Top 5 Facts About Universal Precautions at Workplace
In some health care institutions, many employees are constantly exposed to blood and various body fluids which may or may not be contaminated. Contaminated body fluids may be carrying disease causing microbes and bloodborne pathogens which are capable of causing some very deadly diseases like Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV. To prevent the spread of infections and diseases, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which works under the Department of Health and Human Services, prescribes certain mandatory guidelines to all health care workers and people working in medical institutes. All medical institutions and hospitals have to practice the universal precautions, a set of rules and guidelines that deal with hygiene and cleanliness in medical facilities.
Universal precautions is more of a discipline than a course for it promotes health, hygiene and cleanliness amongst all the members of the health care facility. The main foundation of this focuses on the concept that blood and body fluids are indeed carriers of bloodborne pathogens. This implies that the highest level of care and caution has to be exercised while handling human body fluids. Listed below are the top 5 facts about Universal Precautions at workplace.
• In medical institutions, there are many procedures require tiny droplets of blood and body fluids. Even the tiniest drop infested, if with bloodborne pathogens or any other infection, can cause serious health hazards. Proper care has to be taken before and after working with the fluid samples. Appropriate gloves, masks and other protective gear have to be worn during the procedure and have to be disposed of properly afterwards.
• Appropriate protective gears like gloves and masks have to be worn before the start of any procedure involving human fluids and blood. The gear must not be damaged or torn in any way and has to be disposed off as per the protocol after the procedure.
• Very often in hospitals and health care facilities, there may be a chance of blood splashing or spluttering. The staff has to be equipped to handle such situations and should be prepared by wearing protective gowns, aprons and goggles. They need to be properly disinfected after use and be sterilized for reuse.
• It is mandatory for all workers to wash their hands and disinfect themselves before and after medical procedures. As prescribed, hands have to be washed with an effective disinfectant and water for at least 10 seconds.
• Sharp objects like needles which have been used in the procedure have to be disposed of safely as per the protocol. Medical waste has to be disposed off with caution, with the bins being segregated and marked. The bins have to maintained and emptied by janitors who have been trained in handling medical waste. Other equipment which is not required to be disposed off has to be sterilized to perfection.
Universal precautions not only prevents the transfer of bloodborne pathogens but also other diseases and infections which are present in medical facilities. It helps promote a healthy healing and working environment, and keeps the workers and patients safe and healthy.