Bloodborne Pathogens - Grounds and Landscaping
Bloodborne pathogens are infectious bacteria which can be present in blood that can cause disease in humans. These pathogens could be responsible for illnesses such as Hepatitis B and C, as well as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the virus that causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, otherwise known as AIDS.
Workers exposed to bloodborne pathogens are at risk for serious or life-threatening illnesses. Exposures are a potential hazard for many different occupations, including Grounds and Landscaping if they come in contact with blood, body fluids, needlesticks, sewage and other similar potentially hazardous materials that may have come in contact with a person’s blood infected with the bacteria. Blood, body fluids and the other potentially infectious material can come in contact with any worker, either directly or indirectly.
- Directly would be person to person, if you touch the blood of another person, such as providing first aid.
- Indirectly would be coming in contact with blood or body fluids on a field, such as after an injury, or in a waste container from someone who may have improperly discarded blood and body fluids, including but not limited to contaminated personal protective equipment, needles, sewage and vomit.
OSHA, the Occupational, Safety and Health Administration requires employers to protect workers who are, or may be exposed to blood and other potentially infectious materials. In compliance with this requirement, Amherst College has an Exposure Control Plan that includes, but is not limited to; providing personal protective equipment (i.e. non-latex gloves of many different strengths and thickness), engineering controls (providing “sharps’ containers for the proper disposal of needles and syringes), establishment of the most appropriate work practices (not coming in direct contact with potentially infectious materials) and making Hepatitis B vaccinations and post exposure medical testing available to any employee who has the potential to be exposed.
The Amherst College Exposure Control Plan is available in detail (online) to any person who would like to review it in its entirety. The Plan specifically details that;
- any person that could or will be exposed to a potentially infectious material shall receive training.
- any person that could or will be exposed to a potentially infectious material shall be offered (after initial training) the Hepatitis B inoculation through Health Services, at no cost to the employee.
- all person(s) who could or will be exposed to a potentially infectious material wear all of the required personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to perform their job safely.
- Regardless of whether or not PPE was used, the employee must aggressively wash hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds after cleanup or removal and shall report unprotected exposure to their supervisor or EH&S
- Contact EH&S for assistance with the correct level of protection for the job(s) being performed.
- any person that could or will be exposed to a potentially infectious material, including blood, body fluids, including but not limited to; sewage, urine and vomit) shall take all of the needed precautions before coming in contact with the suspect material(s), which includes;
- the necessary personal protective equipment (i.e. gloves, goggles, aprons or other protective clothing.
- application of the most appropriated EPA registered disinfectant (i.e. bleach, Lysol IC or Virex)
- follow manufacturers specifications for both strength and use.
- Bleach shall not be made stronger than 1-part bleach to 6-parts of water.
- Bleach solutions shall not be used if the mixture is greater than 24 hours’ old
- contaminated / waste material which has been cleaned up shall be;
- decontaminated prior to disposal with bleach, Lysol IC or Virex, or
- placed into the appropriate bag or container, and
- labelled as “Bio-Hazard” or “Bloodborne Pathogen”
- any person who finds a needle and/or syringe (regardless of type) shall…
- barricade, lock or otherwise prevent other persons from entering the area until the Amherst College Police Department has arrived to investigate and remove the potential hazards.
- under no circumstance shall any person handle a needle or syringe unless they have the proper training to do so, and have been given permission to do so by the police department or EH&S
- any person who has come in direct contact with an infectious material (without the required PPE) shall contact their supervisor or EH&S
- if any employee has reservations about the possibility of exposure to a potentially infectious material, they shall first contact their supervisor or EH&S before initiating cleanup or removal.
For additional assistance or information, contact the office of Environmental Health and Safety at (413) 542-8189