How well do you know workplace bloodborne pathogens (BBP) safety? Are you prepared to maintain exposure control during an emergency?
Take our bloodborne pathogens quiz to see if you’d benefit from BBP training.
BBP Safety Quiz
1. Which best describes epidemiology?
a. A standard for managing blood-borne pathogens
b. Symptoms of contracting a bloodborne infection
c. The science of tracking and controlling diseases
d. The outermost layer of skin
2. Besides healthcare workers, which of the following could benefit from bloodborne pathogen training?
b. First Responders
c. Daycare and School Teachers
d. All of the Above
3. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will protect you from BBP? True or False?
4. How long is a Hepatitis B vaccination good for?
a. Six months
b. 10 years
c. A Lifetime
d. Two years
5. A biohazard sign on a laboratory managing BBP must identify which of the following?
a. The name of the infectious agent present
b. The biohazard symbol
c. Special entrance requirements
d. All of the above
6. Which type of exposure is most likely to cause the transmission of a bloodborne pathogen?
a. Your unbroken skin comes in contact with blood or bodily fluids.
b. Fluid splashes into your eyes or onto mucous membranes (inside of nose, mouth, etc.)
c. You stick yourself with a needle used on someone else.
d. You’re performing CPR on your HIV-positive coworker.
7. Which of the following is not a bloodborne pathogen?
a. Hepatitis B or C
8. Taking bloodwork immediately after possible BBP exposure can tell you if you’ve been exposed? True or False?
9. Which of the following is not part of the BBP cleanup protocol?
a. Place your OSHA-approved red safety sign with the biohazard symbol on it at the scene
b. Put on your PPE.
c. Use an absorbent material (e.g., a towel) to reduce the spread of fluid.
d. Use disinfectants as outlined in your BBP plan.
10. Which describes a step to removing gloves properly?
a. Use scissors to cut off your gloves.
b. Grab the wrist of the glove and pull it toward your fingers inside out.
c. Ask a co-worker to remove your gloves.
d. Wash your hands with gloves on and then take them off.
1. c, 2. d, 3. b, 4. c, 5. d, 6. c, 7. c, 8. b, 9. a, 10. b.
How did you do? If you answered all the questions correctly, congratulations. You know a thing or two about BBP exposure control in the workplace. Why not make it official by getting your BBP certificate?
If you struggled with various answers or want to learn more, BBP training gives you the practical knowledge you can use in your workplace to keep yourself, coworkers, and customers safe. Let’s take a closer look at some of the answers to the BBP workplace quiz.
What Does Epidemiology Have to Do with BBP Training?
Epidemiology is the scientific study of what makes people sick, how disease spreads, and how to control the disease.
Scientists have extensively studied how bloodborne pathogens spread. For example, they know that your HIV only has a .3% chance of transmitting disease through broken skin.
They’ve tested methods and strategies to see how people assisting someone can reduce their risk.
BBP safety training is based on this science. It offers practical and effective methods to deal with exposure control in various workplace settings.
Bloodborne Pathogen training is part of worker safety and falls under OSHA guidelines.
Who Needs BBP Training?
OSHA.gov, If you are an employer who is required to offer BBP training, you could face fines of up to $14,502 per violation in 2022 plus another fine of the same amount per day if you do not correct the issue.
So who needs training?
OSHA expects training for anyone who has a high likelihood of exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM). Professionals could generally include:
- First responders
- Managers and Supervisors
With that said, you never know when you might need help during a workplace emergency. So everyone would benefit from BBP training. You can get a BBP certificate online in as little as two hours.
Will PPE Prevent Exposure?
Personal protective equipment (PPE) should be part of a BBP exposure control plan.
- Waterproof gown
- CPR mouth shield
But without formal bloodborne pathogens training and workplace protocols, PPE will not keep workers safe.
We all saw the trouble people had in 2020 (and beyond) learning to wear a mask correctly (over their noses, multiple layers, the right material, etc.). Like the pandemic, you don’t want to wait until you’re in the presence of a contagious disease to learn how to stay safe.
For example, if employees wear gloves but pass sharp objects carelessly between themselves, wearing gloves will not prevent a cut that leads to exposure.
How Long Does a Hep B Vaccine Last?
According to AAMC.org, studies show that Hep B vaccine protection lasts for at least 30 years when given > 6mo. On top of that, it can prevent serious illness from chronic infection for up to a lifetime.
Even though the antibodies diminish after about 30 years, a healthy body continues to recognize Hep B and fight it.
Boosters are not recommended for most healthy adults. Although exceptions may be required for people at high risk like healthcare workers.
What Are the Label Requirements for Bloodborne Pathogens?
Proper signage informs others about potential risks. In the case of a laboratory, OSHA.gov requires:
- The orange biohazard symbol
- Name of the infectious agent
- Any special instructions for those entering the room
- Name and number of the laboratory director or other responsible person
Any containers for storage, transport, or shipping must be properly labeled with the above as well. This includes outer packaging like a box with many smaller boxes in it.
How Do Bloodborne Pathogens Spread?
In order for bloodborne pathogens to spread, blood or, in some cases, bodily fluids must enter the bloodstream of another person.
