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Safe working practices

The following steps will minimise the risk of exposure to blood products and any associated BBV, but not all will be necessary in all situations.

Safe working practices for healthcare workers

Employers should use a task-related approach to applying safe working practices. Levels of protection should be proportionate to the task, and the foreseeable degree of exposure to blood or body fluids. This means that the potential risk of exposure to blood-borne viruses is considered from a range of activities.

Some activities are specifically defined as exposure-prone procedures (EPP) and include major surgery, re obstetrics and gynaecology, cardiothoracic and trauma orthopaedic.  

EPP are associated with a risk of disease transmission from patient to healthcare worker and vice-versa. Emphasis is placed on assessing the exposure-prone nature of procedures, the risk of penetrating injury and the scale of exposure, rather than on attempting to define the risk from any particular individual.

Other activities involve exposure to blood and body fluids but are much lower risk for disease transmission: such as arterial puncture; insertion/removal of intra-arterial lines; and the simple administration of injections. The principles described above are also applicable to other occupations. 

Further Information

Handling incidents/emergency planning

Employers are legally required to make arrangements that deal with emergencies. Emergency plans need to include:

Updated 2013-03-11