What Am I Getting Into? What to Expect from Your Bloodborne Pathogen Class
“There’s blood everywhere! This looks like a crime scene!” If these are the first words out of your mouth when you enter a bloodborne pathogen class, turn around and run away. When you reach a safe distance call the police.
In all reality, a bloodborne pathogen class should be similar to most of the textbook based science classes in high school and college. Yes, there will be lectures and discussions.
There may also be pictures, so if you have a weak stomach, be prepared!
Personal Protective Equipment
Get used to these words and their acronym PPE, you will hear about them all day long. You will be educated on what to have on hand in case of emergencies and you will need to know how to put on and take off the PPE.
Believe it or not, an infection can occur just as easily taking off PPE as putting it on. Make sure to pay close attention to the order as well as the method.
Further, bring a pen and paper to make a list of bloodborne pathogens, because they will throw a lot of information at you.
Your training should state its compliance with all OSHA guidelines early on. If OSHA isn’t mentioned, you will want to look elsewhere for your training.
OSHA developed standards to protect everyone involved to the greatest degree possible. Every safety class must adhere to their standards. If your certification doesn’t, find a different class.
Bloodborne Pathogen Class
You should be able to identify the most common bloodborne pathogens (BBP) by the end of class. The most well known is AIDS. Others include Hepatitis B and C, syphilis, and malaria.
Learn what the universal precautions are and what bodily fluids they apply to. Take care when disposing of any sharp instrument which may have had contact with someone else’s blood.
Be careful with needles, scalpels, and syringes. These can penetrate protective barriers with great ease. Also, always use protective barriers between yourself and any potentially dangerous bodily fluids.
Whenever you finish administering aid which could have resulted in exposure, wash your hands and arms. Bloodborne diseases can transmit from blood to mucous membranes.
In other words, suppose you help clean up blood and a small amount got on your finger. You didn’t see this blood and then picked your nose or rubbed your eye without washing your hands. Now you might be infected!
You will want to know the difference between an occupational exposure and an exposure incident. As the name suggests occupational exposure means you work with blood or potentially infected material.
Most companies will have to deal with exposure incidents. This means that an accident brought people into contact with BBP. Such as an accidental cut that dripped blood on another person.
Plan, Plan, and Plan Some More
The bloodborne pathogen class should devote time to outlining what to do in case of incidents. The natural tendency is to try to sweep things under the rug in order to stay out of trouble and keep up productivity.
The class will cover follow up investigations. Remember, when following up on an accident, the goal can never be to assign blame.
Instead, the goal must always be making sure the same thing doesn’t happen again. Investigations serve to prevent future accidents.
Your bloodborne pathogen class will teach you what labels mean. It is not enough to have orange-red bags stationed for disposal of hazardous material. Everyone must know what should be thrown in them.
Notes for Employers
You will be responsible for telling all employees who to contact in case of an emergency. Only certified personnel should respond to and administer aid to workers in the event of injuries.
This may seem harsh, but the training exists for everyone’s protection. An employee who plays the hero can result in the transmission of diseases. Having OSHA certified responders will mean that you are better protected in the end.
Make sure employees know their safety comes first. You must teach each employee what labels mean and who their responders are. Also, train employees to report every incident.
Never punish employees for reporting accidents, but do reprimand them for hiding emergencies. These steps and the bloodborne pathogen class make safety the culture of the workplace.
Because if they face derision and negative repercussions for following procedures, those procedures will be ignored. What’s more, your company will be in danger of legal action for creating an unsafe environment.
A final word for employers on vaccinations.
Vaccinations must be a part of BBP occupational exposure plans. Employees will need all information related to the vaccine. They may deny it but must sign papers stating their denial.
What Not to Expect
You should not be expected to complete bloodborne pathogen training on your own time away from work. And the training needs to be offered to you in your own language and at your reading level.
Employers cannot make you pay for the training yourself. Nor can they insist you complete the training in a certain amount of time.
You must remember that the time it takes will depend greatly on what new information is available. Also, the number of potential hazards in your workplace will have a great impact on training time.
Ask any questions you have after the bloodborne pathogen class is completed. Any questions you don’t feel were properly answered should be directed straight to your supervisor.
But most trainers go out of their way to answer all standard questions and even a few that aren’t so standard.
If you are looking for high-quality training and OSHA compliant certifications look no further.