Support & well-being
Working with Human Blood
(This is an extract from the Blood Borne Virus policy available here)
Currently all staff who work directly with (or are likely to work directly with in the future) human biological material (such as in the Holywell CBE laboratories or SSEHS technicians) shall be offered vaccination against Hepatitis B, where risk assessment indicates that this is necessary. It can be arranged by completing the Hep B screening form and sending to the Occupational Health department. If immunisation is required for work involving NHS patients or work in an NHS hospital an ‘NHS Research Passport’ will be required; researchers must fill in the research passport form and send to Occupational Health along with copies of ALL records of immunisation from their GP/ previous OH department (as appropriate).
Routine vaccination against Hepatitis B is not normally considered necessary by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for First Aiders or Security guards. Protection with gloves, resuscitation devices etc will greatly reduce risk. There are no instances recorded of HIV or Hepatitis B being passed through mouth to mouth resuscitation. ‘Post incident’ procedures are appropriate in these circumstances and advice can be found in the Needlestick injury/ accidental exposure tab.
There is no immunisation available to protect against Hepatitis C and HIV. Therefore, good practice as outlined in the BBV policy should be followed.
Needlestick and accidental exposures
In the event of a Needlestick injury (e.g. penetration of the skin with a used needle) or any other possible exposure to BBV’s (e.g. through blood splash to the eyes, mucous membranes or broken skin such as a Human Bite), the injury site should be washed under running water and (where appropriate) gently encouraged to bleed.
The injured party is then known as the “RECIPIENT”. The source of the blood in the needlestick is known as the “DONOR”.
The “RECIPIENT” MUST then WITHOUT DELAY:
- attend Leicester Royal Infirmary A&E department (24 hrs), and then take A&E Discharge summary back to their GP for follow up*; or
- Attend Campus Medical Centre (9-5 Monday to Friday only - any Staff / non registered person can book in as Emergency patient if required) for treatment, blood sampling and advice (print and take copy of ‘Agreement’ from the BBV policy Appendix C if required)*
- Any injury of this nature must be reported to the Health and Safety department on the University Accident Report Form or by calling 01509 222181 (Occupational Health (OH) will be notified via this process. DO NOT consult OH for treatment advice in the first instance)
*Blood will be taken from the recipient for storage only (i.e. to be tested if infection is later found to have occurred). This is then repeated by the GP at 3 and/or 6 months after the incident to ensure no infection has occurred. This is particularly important if the ‘source’ patient is not known e.g. if the incident is caused by a needle of unknown origin.
If the “DONOR” is known (i.e. a research subject or known assailant) then ideally the donor should be approached and asked for their consent to undergo blood testing. This should be done by the Supervisor/ Manager of the “Recipient”, NOT by the recipient themselves. There is a template Donor blood testing consent letter in the BBV policy at Appendix D for more information. It can be cut/pasted to be edited or printed out as required.
Unfortunately, there is no way the donor can be compelled to provide such a sample.
If the donor is not known, then the treating clinician (GP or A&E doctor) will perform a risk assessment and determine the best course of action.
A needlestick injury is a stressful time for the recipient so tact and diplomacy must be used at all times.
Copies of any letters or correspondence should be sent to Occupational Health. Advice can also be obtained from them about any aspect of this procedure.
(a Printable version of this procedure is available in the BBV policy at Appendix B)