Methods of Control | Bloodborne Pathogens

Q. What is meant by the term universal precautions?

A. Universal Precautions is OSHAs required method of control to protect employees from exposure to all human blood and OPIM. The term, “Universal Precautions,” refers to a concept of bloodborne disease control which requires that all human blood and certain human body fluids are treated as if known to be infectious for HIV, HBV, and other bloodborne pathogens.

Q. What are engineering controls?

A. The term, “engineering controls,” refers to controls (e.g., sharps disposal containers, self-sheathing needles, safer medical devices, such as sharps with engineered sharps injury protections and needleless systems) that isolate or remove the bloodborne pathogens hazards from the workplace.

Q. Can employees of an ambulance medical rescue service eat or drink inside the cab of the unit?

A. Employees are allowed to eat and drink in an ambulance cab only if the employer has implemented procedures to permit employees to wash up and change contaminated clothing prior to entering the ambulance cab, has prohibited the consumption, handling, storage, and transport of food and drink in the rear of the vehicle, and has procedures to ensure that patients and contaminated materials remain behind the separating partition.

Q. What alternatives are acceptable if soap and running water are not available for handwashing?

A. Antispetic hand cleaner in conjunction with clean cloth/paper towels or antiseptic towelettes are examples of acceptable alternatives to running water. However, when these types of alternatives are used, employees must wash their hands (or other affected areas) with soap and running water as soon as feasible. This alternative would only be acceptable at worksites where soap and running water are not feasible.

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