Although construction workers are not normally exposed to blood or other potentially infectious fluids and materials in their day to day work, special precautions are needed when a designated job site first-aid provider is rendering first aid.
The most common cause of infection transmission in the workplace is when an infected person’s blood enters another person’s blood stream through an open wound, or through the eyes, mouth and other mucous membranes. Some of the potentially lethal blood-borne pathogens that construction site first aid workers may be exposed to include the hepatitis viruses, HIV, and human T-lymphotropic virus type I.
OSHA regulations require construction employers to be three to five minutes from an infirmary, doctor or hospital if an employee is injured. Few contractors are able to meet the requirements of this standard and are obligated to appoint an onsite first aid provider. Although OSHA's Blood-borne Pathogens Standard does not apply to the construction industry, employees given first aid responsibilities must comply with the standard.
Because first aid-trained employees may be exposed to infected blood, work practice controls should be used to eliminate or minimize blood-borne pathogen exposure to those employees.
- Wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) when giving first aid to a bleeding person. PPE does not permit blood or other potentially infectious materials to pass through or reach the employee’s clothing, skin, eyes, mouth, or other mucous membranes under normal conditions of use and while the PPE is being worn.
- Performing first-aid procedures as best as possible to minimize the possibility of splashing, spraying, and splattering of blood or other potentially infectious materials.
- Removing soiled PPE as soon as possible.
- Cleaning and disinfecting all potentially contaminated equipment and work surfaces with a solution of 1/4-cup chlorine bleach per gallon of water.
- Thorough hand washing with soap and water immediately after providing care or after handling soiled or contaminated equipment.
- Using leak-proof, labeled garbage bags as containers for contaminated waste or laundry.
- Minimize potential exposure through accident prevention, employee safety training and proper use of PPE.
Neff Rental employees also understand the dangers of blood-borne pathogens and are trained to take precautions when assisting a fellow employee who is bleeding. More information about Neff Rental can be found here.