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OSHA, bloodborne pathogens and health care workers

Countless New Jersey residents work hard in the health care industry. Their labor allows other people to live safe, healthy lives -- or even to live at all. For health care workers, though, every day can be a new set of challenges. Some of these challenges involve potential exposure to diseases with serious or even deadly results. A workers' compensation attorney can help a victim of occupational disease navigate the legal process of seeking compensation.

For health care workers, there is a particular danger of bloodborne pathogens, or microorganisms within human blood that can cause serious infections. These include HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. For health care workers, the potential for getting infected with a bloodborne pathogen is acute due to the threat of needlesticks. Since health care workers routinely deal with needles that have gone into a patient's blood, it is vitally important for their employers to have a prevention plan in place.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, commonly known as OSHA, an employer's plan should include proper personal protective equipment, work practice controls, engineering controls, vaccinations for Heptatitis B and, of course, thorough and appropriate employee training. If any of these are overlooked, a health care worker could end up with a serious infection. Health and safety violations are taken seriously by OSHA and can be even more important if a worker ends up injured or infected.

Workers in New Jersey have important rights when it comes to a safe and healthy workplace. Sadly, many health care workers are overworked and doing everything they can just to get through each day. A workplace accident or occupational disease can happen to anyone, though. When an incident occurs, it may be time to secure a workers' compensation attorney. He or she can fight for the rights of the injured or infected worker as they pursue a New Jersey workers' compensation claim.

Source: OSHA, "Bloodborne Pathogens and Needlestick Prevention," accessed Nov. 25, 2016

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