Use these five simple steps to create an HIV risk management system for your workplace

Ashley Churchyard, Fsp Business, 04 Nov. 2014

Tags: hiv in the workplace, hiv at work, hiv risk management system, dealing with hiv in the workplace, how to avoid hiv

HIV and AIDS are a serious problem worldwide, but even more so in South Africa. We have one of the highest HIV infection rates in the world.

That’s why it’s imperative you protect your employees from this disease.

And that’s where creating an HIV risk management system comes in. It will help ensure your employees don’t pick up the infection at work.

Here’s how you can do this in just five steps…


Create an HIV risk management system in just five steps

Step #1: Identify employees at risk
Identify all the positions and employees who are at potential risk of contracting HIV through exposure to bodily fluid of infected employees in your company. This will include:
Health workers;
Emergency officers;
Security officers;
First aid trained employees; and
Laboratory workers who work with infected bodily fluids;
Step #2: Determine the potential risk of exposure
Keep the following four factors in mind. (they’ll affect the amount of risk your employees have exposure to at work):
1. The type of industry;
2. The geographical environment of your company;
3. The demographics of the employee population; and
4. The type of injury or exposure.
Step #3: Protect your employees against accidental exposure
You must ensure your first aid boxes are always fully equipped to the standard prescribed by law. 
By doing this, you ensure your exposed employees have access to adequate protection (like gloves) in case of a bodily fluid spill at work.
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Step #4: Manage accidental exposure episodes
Train all high-risk employees in the first-aid measures necessary after exposure to blood and other bodily fluids/ For example, tell them:
They must allow needlestick injuries and cuts to bleed freely and wash with soap and water. 
When exposed to bodily fluids, they must flush their nose, mouth and skin with water, with the use of soaps or disinfectants on the skin if necessary.
They must irrigate exposed eyes with clean water or saline.
Step #5: Use PEP with A.R.T.
Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is an antiretroviral drug treatment (ART) an HIV negative employee must start immediately if he comes into contact with possible HIV-infected bodily fluids. It gives your employee’s immune system a chance to provide protection against the virus and to prevent a full HIV infection. 
For PEP to work, your employee needs to take the medication as soon as possible, preferably within six hours of possible exposure. 
Follow these five steps to ensure your employees are protected from HIV infections in the workplace.
Check out the Health and Safety Advisor for more on dealing with HIV in your workplace. 

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