2.3 Principle II: Avoid Contact with Blood

Safe Handling of Sharps

Sharps container. All contaminated disposable sharps must be discarded in a closeable, leak-proof container that is manufactured for that purpose and that is impervious to sharps; the container must either be red or be labeled with the biohazard symbol, or both.1 The container must also be labeled "sharps."1 The sharps container should be placed in a secure location as close to the user as possible.2 Program staff should receive training on the proper handling of sharps and their disposal.2

Sharps should be transported in securely closed containers that are impervious to sharps and labeled with the biohazard warning.

Management and Follow-Up of Occupational Exposure

Program staff must have an exposure-control plan that delineates post-exposure policies and procedures to follow in case of occupational exposure to blood and other potentially infectious matter.1,2 Staff must receive training about these policies and procedures. OSHA has available a sample exposure-control plan.

Programs should have access to up-to-date contact information for parents so that they can quickly obtain informed consent to test a child in case of an occupational exposure. (Throughout these modules, "parents" refers to a child’s parents, guardians, or other caregivers.) If there is a blood exposure, the exposed person (or the health professional involved, if the exposed person is a patient) should immediately report the exposure to the infection-control coordinator. The infection-control coordinator should initiate referral to the program staff member who is qualified to provide post-exposure care, counseling, and follow-up and should complete necessary reports about the exposure.1

If occupational exposure to a communicable disease occurs, the health professional affected should report the incident to his or her employer. The employer should immediately initiate post-exposure procedures, as appropriate, and should keep a detailed exposure report in the exposed employee’s confidential medical record, including circumstances of the exposure, identification of the source individual (unless infeasible or prohibited by law), how the exposure was treated, and other pertinent information.1 OSHA requires that employers ensure that employee medical records are kept confidential and not disclosed without the employee’s written consent.1