Thursday, August 25, 2016

Bloodborne Pathogen Program



Imagine this scenario: At your car wash, an employee is cleaning the industrial vacuums while another is detailing the interior of a vehicle. One receives a cut from a needle, or some other sharp object, causing the other to rush to their aid. Are the injured worker and the person coming to their aid aware of the procedures in place to protect them from contracting an infectious disease? Are there even written procedures available? If not, your business is in violation of the OSHA standard for Bloodborne Pathogens 29 CRF 1910.1030.

Your wash’s documented procedures should establish a minimum set of rules to prevent exposure to bloodborne pathogens whenever an incident arises that may expose a worker to an unknown infection. They must also outline your company’s policy regarding who is authorized to respond to an incident where there might be exposure to a potentially infectious condition.

Bloodborne pathogens are defined as pathogenic microorganisms that are present in human blood and can cause disease. Two well-known examples are HIV and Hepatitis B. Bodily fluids are also included in this category since it is not always visibly possible to determine if there is the presence of contaminated blood.

OSHA requires that employers provide a written policy, acting as a communication of hazards, to every employee. Here are a few guidelines regarding the process:

  • Provide the policy when an employee first begins their job
  • Update the procedures whenever changes occur
  • Provide the written policy annually
  • Write the policy in terms and languages appropriate for comprehension from all employees
  • Make the Hepatitis B vaccine, as well as any appropriate medication associated with the disease, available to all employees. Include an option for any employee to opt out of this offer
  • A free post-exposure evaluation must be offered to employees
  • Perform a hazard assessment survey for the jobs where a bloodborne pathogen exposure may exist. Any PPE that is required as a result of this study must be made available to the employees. PPE must be usable and accessible to all employees. Make sure the equipment can be safely cleaned, or disposed of, and are replaced immediately when found to be unusable. Provide clear direction on how to safely dispose of any contaminated equipment and create a procedure to ensure the PPE has been properly removed from the site
  • Include an exposure control plan
  • Provide a specific training program
  • Develop an acceptance and declination form for Hepatitis B vaccinations and keep a copy on file.

If this seems like an overwhelming task to implement, there are a few free programs out there that offer training and can be a big assist to developing what you need.  Don’t delay, add this to your safety plan now!

Remember: A Safe Wash Protects People and Profits!