Workers in all industries can find themselves in situations in which they are exposed to bloodborne pathogens. However, health care workers, first responders and housekeepers in San Diego’s hospitality industry are at the highest risk. Bloodborne pathogens are microorganisms that could be present in human blood, and they could cause infections.
Needlestick injuries or punctures from other sharp objects that might contain human blood can cause various infections, of which the most prevalent include hepatitis B and C viruses as well as the human immunodeficiency virus, HIV. Employers must provide proper disposal units for sharp objects. Workers must be equipped with the necessary personal protective equipment for any incidents in which they might be exposed to bloodborne pathogens.
Along with the threat of puncture wounds come the risks posed by bodily fluids other than blood. Infection can occur when microorganisms in bodily fluids enter the body through broken skin, inhalation or ingestion or even if the fluids should splash into the eyes of a worker. These fluids can include urine, vomit, saliva, mucus and more.
Just like any other workplace injuries suffered by workers in San Diego, the state-regulated insurance program covers work-related illnesses and infections. The California workers’ compensation system allows workers who incurred medical expenses and lost work time to file benefits claims for financial assistance. An attorney with experience in this field of the law can provide valuable support and guidance throughout the legal and administrative proceedings of the benefits claims process. Medical expenses are usually paid immediately, while a wage-replacement package is paid after a specific number of lost workdays.