Protecting Housekeepers fromHotel Bloodborne Pathogens

Hotel staff meet various risks within the workplace, among them are security, ethical, and health issues. All of these factors affect how they conduct their work. Health issues are a major concern since the staff cannot work well under poor medical conditions.

Hotel bloodborne pathogens are a primary worry when it comes to health issues at work. It is estimated that BPPs are the second leading health risk in the hospitality sectorafter airborne pathogens.

Bloodborne ailments are diseases that spread when a person comes into contact with infected blood or other body fluids. Such pathogens are mostly viruses, such as the hepatitis complexes. Hotel staff suffer exposure to bloodborne pathogens when they encounter infected blood and body fluids because of the nature of their job.

Hotel welfare associations are raising the alarm over the rise of infections among hotel staff that involve blood and other body fluids. Modern hotels have control and action plans that aim at preventing and reducing the exposure of workers to blood pathogens.

Methods and Protocols Hotels Can Implement to Control Staff Bloodborne Pathogens Infections

You canreduce exposure to bloodborne ailments by implementing a well-thought-out exposure control plan and taking protective measures.

The use of personal protective equipment protects a person from exposure to the pathogens in foreign blood. Personal protective equipment includes gloves, absorbent pads, shoe cover, gown, hair mate, safety mask, and face shield.

Here are the precautions that can to help protect hotel staff as they work:

  • Use PPE or personal protective equipment like gloves, shoecover, safety mask, and the breathing barrier.
  • Handle all foreign blood with care
  • Remember to clean and sanitize all potentially contaminated hotel supplies and work surfaces and equipment after use.
  • Do not touch your nose, eyes, or mouth while cleaning or any other sensitive work before thoroughly washing your hands with detergent and clean water.

Proper Disposal of Wastes and Sharps Can Help Lower the Risk of Infections

Hotels should provide a proper mechanism for the disposal of sharps. Sharps include needles, scalpels, knives, and any other material that may cut or wound a person’s skin.

Here is a general guide on how to handle sharps within a hotel setting.

  • Watch out for sharps in hotel waste
  • Develop a strict hotel policy on sharps and needles. Inform all your guests about it.
  • Always handle sharps with care to reduce the risk of getting hotel bloodborne pathogens. If possible, avoid direct contact with sharp object.
  • Always dispose of sharps properly in the designated areas such as a puncture-proof container. Poorly disposed sharps can lead to infection. If possible, set up an incinerator to dispose of sharps
  • Do not touch your nose, eyes, or mouth while handling sharps or after touching sharps. Ensure you thoroughly wash your hands with detergent and clean water and use a hand sanitizer if possible.

Disposal of waste from surface cleanup should be in line within the specifications ofCDCand the U.S Department of Transportation &Hazardous Material Regulation. Hotels should develop clearly defined action plans for the disposal of waste and hazardous materials.

It is also necessary to soak material used and all the personal protective equipment with detergents or a disinfectant to avoid the risk of workers’ exposure to pathogens. Always place Sharp object in a puncture-proof container for safe disposal.

OSHA’s tool kit provides the necessary personal protective equipment. It provides guidelines on how to use them and other requirements.

All employers must comply with OSHA’s bloodborne pathogens standard. This standard helps workers who accidentallyget exposed to blood or other infectious materials.

That said, let’s learn how to deal with different types of bloodstains.

Dealing withBlood in a Hotel Setting

Blood spills can happen when you least expect it. Cuts, bruises, and injuries that lead to spillages. And many times when it happens, housekeepers have to do the cleaning.

But doing away with blood stains can be a daunting task. Apart from the health dangers highlighted above, it is a thick liquid that’s often difficult to clean. Blood has its clotting factors that activate when it is exposed pressure changes and ambient air— when it falls on anything, it sticks!

One must take their time to clean it out entirely because failure to do so may leave stains and pathogens. Such a situation exposes both the staff and clients to hotel bloodborne pathogens.

Before cleaning up blood, all cleaners should remember 4 critical things.

  1. The universal rule of blood. One should always assume that blood is infected because you cannot tell whether it isn’t just by looking at it.
  2. Use the right blood cleaningtools
  3. Wear protective gear and equipment. It is best to keep yourself safe from any possible infections.

Hotels should formulate and implement robust blood cleanup protocols depending on the situation. Here is a comprehensive guide on several blood cleanup guidelines depending on the location of the blood spill.

  1. Blood Stain on a bare floor.

The floor is the most common setting for blood spills. Some of these surfaces include metal, wood, tiles, and any other non-absorbent flooring. It is easier to clean the blood on this surface, but you need to follow some essential steps

Spills on the floor must be dealt with quickly because they can easily spread over a large area. The following are some of the steps one should take while cleaning up blood on hard surfaces.

 1. Put on disposable gloves.

 2. Protect the area until the cleanup is complete. No person should be allowed to access the area.

 3. Use absorbent material to wipe up the place thoroughly to make sure that no blood traces are left

4. Poor or spill some bleach solution to all the contaminated areas.

5. The bleach solution should be allowed to stay in the contaminated areas for about 20 minutes then clean up the remaining bleach solution.

