Medical Waste

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Introduction

Exposure to infectious bodily fluids can mean the transfer of disease.  The Bloodborne Pathogens Standard was designed to minimize exposure to such diseases as Hepatitis B Virus (HBV), Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), and others. Employers are required to train employees, provide personal protective equipment, a HBV vaccination, and plan for potential exposure.

What is Universal Precautions?

It is not discernible, to the naked eye, to determine whether bodily fluids contain bloodborne pathogens.  Universal precautions recommend that in order to keep yourself safe, you should consider all bodily fluids as having the potential of being infectious.

Employee Training

Training shall be provided for each employee and will be during the employee’s work shift.  The materials to be covered would include:

  • Symptoms of blood borne diseases and how they are transmitted.
  • MCC’s Blood borne Pathogen Exposure Control Plan.
  • How to reduce the likelihood of exposure.
  • Information on the types, use, location, and disposal of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
  • The correct actions to take and who to contact in an emergency involving blood.
  • Correct follow-up procedure after being exposed to potential bloodborne pathogens.
  • Understanding the signs, labels, and color coding systems.

What if You Are Exposed to Infectious Materials?

In an emergency situation involving blood or potentially infectious materials, you should always use Universal Precautions and try to minimize your exposure by wearing gloves, splash goggles, pocket mouth-to-mouth resuscitation masks, and other barrier devices.

If you could not avoid being exposed:

  • Wash the contact area with antibacterial soap, rinse with hot water. If the fluids get inside the eye wash the eyes out with water for 15 minutes.
  • Report the exposure.  If you choose to, you can fill out an exposure form.
  • If you choose to, you can go to the Health Center to be tested, or to be treated further.

What Happens After an Exposure?

If you are exposed to infectious bodily fluids, you shall receive further training, even if you received the HBV vaccine after exposure. The training will include:

  • A copy of the bloodborne pathogens standard.
  • Symptoms of blood borne diseases and how they are transmitted.
  • MCC’s Blood borne Pathogen Exposure Control Plan.
  • How to reduce the likelihood of exposure.
  • Information on the types, use, location, and disposal of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
  • Understanding the signs, labels, and color coding systems.
  • The correct actions to take and who to contact in an emergency involving blood or other bodily fluids.
  • Correct follow-up procedure after being exposed to potential bloodborne pathogens.
  • Information about the follow-up after being exposed to infectious bodily fluids.
  • A discussion with the trainer allowing for a question and answer session.

The Hepatitis B Vaccine

If you are exposed to bodily fluids that may be infectious, you may request a Hepatitis B vaccination (HBV).  If the vaccine is given immediately following the exposure it is likely a disease will be prevented.  The HBV vaccine is given in three shots.  The first after initial exposure, the second one month following, and the third five months after the second.  The HBV vaccine helps to build immunity to the disease.

MCC Engineering Controls

Hand sinks are located in departments and are readily accessible to all employees who have the potential for exposure.

Employees will wash their hands and any other exposed skin with soap and hot water immediately or as soon as possible after contact with blood or OPIM, for 15 seconds, in a manner causing friction on both inner and outer surfaces of the hands. Employees will be provided with antiseptic hand cleaner and paper towels when hand washing is not feasible. However, hand washing must still take place as soon as possible after exposure.

Eating, drinking, smoking, applying cosmetics or lip balm and handling contact lenses is prohibited in work areas where there is the potential for exposure to blood borne pathogens.

If professional medical attention is required, a local ambulance will be the first choice, a personal car will be the second. If a personal car is taken, impervious material should be used to prevent contamination of the vehicle.

New employees or employee being transferred to other sections will receive training about any potential exposure from the section manager.

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