Friday, October 18, 2013

Hazard Recognition

The CDC estimates that 5.6 million workers in the health care industry and related occupations are at risk of occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and others. All occupational exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) place workers at risk for infection with bloodborne pathogens. OSHA defines blood to mean human blood, human blood components, and products made from human blood. Other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) means: (1) The following human body fluids: semen, vaginal secretions, cerebrospinal fluid, synovial fluid, pleural fluid, pericardial fluid, peritoneal fluid, amniotic fluid, saliva in dental procedures, any body fluid that is visibly contaminated with blood, and all body fluids in situations where it is difficult or impossible to differentiate between body fluids; (2) Any unfixed tissue or organ (other than intact skin) from a human (living or dead); and (3) HIV-containing cell or tissue cultures, organ cultures, and HIV- or HBV-containing culture medium or other solutions; and blood, organs, or other tissues from experimental animals infected with HIV or HBV. The following references aid in recognizing workplace hazards associated with bloodborne pathogens.

Bloodborne Pathogens Standard

As mandated by the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act, OSHA revised the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard [29 CFR 1910.1030], effective April 18, 2001. Definitions for bloodborne pathogens, other potentially infectious materials (OPIM), and occupational exposure are found in 29 CFR 1910.1030(b).

Potential Hazard
  • Employee exposure to blood and OPIM [29 CFR 1910.1030(b)] due to ineffective Exposure Control Plan (ECP).
Possible Solutions
  • Identify employees who have occupational exposure to blood or OPIM [29 CFR 1910.1030(b)], and then establish and implement a written Exposure Control Plan (ECP), designed to eliminate or minimize employee exposure [29 CFR 1910.1030(c)(1)].

  • Exposure Control Plan requirements include:
    • Documenting an annual review and update of the written plan that reflects changes in technology for safer medical devices. [29 CFR 1910.1030(c)(1)(iv)(A)] Employers must also document consideration and implementation of the safer medical devices annually. [29 CFR 1910.1030(c)(1)(iv)(B)]

    • Employer must get input for the devices from those responsible for direct patient care. [29 CFR 1910.1030(c)(1)(v)] This input must also be documented.
  • Employer should ensure that the Exposure Control Plan (ECP) is accessible to all employees. [29 CFR 1910.1030(c)(1)(iii)] They should also review and update it at least yearly. [29 CFR 1910.1030(c)(1)(iv)]

  • Employer should ensure that employees with occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens receive appropriate training, at no cost to employee, and during working hours. [29 CFR 1910.1030(g)(2)(i) and 29 CFR 1910.1030(g)(2)(vii)]
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