Injuries exposed to blood or body fluids have a risk of blood borne virus (BBV).
These include injuries from:
- needle sticks
- sharps (for example, scalpel injury during surgery)
- human bite
- broken skin exposure
- mucous membrane exposure
BBV infections include:
- hepatitis B (HBV)
- hepatitis C (HCV)
- human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
These infections can cause long-term health effects.
What to do if you have been exposed to BBV
If you have been exposed to a BBV you must report the incident to your manager. You should follow local procedures immediately. Getting an early assessment of the incident improves your treatment outcome.
You should contact your local occupational health service. If the incident happens out-of-hours, you should attend the emergency department.
A risk assessment of the incident will be carried out. Treatment or advice will be given based on this risk assessment.
Treatment and blood tests will be followed up confidentially by occupational health. You will be advised on fitness to work. A referral to appropriate services will be made, where necessary.
Managing and preparing needles and sharp instruments
Properly managing needles and sharp instruments reduces the risk of injury.
Managers must put measures in place to manage incidents.
These measures include:
- ensuring staff are aware of local procedures
- providing appropriate equipment and adequate training
- ensuring appropriate action after an incident
Managing a potential Blood Borne Virus (BBV) exposure
Service areas must have local procedures to follow in case of an incident of BBV.
Local procedures for managing should include:
- employee, manager, source patient, medical team and occupational health responsibilities
- name and contact details for the manager of the service
- occupational health department details
- emergency department details
Procedures should be based on the Emergency Management of Injuries (EMI) guidelines and toolkit - see the EMI Guidelines website