Universal Precautions means to treat all human blood and other body fluids as if they are potentially contaminated. No distinction is made between body fluids from individuals with a known disease or those from individuals without symptoms or with an undiagnosed disease. Universal Precautions are practiced through the use of work practice controls and engineering controls.
Work Practice Controls
Practices and procedures to follow on the job to reduce exposure to bloodborne diseases. These include:
- Proper handwashing
- Minimizing the spread of body fluids when attending to an injured individual
- Decontamination and disinfection of the spill area
- Not eating or drinking in an area where there is potential for an exposure
- Participating in the HBV Vaccination Program.
Engineering controls are mechanical or physical barriers that eliminate hazards at the source. These include:
- CPR shields
- Red biohazard disposal bags
- Biohazard sharps container
- Plastic trash can liners
Routine Cleaning Practices Which Minimize Transmission of Disease
Good housekeeping protects everybody in a school setting. The worksite must be kept in a clean and sanitary condition to eliminate and minimize the spread of bloodborne pathogens.
Disposable Gloves: Must be worn when cleaning restrooms or other activities, in which custodians may come into contact with body fluids: this can range from routine cleaning tasks to emergency cleaning situations. Latex, rubber or vinyl gloves may be used. However, gloves must be discarded if they are peeling, cracked, or there is evidence of deterioration.
Restroom Cleaning: Must be performed daily. Floors, toilets, and sinks of all restrooms should be cleaned and disinfected daily with an EPA approved disinfectant. Covered, leak resistant containers should be easily accessible to dispose of sanitary items in all the female restrooms.
Garbage and waste receptacles must have plastic liners: Waste receptacles located in an area which has a high potential for contaminated waste, such as special education areas, nurses office and restrooms must be changed daily. Plastic liners should be tied as part of the removal process. Any receptacle plastic liner that contains non-dripping, or caked body fluids must be double bagged and then discarded in the normal trash. See disposal section for further instructions on waste disposal.
The Nurse Clinic: Must be considered as a high priority for cleaning on a daily basis. These rooms must be cleaned and disinfected. Special attention should be given to disinfecting all work surfaces. All trash should be double bagged and discarded daily.
Mop Water: Must be changed after it is used to clean up a body fluid incident. Dirty mop water should be carefully poured down the drain, to prevent splashing or spilling on to surrounding clean areas. It would also be appropriate to wear protective equipment to avoid splashes from contaminated water. After use, mops should be soaked in a disinfectant solution for 20 minutes.
Handwashing: These procedures must be followed frequently throughout the day, especially after removing gloves.