Strict and attentive training requirements are needed to avoid the dangers of transmission due to bloodborne pathogens. The three most common bloodborne pathogens that put healthcare staff at risk are hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV) and HIV human immunodeficiency virus). However, in today’s medical environment, there are now a variety of drug resistant organisms that can cause severe illness all the way to death. Protection of all workers that are at potential risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens is the requirement of every employer.
Developing a strategy that reduces the risk factors involves compliance with the guidelines established by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) covering training, work practices, engineering controls, and the use of PPE (personal protective equipment).
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has established the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard as a guideline to protect workers. Known as Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations at 29 CFR 1910.1030, the information documents employer requirements for the protection of workers that are exposed to or have the potential to be exposed to blood or OPIM (other potentially infectious materials).
A summary of the standard includes:
Employers are required to provide training to workers prior to being hired as well as information and training updates on at least an annual basis and/or if there are any changes to the guidelines. The compliance training should be at a level and in a language that the workers can understand and must encompass all segments of the standard including but not limited to: bloodborne diseases and pathogens, occupational exposure control methods, hepatitis B vaccine, procedures for medical evaluation and post-exposure follow up. Specific training is required for HBV and HIV laboratory and production facility worker’s occupational exposure. The specialized training should also be provided to all workers involved with potential occupational exposure. The training is required to have the ability for attendees to ask the trainer questions.
Professional medical waste disposal companies such as Healthcare Waste Management offer online training programs for employees that are OSHA-approved and can be accomplished at the convenience of the staff member. Managers have the option of monitoring employee progress and when completed, each employee receives a certificate. In addition to compliance with the OSHA requirements, the bloodborne pathogens training offered by Healthcare Waste Management reduces workplace liability, gives employees a complete understanding of bloodborne pathogens, and improves workplace health and safety.
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