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Blood-borne Pathogens Procedures

Section 1 - Purpose and Scope

(1) These Procedures are intended to give effect to the uniform implementation of the Blood-borne Pathogens Policy.

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Section 2 - Procedures

Procedures for Handling Body Fluids and Tissues

(2) Any research based educational activity that requires students to deal with human body fluids should have prior approval from the University's Human Research Ethics Committee.

(3) Employees or post-graduate students who plan to collect human blood for the purpose of research, must complete an accredited course in blood collection. Blood collection devices that minimise risk of contact with blood must be used at all times. Standard precautions must be followed wherever there is a risk of contact with human blood or body fluids.

(4) All body fluids and tissues should be handled as if they are infectious. Whenever possible, students should use their own blood or body fluids during laboratory classes. However, if outside sources of human blood or tissue are required, they should be screened for the presence of infectious diseases prior to use in class.

(5) All employees and students must wash their hands before wearing and after removing gloves. This is to ensure that viruses that are able to penetrate gloves due to their size do not further contaminate the user.

(6) All participants in laboratories that deal with human body fluids and sharps must wear enclosed footwear, gloves, eye protection and lab coats.

(7) People (not necessarily in a laboratory) who may come into contact with body fluids in the course of their work must wear the personal protective equipment described above.

(8) Sharps should be disposed of by the person who used them, immediately after use into a container at the site of use. Sharps should not be carried from an area of use to a different area for disposal.

(9) To prevent cross-infection, all disposable equipment supplied is for single use only.

(10) Any waste materials contaminated with body fluids or tissues should be disposed of in a contaminated waste container.

(11) Each laboratory must display and provide printed guidelines on Biohazard Safety.

Incidents Involving Exposure

Exposure to Body Fluids

(12) In the event that human body fluids come in contact with another person's mucous membranes or a break in the skin, the affected area should be rinsed immediately with water or saline (see Blood and Body Fluid (BBF) Exposure Action Plan). The affected person should immediately attend their medical officer for appropriate testing, prophylactic therapy and monitoring. An Incident, Accident and Hazard Report must be completed.

Needle-stick Injuries

(13) If a needle-stick injury has occurred, the affected person should:

  1. immediately wash the site with soap and water;
  2. report the incident to the First Aid Officer; and
  3. attend a doctor's surgery immediately to have a blood test, which will confirm their antibody status at the time of the injury;
  4. complete an Incident, Accident and Hazard Report; and.
  5. have a follow-up blood test after the recommended time period to determine if they have contracted a disease. [In some instances, prophylactic therapy may reduce the risk of contracting a blood-borne infectious illness. It is imperative that the affected person attends a doctor's surgery within hours of an exposure to ensure that they are eligible for this option.]

(14) Counselling will be provided to employees and students both pre-testing and post-testing, especially when a positive result is likely or is returned. The University will provide contact details of Department of Health and Aged Care resources and other support services that provide testing and counselling by professionally trained counsellors who work with infected individuals.

Managing Spills

(15) The basic principles to be followed are:

  1. standard precautions apply where there is a risk of contact with blood or body substances;
  2. spills should be cleaned up before the area is disinfected; and
  3. aerosolation of spilled material should be avoided.

Managing spills of blood or body substances

(16) Spot Cleaning - Wear disposable cleaning gloves and wipe up spot immediately with a damp cloth, tissue or paper towel. Discard contaminated materials to contaminated waste bin. Wash hands.

(17) Small Spills (up to 10 cm diameter) - Wear disposable cleaning gloves. Eyewear and plastic apron should be worn where there is a risk of splashing occurring. Wipe up spill immediately with absorbent material e.g. paper hand towelling. Place contaminated absorbent material into contaminated waste bin. Clean the area with warm water and detergent, using disposable cleaning cloth or sponge. Where contact with bare skin is likely disinfect area by wiping with suitable disinfectant, such as bleach, and allow to dry. Discard contaminated materials to contaminated waste bin. Wash hands.

(18) Large Spills (greater than 10 cm diameter) - Contact Facilities for cleaning materials and equipment. Wear disposable gloves, eyewear, mask and plastic apron. Cover area of the spill with granular disinfectant and leave for time specified on formulation and labelling instructions. Use 'Infectious Waste Clean-up Kit' placing all contaminated items into impervious container or plastic bag for disposal. Wipe area with absorbent material to remove any residue and place in contaminated waste bin. Discard contaminated materials (Infectious Waste Clean-up Kit) to contaminated waste bin. Clean the area with warm water and detergent, using disposable cleaning cloth or sponge. Where contact with bare skin is likely disinfect area by wiping with suitable disinfectant and allow to dry. Discard contaminated materials to contaminated waste bin. Wash hands.

(19) The Infectious Waste Clean-up kit should contain:

  1. mop and bucket
  2. contaminated waste bags
  3. scraper and pan for spills
  4. 5 sachets of granular formulation containing 10,000 ppm chlorine
  5. disposable rubber gloves
  6. eye protection
  7. plastic apron
  8. face mask