OSHA Training and Universal Precautions
When you hear the words Universal Precautions, what comes to mind? Well, if you’ve been through any type of OSHA training, you’ve most likely heard some variation of this: Universal Precautions is an approach to infection control to treat all human blood and certain human body fluids as if they were known to be infectious for HIV, HBV and other blood-borne pathogens (BBP).
If you work in the medical field, what this means for you is avoiding contact with patients’ bodily fluids by wearing equipment such as medical gloves, goggles, and face shields. For most other industries, Universal Precautions comes down to this: if it’s wet and not yours, don’t touch it. This may sound basic, and a little gross, but it lays out how to best protect yourself from blood borne pathogens. Now, sometimes you may have to come in contact with potentially infectious substances such as bodily fluid. In these instances, you should wear equipment such as gloves and maybe even a respirator mask. This equipment is commonly referred to as Personal Protective Equipment or PPE for short. In other industries, PPE includes hard hats, harnesses, earmuffs, boots and even safety vests.
Universal Precautions and the Coronavirus
Don’t get me wrong this approach to combating infectious disease has been around for about 30 years now. It should always receive special attention because it keeps you healthy. It also helps stop the spread of viruses and diseases. As we continue to experience the Coronavirus pandemic, it’s important to highlight Universal Precautions. You undoubtedly have seen on TV or heard on the radio the importance of hand-washing and the need for PPE such as gloves and masks. Another important directive we’ve all heard is social distancing. It’s a fairly easy way to lower your risk of contracting and/or spreading the virus. For most of us who aren’t working in the medical field, avoiding exposure in the first place is the best line of defense. Universal Precautions has always promoted that fact. In many ways, the use of PPE when necessary and social distancing protocols follow Universal Precautions.
Protecting Yourself Is More Important Than Ever
Avatar exists to make the world a safer place. Although much of what we do focuses on defensive driver training and reducing accidents and injuries, we’ve created quite a few training programs focused on BBP, PPE and Universal Precautions. We realize that now, more than ever, it’s important to follow the simple guidelines set forth by OSHA, the CDC and other organizations and health professionals looking to make us safer and healthier.
Hopefully, you’ve been following the advice and guidelines of medical professionals and your local government. The sooner everyone does their part, the sooner we flatten the curve. Universal Precautions is more important now than ever. You may have been introduced to it during a boring OSHA training. It may be a poster in your workplace that by now has become wallpaper. Regardless of how you first learned about Universal Precautions, taking the few simple steps it lays out can do a lot of good for you, your coworkers, your family and your community.