Prevent Infections and Diseases
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) administrate and enforce laws for workplace safety. These laws include safety measures to prevent infections and diseases caused by bloodborne pathogens. Bloodborne pathogens are disease-causing organisms found in blood and other bodily fluids. They can cause the spread of viruses such as hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Bloodborne pathogens can spread these viruses to people providing first aid or health care to an injured worker and to those who clean blood spilled from an injury.
The most common blood-borne infection in the U.S. is hepatitis C. The hepatitis C virus (HCV) can cause a contagious disease that can severely damage your liver, but most people don't know they have it until the disease has already damaged the organ.
The most dangerous bloodborne pathogen is the hepatitis B virus (HBV), which causes a life-threatening liver disease. There is a vaccination to prevent hepatitis B
The most well-known disease caused by bloodborne pathogens is AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), which is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). AIDS destroys the human immune system so that it can't fight disease.
Some occupations have a higher risk of exposure to blood-borne pathogens than others, including all health care workers, housekeeping and janitorial workers, first aid responders, research lab workers and public safety workers such as firefighters and law enforcement personnel.
Employers who anticipate that their employees may be exposed to blood or other potentially infectious materials in the workplace are required to educate workers about bloodborne pathogens and give them access to personal protection equipment such as gloves, masks, safety glasses, body coverings and safe systems to dispose of contaminated material.