EMS workers can be exposed daily to Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP) due to the type of care they provide including tending to trauma patients and handling needles and other sharps to perform life saving procedures. Because of this it is important that these workers take extra precautions and plan when it comes to BBP exposures.
Exposures can occur from a needlestick or cut from sharps. It can also occur from vomitus or blood splashing into the eyes or mouth as well as from not having proper hygiene following care. Below are some best practices for EMS workers when it comes to BBP.
- Employees should use all safety devices when working with patients
- Know the proper disposal for sharps and follow it
- Avoid any direct skin contact with blood or other bodily fluids and wash skin that has been exposed immediately with soap and water
- Avoid all skin contact and wash with soap and water following any care given
- Know all safety procedures around universal precaution and BBP from the company and follow them
- Read the company written exposure control plan and follow it
- Wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) including gloves, face shields or surgical mask and eye protection, waterproof clothing etc.
- Know how to effectively handle various situations in an enclosed space including dealing with a combative patient, handling vomitus or splashing blood etc.
- Report any exposures immediately to management
- Get vaccinated against Hepatitis B
Following these steps will help to prevent exposure and protect EMS workers as well as others they encounter. It is important to be educated on all company guidelines and be as prepared as possible to any situation that arises.