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Selected Category: Bloodborne pathogens

Does your workplace culture help protect you from hepatitis?

Categories: Bloodborne pathogens, Emergency Response/Public Sector, Health care, Women

May 19, 2013, is Hepatitis Testing Day. Health care workers are at risk of contracting hepatitis B and C in the workplace. Doctors, nurses, and other staff are predominately exposed to these devastating diseases through needle sticks and other sharps injuries or when fluids from patients splash onto their eyes, nose, or mouth. Hepatitis B and C are life-changing infections, but they can be avoided in many cases. Improved processes and safer equipment are essential. The procedures and equipment used are a reflection of an organization’s safety culture.

A strong safety culture demonstrates a high level of commitment from both managers and employees to a healthy work environment.

What does your workplace do to support a safe work environment? What practices seem to be most effective? Do you do anything innovative at your organization to influence attitudes and behaviors related to safety?

Women’s Health at Work

Categories: Bloodborne pathogens, Cancer, Chemicals, Construction, Health care, Personal Protective Equipment, Service Sector, Stress, Transportation, Violence, Wholesale and Retail Trade, Women


This week is Women’s Health Week. With over 58% of U.S. women in the labor force[i], the workplace must be considered when looking at women’s overall health.   We must keep in mind that susceptibility to hazards can be different for men and women.  Additionally, women face different workplace health challenges than men partly because men and women tend to have different kinds of jobs. Women generally have more work-related cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, respiratory diseases, infectious diseases, and anxiety and stress disorders.  Social, economic, and cultural factors also put women at risk for injury and illness.  While workplace exposures can affect both male and female reproduction, issues related to reproduction and pregnancy are of particular concern to women.  Below you will find summaries, with links to more research, of some hazards faced by women in the workplace as well as links to industry-specific research from NIOSH  that relates to women.   More information is available on the NIOSH topic page Women’s Safety and Health Issues at Work.

Puncture: Exposure for Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure

Categories: Bloodborne pathogens, Health care, Women

a row of hyperdermic needlesA dedicated and hard-working nurse is going through a normal shift. Checking vital signs, updating medical records, administering medications, comforting patients, drawing blood samples, inserting IVs, and then OUCH! What just happened? Is that a red dot underneath the glove? This can’t be right…

This scenario has unfolded thousands of times among health care workers, often with tragic results. The CDC estimates that about 385,000 sharps-related injuries occur annually among health care workers in hospitals—with nurses the most affected healthcare occupation. The average risk of bloodborne infection following one of these all-too-common injuries is approximately 1.8%. While the numbers are appalling, the most harrowing costs emerge in the stories of the individuals affected.

One such story has been protrayed in the film Puncture.

Safety and Health for Tattooists and Piercers

Categories: Bloodborne pathogens

woman with neck tattoosTattooists and piercers work in an industry that is unique in opportunities and challenges. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) began visiting tattooing and piercing studios in the 1990s in response to workplace safety and health concerns raised by artists in the industry. Based on these visits and interviews with artists, we found many had concerns about exposures to blood and bloodborne diseases. As a result, we created the NIOSH Body Art Topic Page in 2007 in an effort to clarify how bloodborne pathogen rules and regulations apply to these workers and how artists can lower their risk of contact with blood.

We would like to better meet the needs of tattooists and piercers by addressing other problems or topics of concern among body artists.

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