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Personal Protective Equipment

Introduction

All workplaces have their potential hazards. Building design, engineering and administrative controls can minimize the number and types of hazards that may be encountered. Each person working with the Veterinary Health Complex must take personal responsibility for assessing the potential need for using personal protective equipment to reduce the risk of potential exposure to physical, infectious or chemical hazards that may be encountered during their work-day. Each of us is responsible not only for ourselves but for identifying and removing hazards that may pose a risk to our work-place colleagues. The following guidelines are provided to help identify when a hazard exists and what type of personal protective equipment can be used to mitigate the hazard.

Hazard Identification

Definition: A hazard is considered to be a source of potential injury, or other adverse health effect.

The list of potential hazards encountered in the Veterinary Teaching Complex and all veterinary clinics is rather lengthy and may reflect risks posed both by animal contact, as well as the instruments and supplies required for patient care and facilities maintenance. These hazards take many forms: chemical, biological, physical, ergonomic, noise, psychosocial and lapses of adherence to safety standards.

A few examples: Bite injuries, needle sticks, contact with corrosive disinfectants or solvents, mucous membrane exposure to infectious zoonotic agents, exposure to mutagenic drugs, falls and lifting injuries.

Efforts should focus on preventing personal exposure, and appropriately responding to whatever hazard is identified.

Steps that Should be Taken To Prevent and Respond to Work-place Hazards

  • Pause and plan what you do before you do it, consider potential health risks and what type of protective action is needed before you begin
  • Select appropriate personal protective equipment and wear it correctly
  • Avoid touching mucous membranes, and surfaces when wearing PPE
    • Remove gloves and wash hands before handling objects (e.g. door knobs, medical records, phones, pens, and notebooks ) after handling suspect animals or specimens.
  • Don’t engage in any procedure for which you have personal safety concerns without first discussing them with your supervisor.
  • Immediately mitigate potential hazards (e.g. wiping up spills), contact technician supervisor for hazards that cannot immediately be eliminated.
  • Seek emergency medical attention when needed.
  • Report injuries to your supervisor and complete the needed forms.

General Communication

  • When a hazard is identified, inform the senior clinician, and technician supervisor assigned to the patient, who will contact the Director of Clinical Services.
  • Place an appropriate sign on the door, cage or run to inform others of the potential hazard.

Handling Animals with Potential Zoonotic Infection

Personal Protective equipment

  • Select the appropriate personal protective equipment to mitigate the risk of exposure
  • All zoonoses: Wear gloves
  • Zoonoses requiring: Gloves, Mask, Face Shield and Gown
    • Avian influenza
    • Leptosporira infections
    • Mycobacterium infections-even when aspirating internal lesions
    • Brucella-draining wounds, aspiration of internal lesions
  • Hands must be washed after handling the animal and after glove removal.
  • Have the training needed to use PPE correctly:
    • See posters available in all patient care areas and see a technician for training.

Handling Potential Chemical-related Work-place Hazards

  • Know the hazards associated with a chemical (e.g. disinfectant) before using the chemical. Access Material Safety Data Sheets for the Chemical before using the chemical.
  • Wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment
  • Avoid touching mucous membranes and objects in the work-place
  • Never mix chemicals

Personal Protective equipment

  • All chemical hazards: Wear gloves
  • Wear gloves, eye protection and face shield as needed when fumes or dusts may contact mucous membranes.
  • Wear gowns, or jumpsuits when needed to protect clothing, arms and legs.
  • Disinfectants in common use in the Veterinary Health Complex

Quaternary ammonia compounds

  • Gloves when using dilutions for surface disinfection
  • Gloves and goggles when diluting concentrated solutions.

Accelerated hydrogen peroxide compounds

  • Gloves when using dilutions for surface disinfection
  • Gloves and goggles when diluting concentrated solutions.
  • gloves and goggles when handling concentrate

Specimen labeling, handling and reporting

  • All specimens obtained from an animal with a potential zoonotic infection must be labeled with an appropriate biohazard disease risk sticker.
  • Wear gloves, and face mask or face shield when preparing slides or other preparations from tissue aspirates
  • Wear gloves when processing tissue specimens in the laboratory and use a Biosafety cabinet when handling specimens that may pose a risk of zoonotic infection
  • Wash hands after removing gloves