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Post-Exposure Screening for Blood-Borne Pathogens

 

Post-Exposure Screening for Blood-Borne Pathogens

Some employees, especially health care workers, are at increased risk of xposure to blood-borne pathogens and needlestick injuries, which occurs when the skin is accidentally punctured by a used needle. Blood-borne diseases that could be transmitted by such an injury include human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV)

Important:

The purpose of this site is not to provide advice in the event of a needle stick injury.

If you have experienced a needlestick injury, please:

  • Wash the wound with soap and water for 3-5 minutes.
  • If soap and water aren’t available, use alcohol-based hand rubs or solutions.
  • If you are at work, notify your supervisor or occupational health and safety officer.
  • Go straight to your doctor, or to the nearest hospital emergency department.

Exposure to blood-borne pathogens (BBP) poses a serious risk to employees in health care settings.  While many employers have well-developed and contemporary procedures for the immediate management of employees who are exposed to blood and body fluids, two of the challenges that employers often experience is:

  1. Ensuring that employees continue to receive appropriate screening and care for the full period of follow-up; and
  2. Receiving, recording and interpreting the information and records from this follow-up.

To assist with this, VaxWorks are able to provide a support program aimed at ensuring this follow-up occurs.

Employees would be advised to attend a medical centre or hospital for immediate screening and commencement of any necessary treatment as per the standard advice above.  On notification, VaxWorks would send a letter to your staff member to give to their treating doctor as well as a release form (to ensure that the appropriate test results and medical records were provided to VaxWorks and the employer.   As these incidents would be considered workplace injuries, it is assumed that the cost of care would be borne by the employer’s workers compensation insurer.  

VaxWorks would also maintain a record of the test results and care provided (or follow-up with the provider if this information has not been provided) and provide reminders to the employee to attend follow-up appointments.  Records from subsequent appointments would also be recorded prior to the closure of the incident after all of the appropriate care has been provided to the employee.

Furthermore, VaxWorks would notify relevant areas within your company (eg risk managers) of the incident so actions can be taken to reduce the risk of future incidents occurring.