Bloodborne Pathogens Training: Who, What, And Why

Pandemic or not, some workers have jobs that expose them to dangerous bloodborne pathogens. These hazardous microorganisms are present in bodily secretions, such as saliva.

As such, employees exposed to these components should get a bloodborne pathogens training certification to know how to exercise care and proper handling. As a basic course, this program is required for anyone working in both healthcare and non-medical settings.

Read on to know who needs this type of training, what topics are covered in the course, and why an employee should get trained. Before proceeding, it’s best to, first, brush up your knowledge about bloodborne pathogens.

What Are Bloodborne Pathogens?   

Bacteria and viruses are bloodborne pathogens that can cause serious health problems, hepatitis and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) being the most common. On the one hand, malaria, brucellosis, and syphilis are the lesser-known bloodborne diseases.

Apart from blood, other potentially infected materials (OPIMs) include saliva and other fluids produced by human organs, semen and vaginal secretions, amniotic fluids, and respiratory droplets.

Infections are possible through the following:

  • Direct contact – a contaminated blood or bodily secretion enters the body through entryways, such as the nose or eyes
  • Indirect contact – the blood or secretions of an infected patient touches the skin of a person
  • Respiratory droplets – a person inhales droplets when an infected individual sneezes or coughs
  • Vector-borne – the infection was caused by penetration from infected source, such as needles.

Anyone who’s handling these materials in the workplace, particularly medical technologists and nurses, are considered vulnerable to accidents that could get them infected.

Who Are Required To Have A Bloodborne Pathogens Training?

Considering the risks involved, proper instructions and adequate training need to be provided to anyone who’s exposed to hazardous substances on a regular basis, as per the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

It’s up to the employers to implement such standards by providing their staff with the needed instructions, trainings, and other forms of protective measures. Thus, employees who are exposed to bloodborne pathogens, either in a private or public setting, should take the course. These typically include:

  • Medical technologists
  • Nurses
  • Medical doctors and dentists
  • Medical students
  • Emergency medical technicians and responders
  • School staff
  • Teachers
  • Law enforcers
  • Firemen
  • Janitorial staff of healthcare facilities
  • Tattoo artists
  • Medical personnel in all settings (offices, academe, etc.)
  • Funeral workers
  • Diagnostic laboratory staff
  • Hospice employees

As with other types of training, there are bloodborne pathogens training courses available online.  Anyone who’s required to take this course can do it while at home or during breaks at work. Furthermore, the training takes into consideration the literacy and education levels of students, as well as the language spoken by the participants, to make it more effective.

What Bloodborne Pathogens Training Should Include

A bloodborne pathogens training discusses the most basic information about hazardous microorganisms. Participants are expected to understand how transmissions may occur, and how to prevent infection.

Topics for discussion generally include:

  • Bloodborne pathogens and the diseases they cause: The training will identify bloodborne pathogens and other potentially infectious materials, as well as the bloodborne diseases that they may cause.
  • How pathogens are transmitted: Knowing how one can get infected, as well as the potential contamination routes, is necessary to protect the staff and their families.
  • The OSHA Standards: OSHA has specific requirements for different industries when it comes to safe handling of bloodborne pathogens. The training should include all things related to the implementation of these standards.
  • Use of protective equipment: The use of various personal protective equipment and their functions to minimize susceptibility to bloodborne pathogens will be discussed.
  • Control procedures: Participants will be taught how to reduce the possibility of contamination, including vaccinations, proper labelling of materials, and waste disposal measures.
  • Exposure control: A bloodborne pathogens training should also include instructions on what to do in case the inevitable happens, with the intention of managing the infection.

Alongside this training, companies must ensure their policies are known to all their employees in terms of proper handling and post-exposure control. The training should also be regularly conducted to key personnel.

Why Should Employees Get This Training?  

Any employee who works in the healthcare sector, as well as non-medical settings, should get this type of training to protect themselves and their families. More than explaining the risks involved, the training aims to reduce susceptibility to contamination through proper handling procedures.

An employee who’s properly equipped with these tools and knowledge becomes more confident in getting the job done with less risks.

The Bottom Line

From handling, to cleaning, and decontaminating, blood pathogens training course-takers are expected to perform the correct procedures that reduce the risks of getting infected or further spreading these perilous pathogens.

Furthermore, because employees are expected to get annual trainings of this nature, workers also become aware of the latest procedures and technologies in the proper handling of hazardous substances and microorganisms. Without a doubt, these are key to lessen the increasing rates of preventable bloodborne diseases.

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