First Responders: Protect Your Employees with an Exposure Control Plan
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 2008-115
First responders face unique scenarios due to uncontrolled settings and the possible presence of large volumes of blood at the scene. Exposure risk is heightened in chaotic work situations with uncooperative patients or suspects.
These workers can be easily exposed to blood and other potentially infectious body fluids in their jobs. Emergency responders may perform urgent, invasive procedures on unstable patients, treat open wounds, and stop bleeding. Law enforcement officers may encounter used needles or be assaulted. These events put them at increased risk for contracting bloodborne pathogen infections, including hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections.
A comprehensive bloodborne pathogens exposure prevention program will help protect your employees. One component of a bloodborne pathogens exposure prevention program is a written Exposure Control Plan.
These plans are required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Bloodborne Pathogens Standard. In addition, local regulations, employer policy, or collective bargaining agreements may call for such a program.