Controls applicable to exposed occupations
By following COSHH principles, control measures at source should take preference over personal protective equipment. This may mean including physical or mechanical controls to reduce or eliminate the risk of worker exposure.
However, it is not always possible for employers to eliminate the risks posed by BBV in their workplace - many workers are placed in front line roles where mechanical controls are more limited, compared with, for example, the laboratory environment.
Employers are required to adequately control exposure and protective measures. Where possible, contact with blood or body fluids should be avoided and restricted to those with appropriate training in handling these products.
Control measures, along with any necessary adaptation to local circumstances, must also take account of any potential exposure of patients and visiting members of the public, including contractors.
Where appropriate, the personal protective equipment (PPE) required to avoid contamination consists of simple items, such as gloves, goggles or visors and disposable clothing protection, such as plastic aprons.
Industry-specific guidance on PPE is available.
It is vital that employers provide the appropriate equipment for the job. PUWER regulations require that the equipment you provide for use at work is:
- suitable and safe for its intended use;
- used only by people who have received adequate information, instruction and training;
- accompanied by suitable safety measures, eg protective devices, markings and warnings; and
- designed and manufactured in compliance with any essential requirements set down in certain Community Directives regarding the safety of products.