Bloodborne pathogens are infectious microorganisms active in the blood and other body fluids. These pathogens pose a serious danger to anyone who comes into contact with contaminated blood. They are, therefore, a serious problem in the healthcare setting where physicians and other medical workers constantly interact with sick patients.
But, healthcare professionals are not the only ones at risk of getting bloodborne infections. Even patients can contract the pathogens from healthcare workers or the equipment within the facility.
What Exactly Are These Bloodborne Pathogens?
There are many types of bloodborne pathogens, but three viruses are especially dangerous. These are Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Hepatitis B Virus (HBV), and Hepatitis C Virus (HCV). The pathogens can be transmitted in various ways. For instance, a healthcare provider can get an HCV virus through an injury involving a sharp object contaminated by blood. It’s also possible to get some pathogens from the fluids of a deceased person.
To minimize the risk of bloodborne pathogens, the government requires certain professionals to undergo a BBP training program. The training covers many subjects, from creating awareness on these pathogens to prevention methods and diagnosis.
Who Needs A Bloodborne Pathogens Certification
One of the big misconceptions that most people have is that BBP certification is only necessary to physicians who are dealing with patients every day. That’s not accurate. Bloodborne pathogens certification is necessary for many workers. Not just because regulatory bodies ask for it but for one’s own safety as well. BBP certification also helps in maintaining high health standards.
Individuals who need bloodborne pathogens training can be grouped into the following groups:
Healthcare workers are without a doubt at the highest risk of contracting bloodborne infections. These workers interact with infected individuals all the time. Some of them show clear signs of bloodborne infections, while others are completely asymptomatic.
Moreover, healthcare providers interact with materials that can transmit pathogens. This includes scalpels, needles, etc. Therefore, bloodborne pathogens training is essential for anyone working in the industry. And that’s regardless of the level of employment. Just because you do not interact with patients directly doesn’t mean you should not go through BBP training. You still need the course.
Here is a list of the healthcare workers who should take the course:
- Physicians and nurses
- Dentists and dental assistants
- Rehab and nursing home staff
- Medical students
In summary, every medical worker needs training. It doesn’t matter if you practice in a public, private or correctional facility; you need it.
The healthcare adjacent industry covers pretty much every company that works with medical facilities. A good example here is the janitorial staff. These workers rarely, if ever, come into direct contact with patients. However, they do clean and handle equipment that medical practitioners and patients have used. That means they can still get the viruses since some bloodborne pathogens can survive on surfaces at room temperature for hours or even days.
So, the janitors require the training to understand why they need to use PPEs even though they are not in contact with patients. They also need to learn what they should do in case they suspect exposure to BBP.
This industry also covers caregivers who do not work inside healthcare facilities. For instance, a home caregiver does not go to the hospital. They do their services in a home setting. However, they are exposed to similar risks as the nurses working in the hospital. That is why they also need bloodborne pathogen training.
Some of the other people in the healthcare-adjacent industry who need BBP training are:
- Blood bank workers
- Housekeeping staff
- Laboratory workers
- Medical equipment technicians
Bloodborne pathogen training is also important for people who are not interacting with the healthcare industry in any way but come in contact with body fluids on a regular basis.
The perfect example here is body artists and tattooists. These professionals come into contact with blood almost all the time. It’s therefore critical that they learn how to protect themselves.
Another group of people is law enforcement officers. Police officers find themselves in many situations where they have to deal with body fluids, e.g., crime scenes, accidents, and so on. They need to know how to stay safe and protect the people they’re interacting with.
Other individuals in the non-healthcare industry who need BBP training are:
- Funeral home workers
- Corrections facility workers
How Often Should You Go Through BBP Training?
Employers are required to provide BBP training at least once per year. But certain factors may change this. If, for example, you change job duties in the facility, the employer may have to offer training once more. That’s the case if the change poses new risks of bloodborne infections.
Additional BBP training may also be required after an internal incident or when new external factors influence the risk of exposure.
Bloodborne pathogen training is essential for many professionals and not just physicians. If your work gets you in contact with bodily fluids in any way, then you need the training. So, find a good course and get started.