• The bloodborne pathogens (BBP) that are the greatest risk in healthcare are HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C
    • Hepatitis B causes severe liver damage
      • Symptoms include jaundice, fatigue, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, or vomiting; however, about half of those infected show no symptoms
      • Hepatitis B is more easily transmitted than hepatitis C or HIV
      • The hepatitis B vaccine can prevent the disease
    • Hepatitis C causes serious liver disease, and is chronic in about 85% of those infected
      • Up to 75% of people infected with hepatitis C show no symptoms for many years while their livers are being damaged
      • There is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C
    • HIV attacks the immune system
      • Some people infected with HIV will go on to develop AIDS
      • There is no vaccine to prevent HIV
  • Transmission
    • Bloodborne pathogens are spread most easily through contact with blood, but can also spread via other potentially infectious materials (OPIM), including semen and vaginal secretions, cerebrospinal fluid, synovial fluid, pleural fluid, peritoneal fluid, pericardial fluid, amniotic fluid, saliva, non-intact skin or organs from living or dead humans, cell tissue, organ cultures, or other biological matter.
    • At work, you can be exposed to BBP if a contaminated sharp punctures your skin, or blood or OPIM splash your broken skin or mucous membranes


  • Hepatitis B vaccines are safe and effective at protecting you from hepatitis B once the series is complete. The Eye Center will make arrangements for your vaccination.
  • Standard Precautions
    • Treat all human blood and bodily fluids as if they were known to be infectious for BBP
    • Dispose of sharps properly and use sharps safety devices
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
    • Gloves are the most common type of PPE.  Single-use, disposable gloves should only be worn once, then thrown away
      • Gloves are located in a drawer in each exam room and at the tech stations
      • Always change gloves between patients
      • Avoid touching the outside of contaminated gloves
      • Wash your hands after removing gloves
    • PPE also includes masks, goggles, and any other protective equipment meant to protect healthcare workers from bodily fluids
      • Additional PPE is located under the sink in each exam room in a large blue basin
  • Hand hygiene
    • This is your number one protection against infection
    • If your hands are not visibly soiled, you can use an alcohol antiseptic hand rub between patients.  Otherwise, you must wash your hands with soap and water
  • Patients known to have an infectious disease are indicated with a bright yellow sticker on the front of their office chart


  • Sharps containers are located in each exam room and at each tech station
    • Use only for sharps, not trash
    • Do not put your hand into the container
    • Do not overfill or force sharps into the container
    • Once closed, the sharps container cannot be opened again
    • When full and sealed, sharps containers should be taken to the OR for disposal
  • Never re-cap needles
  • Never break, bend, or shear needles or blades
  • Never pass the doctor a syringe needle-first – always hold the syringe portion towards him
  • Never pass the doctor a scalpel blade-first – always hold the handle portion towards him
  • When appropriate, use safety needles and safety blades


  • Immediately wash the exposed skin area, needlesticks and cuts with soap and water.  Flush eyes and exposed mucous membranes with large amounts of clean water.
    • Do not use caustic agents, such as bleach
  • Next, report the exposure to the Clinical Coordinator right away, so that post-exposure evaluation, counseling, and any necessary treatment can begin right away
  • Don't panic.  Most exposures do not lead to infection.



  • Use a large needle to draw up medication
  • Wipe the top of the bottle with an alcohol wipe before drawing up medication
  • Push the same amount of air into the bottle as the amount of medication you need to draw up
  • Gently tap the syringe to remove air bubbles
  • Always change the needle to the doctor’s desired gauge and length.
  • If you open a multi-dose bottle, be sure to check the expiration date, then label the bottle with today’s date and your initials


  • Never leave keys in lasers
  • Never leave patients unattended in laser suite
  • Always wear safety glasses
    • Orange for Argon and SLT
    • Green for YAG
  • Never look directly into the laser beam
  • During laser treatments, the laser suite door must be closed and the appropriate warning sign visible
  • Only trained personnel are allowed in the laser suite during procedures


  • If a chemical is spilled, sprinkle the spill with kitty litter, stored in the supply closet
    • Chemicals include cetylcide, specimen containers, etc.
  • Allow the liquid to absorb, then sweep up the kitty litter and dispose of it in the red bags with the Spill Kit
  • Pregnant women should not be present in a room when a specimen container is opened
  • Keep the lid on the specimen container until the doctor is ready to deposit the specimen, then replace the lid immediately


  • Ask a patient how much assistance is needed before trying to help them
  • Offer your arm to unstable patients when walking down the hall
  • Offer a wheelchair if needed
  • If a patient has low vision, lead them by placing their hand on your shoulder and walking slowly
  • When seating patients, make sure they don’t hold onto the slit lamp arm
  • Hold any chair with wheels when a patient sits down or stands up
  • Always lock wheelchair wheels before a patient transfers into or out of the chair
  • Do not assist a patient beyond your ability – it will result in injury to the patient, yourself, or both of you


  • Do not use chairs with wheels as step-stools – stools can be found in the supply closet or front office
  • SDS information can be found on the bookshelf beside the chart shelving
  • Eye Center Policies and Procedures can be found on the bookshelf beside the chart shelving
  • AED and manual can be found on the bookshelf beside the chart shelving

2019 Infection Control and Safety Training