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Construction micro-organisms: Blood-borne viruses from needlestick injuries

Construction workers may be exposed to blood-borne viruses (BBV) such as Hepatitis B, C and HIV – eg from needlestick injuries. This page tells you how to control this risk and why. You also need to be aware of the general information on micro-organisms.

What you must do

Follow the Assess, Control and Review model. Pay particular attention to the following things:

Assess

Identify and Assess: The risk of BBV through needlestick injuries is mainly during work on derelict buildings or other areas where drug misuse is known. The risk of infection depends on:

There may also be a risk of tetanus from such incidents. It is better to consider that all needles found could be potentially infected. Therefore, the risk needs to be controlled.

Control

Control: Where BBVs are known / assumed to be present, control this risk by:

Train: Workers need good information about the risks and what they should do if they suffer a needlestick injury.

Review

Supervise: Ensure that controls such as work methods, PPE and welfare are effective and used by the workers.

What you should know

Blood-borne viruses (BBVs) are viruses that some people carry in their blood and can be spread from one person to another. Those infected with a BBV may show little or no symptoms of serious disease, but other infected people may be severely ill. You can become infected with a virus whether the person who infects you appears to be ill or not – indeed, they may be unaware they are ill as some persistent viral infections do not cause symptoms. The most common BBVs are:

Updated 2014-09-11