Infection control precautions are the first line of defense to protect workers from hepatitis B and other blood-borne diseases. For this reason, the Laboratory Centre for Disease Controlat Health Canada developed a uniform approach called "routine practices"
The purpose of routine practices is to prevent exposure to blood-borne diseases transmitted by needle stick accidents orfluid contact with an open wound, non-intact skin, or mucous membranes. Routine practices are to be used in conjunction with other control measures. An example is washing hands whenever gloves are removedor whenever the skin contacts potentially infectious fluids.
Routine practices recommend the use of engineering controls, safe work practices, and personal protective equipment to suit the specifictask and workplace.
Engineering controls include the use of equipment to isolate or contain the hazard, such as puncture-resistant containers for disposing of used sharps, or biological cabinets forcertain procedures in laboratories.
Personal protective equipment provides a barrier to blood and certain body fluids. Equipment recommended by routine practices include:
• gloves to protect thehands and skin
• masks and eye protection together or a face shield to protect mucous membranes of the eye, nose and mouth in any situation where splashes of blood or body fluids may occur• aprons to protect clothing from splashes with blood, or gowns if large quantities of blood are present or anticipated
Hepatitis B vaccines are licensed in Canada. They provide safe,reliable protection from hepatitis B when used either before or immediately after exposure to the virus. Tests show 90 to 95 percent of vaccinations of healthy people result in the development ofresistance against hepatitis B. At present, vaccination is the surest way to avoid acquiring hepatitis B as an occupational disease.
Side effects are usually mild with soreness at the injection site...
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