6. All the cleaning materials should be disinfected by saturating with a bleach solution and then allowed to dry.

7. Thoroughly wash hands with soap and water.

But what if the blood spill occurs on a carpet?

  • Cleaning a blood stain from a carpeted Floor.

Carpeted floors usually are absorbent and tend to soak up any blood spills. For that reason, it is difficult to clean up blood spills on such floors.

It is also difficult to disinfect carpets completely, so the best option is sanitizing as thoroughly as possible. 

Cleaning blood on carpeted areas is the same as cleaning other areas, but there are some additional concerns:

  1.  One should work quickly since blood or other body fluids harden faster on carpeting
  2. Use the manufacturer-approved carpet shampoo and cleaners. The shampoo and cleaners contain antimicrobial properties which help to sanitize the area thoroughly. This procedure should reoccur several times to make sure that bloodstains do not stick to the porous nature of the carpet.
  3. Steam clean the carpet. Such shampoos also assist in cleaning and sanitizing the carpet better.
  4. If an area becomes heavily soiled with blood, carpet tiles can be removed and replaced with others to protect exposure to bloodborne pathogens to staff and clients.

Here’s the procedure to clean up blood on a carpeted area.

  1. Remember to wear your disposable gloves. No work should occur without PPE—it puts you in danger of being infected with hotel bloodborne pathogens.
  2. Protect the affected area by surrounding the area with absorbent material. In essence, this helps in avoiding the spread of blood to neighboring areas.
  3. Spray the affected area with carpet detergent to kill the surviving pathogens. Allow the disinfectant to work for about ten minutes.
  4. Use a wet vacuum to remove the absorbent fluids from the carpet. Repeat the process several times (2-4)but remember to prevent the fluids from spreading beyond the initial area
  5. Saturate the carpet with an appropriate disinfectant. Allow it to stay like ten for the disinfectant to work thoroughly on the stains. Repeat the procedure several times (2-4).
  6. Dry the area thoroughly with a rag to remove all the moisture then place a fan near the area to make sure the area is completely dry.
  7. Properly dispose of the rags and other disposable material. Finally, clean and disinfect all equipment used during the spill cleanup.
  • Blood stain on the outdoor.

Outdoor blood spills are more difficult to clean. The best way is to relocate the outdoor activity that caused the exposure and then block the affected area. 

The area should be disinfected with the right detergent and then thoroughly cleaned up with water. It is always essential to prevent the blood in the affected area from spreading. 

Always wear protective gear and dispose-off the disposable materials correctly after cleanup.

  • Blood Stain on Furniture.

Blood spill on furniture is difficult to clean. It is essential to clean blood spills as fast as possible so that the blood doesn’t harden on the furniture.

 Cloth furniture needs more treatment than wood or metal furniture.  The best way to deal with a cloth furniture spill is to remove the cloth covering on the furniture. If the cloth is not removable, the only option is to disinfect the affected area and leave it for minutes for the disinfectant to work, then repeat the procedure several times(2-4). 

Blood spills on wood and metal furniture are not as challenging to clean. Hotel Blood-borne pathogens are still a threat even on the wooden and metal furniture; therefore, you need extra care when conducting the cleaning. Metals, wood, and other non-porous furniture should be cleaned just like blood spills on non-carpeted surfaces.

  • Spills on Pools.

Adequately maintained pools contain enough chlorine to kill the pathogens. When blood spills occur in the pool, no significant action is required. Hotel staff only need to take care of the injured person and prevent the blood spill from spreading.

Outsource Duties to a Blood Cleaning Service.

Hotel managers must not expose their staff to potentially infectious blood spills. Cleaning blood doesn’t always have to be painful and tiresome.

Hotels can simply outsource duties to a blood cleaning service. Identifying a nearby service andlearning costs upfront can help get you ready for any unanticipated scenarios.

Blood cleaning services are your best option if you have untrained hotel staff who cannot effectively deal with blood spills.

3 Common Bloodborne PathogensHotel Workers Encounter During Work

Hotel bloodborne pathogens that arise in most cases are Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and HIV. Here is an overview of these ailments that may spread as a result of coming in contact with infected blood.

Hepatitis B.

Hep Bis a deadly infection that affects the liver. It is a viral disease that can be passed from one person to the next.

Chronic infections can cause sever liver problems and threaten an individual’s life. The cause of death can be cirrhosis or liver cancer.

Hepatitis B Transmission.

One of the most common ways HBV spreads is through mother-child transmission during birth. This infection can also be transmitted or spread in many other ways such as tattooing or piercings, needle stick injury, or even exposure to infected body fluids. Such fluids are saliva, vaginal, seminal, or even menstrual fluids.

Many infection transmissions occur through sexual contact. Studies show that chronic hepatitis that happen in adulthood is less than 5%—and 95% of the cases happen during infancy or early stages of childhood. 

The reuse of needles among drug addicts who share needles is also another cause of infection.

