Bloodborne Pathogens in the Hospitality Industry

The hospitality industry is one of the most dangerous industries in the world, and it’s not just because of the high accident rate. Hospitality workers put themselves at risk because their jobs require them to touch surfaces and objects that are contaminated with pathogens like Salmonella, E. coli, norovirus, and hepatitis A—all of which can cause foodborne illness. If you work in a restaurant or hotel kitchen where cross-contamination is common, you especially need to be aware of these risks so that you can protect yourself against these diseases

What are Bloodborne Pathogens?

Bloodborne pathogens are infectious agents that can be transmitted from one person to another through the exchange of blood or other body fluids. These include hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV), and HIV.

Bloodborne pathogens may be transmitted by an infected worker who has been injured at work; this is called a "needlestick" or "sharps" injury. Hospitality workers are at risk for exposure due to their frequent use and handling of sharp objects such as knives and other utensils as well as cleaning chemicals that may contain high levels of bleach which could cause burns on contact with skin if accidentally splashed into eyes or mouth during cleaning procedures.

Why are Bloodborne Pathogens a Problem in Hospitality?

Bloodborne pathogens are a problem in hospitality because the industry employs workers who are at risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens. Bloodborne pathogens include human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and hepatitis C virus (HCV). These viruses can be spread through contact with infected bodily fluids such as blood, semen, and vaginal secretions.

Hospitality workers can be exposed to bloodborne pathogens through their work environment or personal activities outside of work hours. For example:

  • A server at a restaurant may accidentally prick herself on a broken glass while cleaning up after closing time; she then goes home without changing out of her uniform before going out for drinks with friends later in the evening. A housekeeper working at an extended stay hotel finds herself alone late one night while cleaning one of the rooms after all guests have checked out - she slips on some spilled water on the bathroom floor. An employee who works behind the scenes prepares food items daily for customers but does not wear gloves when handling them because they "make him feel uncomfortable".

How Can You Protect Workers from Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens?

To protect workers from exposure to bloodborne pathogens, you must implement standard precautions and use personal protective equipment (PPE). These are two of the most important ways to prevent transmission of HBV, HCV, and HIV.

According to The Bloodborne Pathogens Standard employers must:

  • Implement standard precautions in all work activities that may result in occupational exposure. These include the following:
  • Use PPE when it is necessary to protect against blood or other potentially infectious materials that may cause disease;
  • Follow proper procedures for handling blood or other potentially infectious materials;
  • Educate staff on how they can be exposed to hazards at work sites, what types of infections they might get if exposed, and how those diseases are transmitted;

It's important to practice a few basic safety measures to ensure that your hospitality workers stay safe.

It's important to practice a few basic safety measures to ensure that your hospitality workers stay safe.

Don't forget to use the right personal protective equipment (PPE). Make sure everyone knows how to use it properly and when they should wear it, as well as what type of PPE is appropriate for different situations.

Use universal precautions when handling bloodborne pathogens in any way, including cleaning up spills or injuries at work. Train your staff on how they should clean up bloodborne pathogens if they're exposed or injured at work--for example, by using soap and water with paper towels or sponges instead of dryers or rags that could spread contamination further around the room or even into someone else's hands later on down the line! It's also important for employees who report being injured at work by another person (e.,g., being punched) so we can make sure everything goes smoothly with getting them treatment quickly too."


The hospitality industry is one of the most dangerous in America, with workers facing a high risk of injury and illness. Bloodborne pathogens are just one type of threat that hospitality workers need to be aware of. The best way to protect workers from exposure is by practicing simple safety measures like handwashing, using gloves when necessary, and making sure that blood spills are cleaned up quickly so they don't contaminate other areas where customers might come in contact with them.


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