Bloodborne Pathogens Certification Manual: Exposure

Bloodborne Pathogens: Exposure

An exposure incident is any contact with blood and body fluids. Health care workers are at significant risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens through contact with blood and body fluids. An exposure control plan should be in place to manage and minimize the risks associated with such incidents. Though all contact should be treated and reported, contact to the eye, mouth, mucous membrane or open wound areas is of utmost concern. Hepatitis B, hepatitis C virus, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are among the most concerning pathogens transmitted through occupational exposure. The hepatitis B vaccine is a critical preventive measure for health care workers. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is essential in reducing the risk of exposure to potentially infectious materials. Post exposure prophylaxis should be sought immediately following potential exposure to HIV.

When personal exposure takes place, you should attempt to clean the exposure site as best as possible, report the incident and arrange for medication treatment, evaluation, follow-up medical evaluation.

In case of BBP exposure, follow these steps:

  1. Rinse the exposed area with hot water (if your gloves are contaminated, use a paper towel to turn on the faucet)
  2. Wash your hands (or the area) with soap for at least 20 seconds
  3. If the contamination is ocular, flush your eyes with water
  4. Report the incident
  5. Seek medical attention