Also, hepatitis infections can spread during dental and surgical procedures, tattooing, and the use of sharp objects that have been tainted with infectious blood.

This type of infection can survive out of the body for about seven days. At this time, the infections are still capable of entering the body of a person who comes into contact with it. Therefore, there is a need for people to undergo vaccination to prevent Hep B infections.

Identification of Hep B can happen after thirty days to sixty days from the time of infection. Those are the best days for detection since this virus incubates for around seventy days or vary between thirty to a hundred and eighty days. If the infections are not detected early enough, they lead to chronic hepatitis B.

HBV Symptoms.

Symptoms don’t start showing off immediately after someone is infected. After a period of incubation, several symptoms start showing up. It critical to note that infections vary from one individual to the next.

Still, some victims start experiencing a few symptoms such as eyes turning yellow, fatigue, and urine that turns dark, among others. Others experience acute failure of the liver, and in most cases, the disease is fatal.

Prevention.

To stay safe from Hep, get the hepatitis B vaccine. Check out with your doctor to confirm your vaccination history.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus.

HIV is a virus that affects the human immune system— the system that helps your body fight infections. 

When HIV goes uncontrolled, it can begin to kill immune cells (the T and CD4 cells). The most affected cells are the CD4 cells. It makes the body to be venerable to many infections. 

When HIV worsens to advance stages, it leads to a more serious medical condition known as acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). And when AIDsbegin, the body becomes frail and unable to fight infections as well as diseases.

AIDS became more critical that if one went untreated for three years, death was imminent. Medical practitioners advanced however have developed ways to deal with this situation through antiretroviral (ARVs) drugs. ARVs prolong life expectancy after HIV infection.

Symptoms.

A person with HIV can last several years without knowing unless they get tested.

Some of the symptoms that appear are called non-specific symptoms. These are symptoms that do not indicate specific conditions.

Such symptoms include fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, skin rashes, pneumonia, recurrent fevers among others

Treatment.

When one gets tested, and the results are positive, treatments should begin immediately. The use of antiretroviral (ARVs) drugs is the main form of treatment for this condition.

ARVs are daily medications to help to boost CD4 cells by keeping them immune system stronger and empowering it to fight diseases.

It also reduces the chances of HIV infection progressing to AIDS. Furthermore, the treatment can reduce the chances of transmitting infections to others.

Medical researchers are still looking for ways to develop a vaccine that can reduce or stop the transmission of the virus. But individual steps and principles can reduce the rate of infection.

For instance, a person can choose to practice safe sex and avoid sharing of sharp objects, or any other risk factors that can lead to infection.

Hepatitis C

This type of disease causes infections and leads to liver inflammation. When a person gets a hepatitis C viral infection, the disease begins to develop within them.

Symptoms.

It begins showing symptoms two to six weeks incubation. Researches show that about 80% of all the people infected with this virus do not show any symptoms.

Those who exhibit signs include high fever, low appetite vomiting, and pain in their abdomen. Other sign ranges from nausea, pain in the joints, skin turning yellow,dark urine, among others.

Prevention.

Unlike Hepatitis B, we don’t have a vaccine for this condition.  Therefore, the best way to prevent it is by avoiding risks that would expose one to the virus.

Training Staff Can Help Control the Spread Of Hotel Blood-Borne Pathogens.

Traininghotel staff on how to handle potentially hazardous situations is essential in keeping infections on the low. BPP-qualifiedstaff can handle, disinfect, or professionally dispose of any infected material.

Hotels should create bloodborne pathogen awareness and teach employees to handle potentially infectious blood pathogens

The American Academy of CPR and First Aid Inc. offers a complete online course on BBP. This free-of-charge web-based course trains how to handle blood safely and the precautions to create awareness and reduce exposure. What’s more, you can get a certificate for a small charge upon completing a simple test.

Because everyone is at risk of exposure to these pathogens, this course is not only for medics and nurses. In a world where accidents are inevitable, anybody can be a first-responder. And that can work better if we have more people training on first aid and bloodborne infections.

American Academy’s bloodborne pathogens training provides knowledge about common Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP), general precautions for handling human blood products, the processes and procedures for dealing with exposure to blood, how to identify hazardous organisms, and how to limit your risk of exposure. Also included are procedures on how to handle equipment used in drawing and storing blood. Finally, it also contains the basics of what BBPs are, how they affect the body, and the risks they can pose. 

Combining first aid training with a bloodborne infections course helps to ensure that your staff can handle any medical emergency that may arise. Learning how to handle blood and dispose of waste can help control infections, especially during outbreaks of highly infectious diseases.

Online training of hotel staff is also a creative way of ensuring your staff undergoes training regardless of their busy schedule. Staff can log in and take classes even if they are in a remote location.

In A Few Words.

Hotel bloodborne pathogens are a significant worry for any housekeepers. Bloodborne pathogens can infect the staff as they carry out routine tasks such as cleaning of rooms. The best way to deal with blood-based infections is to ensure that your hotel workforce undergoes adequate training on how to handle and dispose of the potentially infectious matter within a hotel.