Exposure Incident, Reporting and Follow Up

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Handling Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens

An occupational exposure incident refers to contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials through mucous membranes, broken skin, or puncture, occurring during an employee's work duties. This guide outlines the necessary steps and procedures following such an incident.

Immediate Response to Exposure

  • Decontamination: Immediate cleansing of the affected area.
  • Medical Treatment: Seek urgent medical care without delay.
  • Incident Reporting: Report the incident to a supervisor as per workplace protocols.

The Two-Hour Rule for Reporting

Incidents should be reported within two hours, and necessary documentation completed promptly. However, medical treatment should not be delayed for paperwork.

Post-Exposure Treatment and Reporting

Healthcare workers or others exposed to HBV or HIV should receive expedited post-exposure treatment. Consideration for preventative treatments for those at high risk of HIV exposure should be made in advance.

Employer's Exposure Control Plan

Employers must have a comprehensive exposure control plan, detailing prevention, treatment, and follow-up procedures.

Designated Medical Personnel and Services

  • Designate doctors for immediate consultation post-exposure.
  • Specify responsible parties for post-exposure treatment and follow-up.
  • Occupational Health services should expedite delivery of preventative medications and manage work-related injuries.

Psychological Support and Counselling

Provide support for employees post-exposure, including counselling and psychological support. Baseline and follow-up testing for HIV, HBV, or HCV is recommended.

Maintenance of Current Treatment Guidelines

Designated physicians must stay updated with the latest guidelines in post-exposure treatment, including the use of antiretroviral drugs for HIV and hepatitis B vaccine.

Availability of Expertise

Ensure availability of consultants in relevant medical fields for expert advice. A designated contact should be available outside normal working hours for significant occupational exposures.