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Consequences for Failure to Wear Gloves

Q: Where can I find information that states consequences for failure to wear gloves or altering gloves when starting IV's and when collecting blood samples?

A: Employees covered under OSHA's Bloodborne Pathogens Standard need to use Personal Protective Equipment (like gloves, fluid resistant gowns, and face protection) as well as Engineering Controls (like safer sharps) and Work Practice Controls (like not recapping used needles).

Personal choice to not wear PPE or to alter gloves or safety devices isn't an option! OSHA says:

The employer shall ensure that the employee uses appropriate personal protective equipment...

Personal protective equipment will be considered "appropriate" only if it does not permit blood or other potentially infectious materials to pass through to or reach the employee's work clothes, street clothes, undergarments, skin, eyes, mouth, or other mucous membranes under normal conditions of use and for the duration of time which the protective equipment will be used.

Gloves shall be worn when it can be reasonably anticipated that the employee may have hand contact with blood, other potentially infectious materials, mucous membranes, and non-intact skin; when performing vascular access procedures...

As far as consequences go, your facility could be fined by OSHA if employees don't follow the law. Also, your employee could contract a bloodborne disease through cuts and abraded skin on their hands if exposed to an infected patient's blood.

The primary agents of concern are the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and hepatitis C virus (HCV). HCV is the most common blood-borne infection in America infecting an estimated 1 in every 50 adults. Most Americans with Hepatitis C have the form that's hardest to treat. Daily pills and weekly injections for six months are a standard treatment combination, and carry flu-like side effects. There are approximately 80,000 new cases of hepatitis B infection each year in the United States, and up to 1 in 7 adults have HBV in certain populations. Two thousand healthcare workers a year become infected with hepatitis C, and 400 contract hepatitis B. It is thought that more than one million people are living with HIV in the USA and that more than half a million have died after developing AIDS. Healthcare workers have reported 195 cases of HIV that are likely occupationally related. 147 of the 195 have progressed to AIDS. So another real consququence is that failure to wear PPE results in exposures to often fatal diseases, and risk for healthcare worker exposure is real.

Bottom line, refer to your Quality America OSHA Safety Program Manual or Dental OSHA Safety Program Manual to implement policies that will keep you OSHA compliant!

Posted by Quality America on February 6, 2008 | Comments (0)


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