OSH Answers Fact Sheets
Easy-to-read, question-and-answer fact sheets covering a wide range of workplace health and safety topics, from hazards to diseases to ergonomics to workplace promotion. MORE ABOUT >
What should I know when employed as a health care worker?
Consider blood and body fluids from all patients as potentially infective. Refer to Routine Practices for preventing transmission of bloodborne infectious diseases.
Report immediately suspect fluid exposure, or a needlestick or sharp injury to a designated person because if post-exposure chemoprophylaxis is to be implemented, it should begin preferably within 1 to 2 hours after exposure.
What personal protection should I wear?
- When you have open or healing wounds, or skin infections.
- When in contact with blood or body fluids, secretions, excretions or non-intact skin.
- When in contact with surfaces or articles contaminated with blood or body fluids.
- When performing venipuncture or other vascular access procedures.
- When carrying out cleaning or decontamination procedures.
Replace torn or punctured gloves immediately.
Use new gloves for every patient.
Wear protective eye wear, masks or face shields (with safety glasses or goggles):
- During procedures likely to generate droplets of blood or body fluids.
Protective eye wear, masks and clothing are not needed for routine care of AIDS virus-infected persons.
- When the splashing of blood or body fluids may occur.
- Before and after direct patient contact.
- Immediately and thoroughly when contaminated by blood or body fluids.
- After removing gloves.
- After a glove tear or suspected glove leak.
- Before leaving a work area.
The use of gloves does not eliminate the need for hand washing. Hand washing is one of the most important procedures for the prevention of transmission.
What precautions should I follow when working with linen?
- Handle soiled linen as little as possible.
- Bag soiled linen at location.
- Transport linen in impervious bag if outside of linen bag is soiled. Process according to hospital policy.
- Do not sort or rinse soiled linen in patient care area.
What precautions should I follow when performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation?
- Use mouthpieces or other ventilation devices for CPR. Avoid direct contact with patients.
- Clean and gas-sterilize equipment before reusing.
Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.