As with other workplace hazards, employers are required to identify bloodborne pathogen hazards, implement control measures (engineering, administrative or work practice controls, and PPE), and provide training to affected employees.
In the US, OSHA has very specific training requirements for bloodborne pathogen training. In Canada, you should refer to your jurisdiction’s guidelines and requirements for specific guidance. However, regardless of the regulations, by following these “Who”, “What”, and “When” best practices for BBP training, you will have a solid foundation.
Who Should be Trained?
Employees with occupational exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials, should receive training. It sounds simple enough. But to determine training needs, there are 3 terms you need to understand:
- Occupational Exposure
Reasonably anticipated skin, eye, mucous membrane, or parenteral, i.e., the piercing of mucous membranes or the skin; via
Needlesticks, human bites, cuts and abrasions, contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials that may result from the performance of an employee’s duties.
Human blood, components of human blood and products made from human blood, including plasma derived products.
3.Other Potentially Infectious Materials (OPIM)
Human body fluids such as:
* Semen, vaginal secretions, cerebrospinal fluid, synovial fluid, pleural fluid, pericardial fluid, peritoneal fluid, amniotic fluid, saliva in dental procedures;
* Body fluid that is visibly contaminated with blood, and all body fluids in situations where it’s difficult or impossible to differentiate between body fluids.
Any unfixed tissue or organ (other than intact skin) from a human (living or dead).
HIV-containing cell or tissue cultures, organ cultures, HIV- or HBV-containing culture medium or other solutions.
Blood, organs, or other tissues from experimental animals infected with HIV or HBV.
What Should be Included in Training? First, training materials should be relevant to the jobs and tasks being done. Second, check the content is easy to read and understand. Next, include the following:
A copy of any regulatory text and an explanation of its contents.
* Makeup and symptoms of bloodborne diseases and modes of transmission of bloodborne pathogens.
Explanation of your organization’s exposure control plan and how employees can get a copy of the written plan.
The methods used to recognize tasks and other activities that may involve exposure to blood and OPIM.
An explanation and discussion of the use and limitations of methods to prevent or reduce exposure including:
Engineering controls, Administrative controls , Safe work practices, PPE.
* Types of PPE used.
* Proper use, location, removal.
* Handling, decontamination and disposal of PPE.
* Brief explanation on why the PPE was picked.
Information on the hepatitis B vaccine, including:
* Information on its efficacy, safety, method of administration. The benefits of being vaccinated. The vaccine and vaccination will be offered free of charge. (This may differ in some Canadian jurisdictions).
Information on what to do and who to contact in an emergency involving blood or other potentially infectious materials.
An explanation of the procedure to follow if an exposure incident occurs, including the method of reporting and the medical follow-up available.
Information on post-exposure evaluation and follow-up your organization is required to provide for the employee.
An explanation of any signs and labels and/or color coding.
A chance for questions and answers with the person conducting the training session.
Note: Check with your country and/ or jurisdiction about additional training requirements for employees who work in facilities involving exposure to HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and HBV (hepatitis B virus).
When Should Training Take Place?
Workers must be trained before they are exposed to BBPs or OPIM. In the US, retraining is required at least once a year thereafter. Retraining is also a must, regardless of location, when changes such as modification of tasks or procedures or institution of new tasks or procedures affect the employee’s occupational exposure. You can limit additional training to just the new exposures created.
As a supervisor, it is your responsibility to follow and implement your organization’s BBP policy, ensure each exposed employee is properly trained in the hazards of bloodborne pathogens and all protective measures in place.