A Brief Guide to Working with Hazardous Materials in a Healthcare Environment

It is both ironic and unavoidable that the very place that people come to get treated for their illnesses is also the place that harbors the largest variety of pathogens and parasites.

More than the patients themselves, who are isolated in comparatively protected environments, it’s a cause for worry if you happen to be a doctor, nurse, lab worker, janitor, cleaner or any other healthcare worker.

Janitors and Other Waste Disposal Staff: Take Your Precautions Seriously

When a patient suffering from a deadly bacterial infection vomits, janitors are the ones who have to clean it up. The cleaning crew in a hospital plays an extremely important role, and yet, they are the least aware of the possible personal protection measures that they could be taking to prevent themselves from being infected by the feces, urine, vomit, blood, mucous and everything else that they come into contact with on a regular basis. The following protective measures are, therefore, a must:

  • Wearing thick, FDA approved gloves, masks and boots.
  • Wearing a plastic apron, hairnet, long sleeved shirt and trousers.

Don’t Ignore the Importance of PPE: It’s Your Life

Ideally, the hospital should have biohazard spill cleanup kits, blood spill-pathogen killers, protective masks, aprons, boots and gloves stocked and ready to be used at all times. Your safety is the hospital authority’s responsibility, so they are legally bound to provide you with the personal protective equipment.

However, that may not always be the situation, and you should consider whether you want to risk your own wellbeing and maybe even your life based on their shortcomings? Also, if you are a doctor or a nurse, you may simply have to deal with unforeseen situations, even outside the clinic or hospital. In this case, the employer can’t be held responsible for any disease that you may contract. Bloodborne pathogens training is important in understanding that BBPs are “pathogenic microorganisms that are present in human blood and can cause disease in humans”.

MFASCO biohazard cleanup and protection kits are the perfect solution in both situations, and any medical professional or cleanup crew working in the sector should at least have access to these basic protection kits at all times during their shifts or even at home. MFASCO PPE biohazard disposal/protection kits are also ideal for any home that is housing a critical patient surviving on in-home care. 

Immunizations are a Necessity

This should be standard procedure, but just in case you are not protected from the diseases that can be immunized against, it’s time to change that as soon as possible. Hepatitis B, influenza, chickenpox and diphtheria are just some of the many immunizations that CDC recommends for healthcare workers, so do check out their page to make sure you have them all.

It is easy to forget that a healthcare worker could just as well become the patient if they are not careful, and being careful during every second of the job is not easy.However, given that 99,000+ people, including healthcare workers and patients, die from hospital borne diseases in the US every year, that’s nothing to take lightly. While certain things just can’t be avoided, these few reminders about personal safety and protection should keep you safe from the majority of hospital borne diseases.