Recommendations aim to prevent bloodborne pathogen exposure among paramedics

NIOSH recently released information (.pdf file) on preventing paramedics' exposure to bloodborne pathogens.

Results of a national survey of the 2,664 paramedics conducted from 2002 to 2003 showed about 22 percent of respondents experienced at least one blood exposure in the previous year, according to NIOSH. Paramedics in California, which implemented a needlestick prevention law several years before a federal one was established, had half the rate of blood exposure. NIOSH found 80 percent of needlesticks involved non-safety devices, and the main factor in employee use of a safety device was whether the employer provided one.

NIOSH recommended paramedics:

  • Follow universal precautions
  • Attend safety training on bloodborne pathogens and other topics
  • Properly dispose of sharps
  • Report all blood exposures
  • Get vaccinated against hepatitis B

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