How the Restoration Professionals Can Protect Against Blood Borne Pathogens
Bloodborne pathogens (BBPs) are microorganisms in human blood that can cause life-threatening diseases and pose a severe risk to the health and safety of those that encounter this blood or other fluids. In addition to blood, other examples of BBP fluids include semen, vaginal secretions, and saliva. Blood and these types of fluid have the potential to transmit pathogens and cause infectious disease.
BBPs are very dangerous and can be deadly. Any areas or surfaces exposed to blood or bodily fluids should be cleaned up immediately. When dealing with these types of substances, you should not try a DIY approach, but instead contact a professional restoration company.
Blood and bodily fluids are extremely common in hospitals or healthcare settings, but other commercial and residential properties may also require BBP cleaning services. At the end of the day, our goal is to restore your property so that we can provide residential property safety and commercial property safety.
What are Blood Borne Pathogens (BBP)?
Bloodborne pathogens are infectious microorganisms in human blood that can cause disease in humans. These pathogens include, but are not limited to, hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Needlesticks and other sharps-related injuries may expose workers to bloodborne pathogens. Workers in many occupations, including first responders, housekeeping personnel in some industries, nurses, and other healthcare personnel, all may be at risk for exposure to bloodborne pathogens. In some circumstances, it is hard to plan for Hepatitis B protection, but when you trust experts like BMS CAT – you know that we can help with the cleanup of that or HIV cleanup.
The key is not BBP protection, but identifying a professional restoration company that can help with contaminated property restoration.
Health care workers in surgery, emergency medicine, critical care, labor and delivery, and dialysis units are most prone to occupational exposure. Other occupations with exposure risk include mortuary and funeral services, hospital maintenance, and waste removal workers.
The CDC estimates that 5.6 million workers in the healthcare industry and related occupations are at risk of occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and others. All occupational exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) places workers at risk for infection from bloodborne pathogens. OSHA defines blood to mean human blood, human blood components, and products made from human blood. Other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) means: (1) The following human body fluids: semen, vaginal secretions, cerebrospinal fluid, synovial fluid, pleural fluid, pericardial fluid, peritoneal fluid, amniotic fluid, saliva in dental procedures, any body fluid that is visibly contaminated with blood, and all body fluids in situations where it is difficult or impossible to differentiate between body fluids; (2) Any unfixed tissue or organ (other than intact skin) from a human (living or dead); and (3) HIV-containing cell or tissue cultures, organ cultures, and HIV- or HBV-containing culture medium or other solutions; and blood, organs, or other tissues from experimental animals infected with HIV or HBV.
The Relevance of BBPs in the Restoration Industry
The restoration industry is essential in regards to BBPs. Professional restoration companies step up to provide biohazard cleanup, disinfection methods, trauma scene cleanup and more. Overall, we assess, clean up and address the cleaning and removal of BBPs while utilizing biohazard safety protocols. There are several situations that a restoration company may encounter in regards to bloodborne pathogen cleaning, but they typically include:
- Trauma/Crime Scene Cleanup
- Sewage Backups
- Flood Cleanup
- Hurricane Water Intrusion Cleanup & Recovery
The risks posed to people in an area affected by BBPs can be serious. Both inhabitants and workers need to be aware of potential risks to bloodborne pathogen exposure. Most people don’t expect these hidden hazards, but they are present everywhere – in retail stores, warehouses, hospitals and more.
When thinking about potential risks and how it might apply in a non-healthcare setting, organizations should understand their employees’ potential for occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens.
How We Protect Your Property
The Significance of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
The Bloodborne Pathogens standard (29 CFR 1910.1030) and CDC’s recommended standard precautions both include personal protective equipment, such as gloves, gowns, masks, eye protection (e.g., goggles), and face shields, to protect workers from exposure to infectious diseases.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is essential in preventing potentially infectious materials from passing through or reaching employee’s work clothes, street clothes, undergarments, skin, eyes, mouth, or other mucous membranes under normal conditions.
Safe and Efficient Removal of Contaminated Materials
To isolate BBP-affected areas and stop the spread to unaffected areas – it is important for the contaminated zones to be isolated. Professional BBP cleanup companies, like BMS CAT, will set up specialized containment. This might include tarping off the affected areas or installing physical barriers.
In addition, any contaminated materials should be properly and safely discarded. Before throwing away materials, seal and package the waste to reduce the risks. Also, there are different bins for each type of waste material:
- Red containers and bags = Infectious waste (blood exposed items)
- Black containers = Hazardous waste (chemicals and medications)
- Biohazard symbol containers = Sharps (needles and scalpels)
By partnering with a professional biohazard and bloodborne pathogen cleaning company, they will know the best practices in staying protected and following OSHA standards.
Ensure Optimal Air Quality
When it comes to bloodborne pathogens, blood sprays or droplets can get into the air.
By utilizing HEPA-filtered air scrubbers during and post-restoration, our teams focus on creating optimal air quality. In addition, we offer HVAC cleaning and sanitization services, so we can assess if these pathogens have been pushed into the air duct system. Ensuring optimal air quality is crucial to prevent the contact and spread of potential diseases.
Educate and Communicate with Property Owners
At BMS CAT, our top priority is safety. We keep property managers and owners informed of our plan of attack to rid their property of bloodborne pathogens and educate them about the restoration process. We let them know what they can expect, why we are taking certain precautions and how they can share this information with patients, employees and more.
Before our crews leave, we will also provide guidelines for maintaining a safe environment moving forward, should that information be necessary.
Adhere to Legal and Ethical Implications
At BMS CAT, we follow OSHA’s protocol when cleaning up and removing bloodborne pathogens. Our team members utilize Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when handling and encountering BBPs. In fact, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is our employee’s first line of defense against bloodborne pathogens. As a result, BMS CAT provides (at no cost to employees) the appropriate PPE to protect themselves against exposure.
Additionally, we ensure that any of our BBP customers are treated with the respect and privacy they deserve should these services be needed. Any type of loss that our clients and customers experience is treated with privacy, as that is what they deserve.
Provide Ongoing Training For Our Professionals
Under OSHA’s BBPs standard, employers having employees with exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials must train employees annually regardless of the employees’ prior training or education. At BMS CAT, our employees are continuously trained on the most up-to-date topics. For example, when Coronavirus occurred, our company proactively set up protocols, training, and best practices. Our goal is to provide training to help stay up to date to the evolving nature of pathogens and industry practices.
The experts at BMS CAT can help you keep your environment safe
At BMS CAT, we have been helping homeowners and business owners restore their property to a clean and safe environment after bloodborne pathogen exposure. By utilizing our 75 years of experience, along with training and specialized equipment, we can help you recover. With locations across the United States, we are just one call away for trauma scene cleanup or biohazard cleanup. If your area has been exposed to a bloodborne pathogen, contact us to restore your area today.