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  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

Safely Cleaning up Blood Spills in the Workplace

For those working in a community-based organization or an industry with potentially infectious materials, exposure to blood spills is common. But this exposure to these substances increases the risk of the bloodborne pathogens spreading in the atmosphere.

The blood that you’re exposed to can be affected by diseases like HIV, or hepatitis B, among many. It is of utmost importance to know how to clean up blood spills in lab. You should ensure that your janitorial staff has the right equipment to carry out the cleaning process. You should follow the OSHA’s (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) guidelines for cleaning up blood spills in hospital to ensure that the health and safety of all the hospital staff as well as patients is maintained.

How Does Osha Clean up Blood Spills?

Blood spills cleanup

A person cleaning a blood spill, Credit: Pixabay

The five basic steps for cleaning up blood spills workplace or in lab are:

  1. Prevent the bloodborne pathogen from direct contact. Wear gloves, mask, and a disposable gown for this purpose.

  2. Contain and remove the spill. Use tongs to put away all the broken glass shards or fragments.

  3. After soaking up most of the blood in the cloth, disinfect the area thoroughly.

  4. All the disposable things that have been used in the cleaning process must be packed in a biohazard bag. It should also be labelled to prevent anyone from coming into contact with them.

  5. Apply generous amounts of sanitisers in the spill area. Ensure that the room is well-ventilated and let the sanitiser sit in the area for a considerable period of time.

Thus, this is how to clean up blood spills osha recommendations.

Key Points of OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens Standard

Face masks

Disposable face masks, Credit: Pixabay

There are four key points that are outlined in OSHA’s bloodborne pathogens standard. They are:

  1. Creating a plan to reduce the exposure or contact with the infected material.

  2. Treating all contaminated material as infectious by applying universal precautions in dealing with them.

  3. Providing basic protective equipment to everyone in the cleaning staff like eye protection, suits, masks, and gloves.

  4. Ensure that every worker is fully educated and trained in all aspects of the OSHA standard that includes exposure to bloodborne pathogens.

The main aim of OSHA’s standard is to prevent any spills from happening in the first place. All these precautions can be applied to other clean up procedures that do not include blood spills.

Equipment’s Included in OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogen Cleanup Kit

how to clean up blood spills osha

Personal Protection Equipment kit materials, Credit: Pixabay

Some specialised equipment is needed to deal with blood spills and other bodily fluid spills. The location, size, and type of the spill determine the equipment that will be used by the cleaning staff. The equipment mentioned below is suitable for cleaning every type of spill. The equipment checklist is as follows:

  1. Disposable gloves

  2. Disinfecting towels

  3. Absorbent materials like litter, sand, etc.

  4. A biohazard bag with a zip

  5. Scoop

  6. Protection for eyes

  7. Protection for head in the form of a cap

  8. Mask

  9. Protective gown

How to Clean Blood Spills Outdoors?

Outdoor blood spills

Blood spills on the stairs, Credit: Pixabay

Sometimes it so happens that bodily fluids or blood can spill outside the vicinity of the hospital. It presents a difficult situation as cleaning blood from areas like dirt or grass is not fully possible. At the same time, you cannot prevent the spread of bloodborne pathogens outside.

In such a scenario, the outdoor area should be properly disinfected. The affected area should also be blocked away. It will prevent anyone else from coming into contact with the blood spill. A mixture of bleach and water can be used to wash the area and disinfect it. Those who are tasked with the responsibility to clean blood spills in the outdoor area should wear proper PPE kits. They should know the procedure of effectively cleaning the spills.

Contact with the blood spills or other bodily fluids are a major cause of infections and other sexually transmitted diseases in otherwise healthy individuals. It is recommended that the janitorial staff follow the guidelines laid down by OSHA to the best of their abilities.

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