Everyday, millions of healthcare workers are exposed to bloodborne pathogens.
Working as a medical professional may not seem like a particularly hazardous occupation when compared with others such as firefighters, law enforcers and construction workers. However, it can be a very dangerous occupation due to the wide variety of potential hazards that medical professionals can encounter on a daily basis. Hazards such as diseases, violence from patients, radiation etc. are commonplace. One of the most dangerous hazards in the healthcare industry is that of bloodborne pathogens. To counter this risk, a Bloodborne Pathogen Standard has been set up by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration.
Understanding Bloodborne Pathogens
More than five and a half million healthcare professionals are at risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens every single day. These pathogens are carried in the blood stream and can cause disease. Examples of bloodborne pathogens are Hepatitis, Malaria, HIV, Syphilis and E. Coli. All these diseases can give a wide range of symptoms ranging from diarrhea and vomiting to fatigue and mental decline. Many of the diseases have no known cure and some can cause permanent damage to organs, or even death.
The Bloodborne Pathogen Standard
Employers must have a control plan, and a written copy of this plan must be provided to all employees. The plan must be reviewed annually to take into account changes in working practices. Employees should be instructed to presume all samples contain bloodborne pathogens and act accordingly. All devices that make contact with blood should be disposed of in the correct manner. All employees must be provided with the correct protective clothing and masks. Vaccines should be used where available and hazardous materials must be correctly labeled. Testing should be available for anyone exposed to bloodborne pathogens, as well as follow up tests.
Rights of an Injured or Sick Worker
If a worker becomes ill due to exposure to bloodborne pathogens at work, they are entitled to file a claim for workers compensation. This should cover them for medical tests and any treatment needed. It doesn’t matter if the exposure was due to the employees own error or carelessness. Workers compensation doesn’t take fault into account, so they will still have a case.
Legal Advice to Recover Compensation
If you or a loved one has been sick due to exposure to bloodborne pathogens in the workplace, call the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann today. For over 20 years, our law firm has been helping injured workers get their rightful workers compensation benefits.
Do not let the insurance company deny you your benefits. You should be receiving treatment for ALL of your injuries. Call us today at (314) 361-4300 or fill out our online contact form.