The most likely way for this to happen is with an accidental finger prick with a needle that was used on someone who has an infectious disease.
But there is variation among diseases. For example, if you are exposed to Hep C via a prick, cut, etc. you have around a 1.8% chance of catching it. However, if you’re much more likely to catch Hep B this way.
Other potentially-infectious materials (OPIM) include objects or any of the following when they have been visibly contaminated with blood:
- Synovial fluid (joints)
- Cerebrospinal fluid
- Semen or vaginal secretions
- Pleural fluid (lungs)
- Pericardial fluid (membrane around the heart)
- Amniotic fluid
- Breast milk
So, for example, a little saliva itself is not considered a risk unless you or another person there has an open sore. But of course, sometimes you just don’t know, so safety is recommended. These pathogens could also pass through an open wound. Mucous Membranes Are Less Likely
Mucous Membranes Are Less Likely
It is much less likely for these pathogens to pass through the eyes and mucous membranes, such as the mouth or nose. With that said, it is possible, so precautions should be taken. Open sores, such as a bitten inner cheek or bleeding gum could increase the risk (medllineplus.gov).
Unless you have an open wound, hands-only CPR is unlikely to cause a risk of exposure. You should certainly use a mouthguard when giving breaths with CPR and learn how to give high-quality breaths.
Randomized trials have shown that hands-only CPR can be even more effective than regular CPR in an out-of-hospital setting (NIH.gov). If your co-worker’s heart stops, you should not hesitate to start CPR because of concern about infectious disease. Bloodborne pathogens training will further explain these risks.
What Bloodborne Pathogens Are of Primary Concern?
Taking workplace bloodborne pathogens training — and following what you learned — can protect you, your coworkers, and customers from all kinds of contagious diseases. Getting your employees trained can avoid possible OSHA violations and liability.
However, the primary diseases of focus include:
- HIV/AIDS – a virus that targets and destroys the immune system
- Hep B – is a virus that causes acute and chronic liver disease and failure. Hep B can affect the body for a short time or become a lifelong disease.
- Hep C – is a virus that causes severe liver inflammation, which can cause irreversible liver damage.
These diseases in particular can cause serious lifelong health complications or death.
With that said, other bloodborne pathogens you’ve likely heard of and wouldn’t want to catch include these, as listed by NIH.gov:
- Hemorrhagic fever
Why Do You Need a Blood Test Immediately After a Potential Exposure?
However, it can take days or weeks for your blood test to confirm you’ve contracted a bloodborne illness. So why is this test performed?
This test provides your doctor with a baseline. Do you already have the disease? Or do you have something that may make you more susceptible to catching BBP, for example, diabetes or an immune disorder?
Now, when you’re tested again later, they’ll be able to compare the results to better understand your lab work.
Testing the Person Who Exposed Others
Additionally, the person who had the accident will also be tested. These tests can confirm if the person has HIV/AIDS, Hep B or Hep C. If a bloodborne pathogen is confirmed, they can administer antiretroviral medications to the exposed person.
With that said, this medication must be administered within hours to prevent the incubation and spread of the disease.
How Should You Clean Up Blood or OPIM?
Proper cleanup is not to be taken lightly. Did you know hepatitis B can stay viable on a surface for up to one week, if not disinfected?
In most cases, the BBP plan should not include waiting for a professional cleanup company. Several people in the workplace need to know how to clean up the site to protect others. And it should be done immediately — unless this is a crime scene.
The first thing to do is notify the appropriate supervisor, so they can make that decision.
You should put on your PPE. Then use an absorbent material like a towel to soak up what you can and keep it from spreading. Your BBP safety plan should include what cleaners to use as you disinfect the area.
This decision is often both safety-oriented and aesthetic. Some disinfectants may be ineffective against certain pathogens, but they may also harm surfaces like stainless steel.
Once the area is clean, you should dispose of cleaning supplies and then PPE in accordance with your plan.
Your BBP plan should outline who notifies the proper authorities of exposure and in which cases. Generally, this will be the supervisor who was notified.
Training many people — even beyond OSHA’s requirements — can ensure that this plan gets carried out.
How Should You Remove Gloves After Dealing with Workplace Bloodborne Pathogens?
After exposure, you should be careful about touching something with your gloved hands — especially eating or drinking. Get those gloves off and wash your hands. But how you do it matters.
Start by gripping the outside of one glove at the wrist with your other gloved hand. Pull upward toward your fingers, allowing it to slide off inside out.
Hold that dirty glove in the palm of your gloved hand. Use your ungloved hand to grab the wrist of the final glove and pull it toward your fingers with the first glove inside.
Dispose of the gloves in accordance with your exposure control plan.
BBP Training Can Prevent Transmission of Workplace Bloodborne Pathogens
BBP training teaches employees what to do in the event of possible BBP exposure. It outlines how to contain exposure and reduce risk to others in the workplace.
While OSHA only requires employers to provide free OSHA-adhering training to employees who are likely to face exposure, anyone can benefit from taking a free, online OSHA-adhering BBP training course. Share your wisdom and thoughts in the comments below.