Bloodborne Pathogens: When an Accident Happens
Suddenly you're faced with an accident on the job. Should you call for emergency help? Should you help the injured person yourself? With a quick study of the situation, you can decide how best to handle it. Before you help, take the right steps to protect yourself and others from infection from bloodborne pathogens (disease-causing germs carried in blood or other body fluids).
Step 1. Check it out
Before assisting the injured person, try to find out if the injury is life-threatening.
If the injury looks life-threatening, call 911 (or other emergency service) before you do anything else.
Don't panic. You'll be much more helpful if you stay calm.
Step 2. Protect yourself
When helping an injured person, protect your hands, mouth, eyes, or any part of your body that might come in contact with the person's blood or body fluids. Follow these guidelines:
Use a barrier against blood and body fluid, such as protective gloves, when helping an injured person.
If blood or body fluid could splash, wear a mask and eye protection. Wear an apron to protect your clothing.
If protective gloves aren't available, use another type of barrier, such as a clean, thick cloth. If blood or body fluid starts to soak through the cloth, keep adding more layers of cloth.
Step 3. Control or flag the area
Follow work practice controls and use materials such as rope, flags, cones, or tape to mark off the accident site. This will help protect others from exposure to blood or body fluids, even if dried.
Step 4. Make a report
Report the accident to your supervisor immediately. Anyone else who witnessed or was involved in the accident should be listed in the report.