract it.But to be clear, there are certain misconceptions about transmission of the virus. Touching an infected person, sneezing or coughing or using the same equipment such as showers or even water fountains, does not lead to the virus being transmitted.
The government, too, sees merit in addressing issues related to bloodborne pathogens because theylead to approximately 200 deaths and 9,000 infections a year. Thus with the help of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), they have been able to put together a standard to protect workers from such infections.
The healthcare industry takes a lot of precautions and is extremely particular about the way they handle blood and bodily fluids. But there are a number of other occupations that could come in contact or be susceptible to bloodborne pathogens. Thus there are a few precautions that an employer can take to make sure its employees are at least risk. And in case there are any such organizations that deal with blood or bodily fluids, they should, as a rule, educate and inform everyone connected about such pathogens.
As an employer of an organization that works with blood or such potentially infectious fluids, you can make sure that all your employees are on the same page in terms of precautions. There are a few things that can be done, such as:
Make sure there are written guidelines about what to do and more importantly what not to do when in contact with such fluids. Seminars and discussion should be made a mandatory annual event for all the employees. Introduce personal protective equipment to make sure exposure to such pathogens is limited. Keep updating and spreading information at regular intervals. Try to side-line cost implications when looking at updating or getting better equipment for your employees. In case one of your employees becomes infected with the virus, make sure you are with them at every stage to help correct or improve their situation.
As an individual working with blood or such bodily fluids, you can be at a high risk of the virus. With the help of OSHA, there are a number of online courses that you can take to make sure you are clear about bloodborne pathogens. Have a clear about the basics and work towards enlightening and educating as many colleagues as you can. As you can see, one can easily come in contact with them.
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