How hotel staff can minimize exposure to bloodborne pathogens

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CHICAGO — Did you know? Exposure control plans for blood borne infections are essential for hospitality employers.

Bloodborne pathogens are infectious microorganisms found in human blood that can cause disease in humans, including hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Hotel workers can be exposed to these pathogens through injuries from needle sticks and bodily fluids.

“The hotel industry offers customers a temporary residence; therefore, it usually results in significant exposure to bloodborne pathogens. Hotels generally do not have sufficient training on this security topic, ”said Ashley Henderson, Assistant Vice President, Senior Risk Consultant, Risk Management Services Division, HUB International Limited. “Bloodborne pathogens are bodily fluids. Examples of bodily fluids can include blood, semen, urine, tears, vomit, etc. Guests staying in hotels may also bring their medications to hotels and it is the responsibility of housekeeping staff to dispose of any needles or litter kept in rooms. Exposure to bloodborne pathogens in the hospitality industry is significant. Body fluids present in a hotel are not always visible, which makes this another challenge for staff members.

HUB works with a variety of hotel accounts, ranging from restaurants, hotels, resorts, museums, entertainment centers, and more. The Enterprise Risk Management Services division partners with these hotel accounts to identify and access risks, as well as take appropriate actions to mitigate exposures and risks in their workplace. One example is bloodborne pathogens.

Hoteliers should make efforts to minimize the risk in terms of exposure to blood-borne infections. For example, providing sharps containers in hotels is one of the most important aspects of minimizing the risk of needles, according to Henderson.

“As part of minimizing risk, ideally we want to eliminate exposure and give customers the ability to dispose of needles safely, without endangering service or maintenance personnel,” he said. she declared. “Training is also another important aspect of blood-borne infections. Employees should be properly trained on how to identify exposure to PBB, have knowledge of the personal protective equipment they should wear when cleaning rooms, and understand how to handle and dispose of needles, bandages or other materials which may contain bodily fluids.

Henderson gives hoteliers advice on how to act now:

Training is the key. Make sure that qualified staff have received extensive training regarding bloodborne pathogens (all employees should have a general understanding of PBB; however, the hotel should have dedicated staff trained in depth on exposure and how to mitigate or eliminate it). Ensure that these employees know how to identify exposures to BBP; understand what PPE staff should wear / appropriate technique for removing gloves / PPE; know how to properly dispose of the product; and ensure that the company has a protocol in place for employees exposed to BBP when they are not protected.

Provide a disposal option. Make sure sharps containers are available for guests and hotel staff to properly dispose of needles.

“While you cannot eliminate exposure to BBP in hotels, it is important that employees are able to identify and take appropriate action to eliminate BBP material,” said Henderson. “Our HUB Risk Services can help our hospitality customers identify risk, understand risk, train employees and mitigate danger. “

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