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Who is at risk?

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Understanding the Risk of Bloodborne Virus Infections in the Workplace

This guide explores the likelihood of infection through bloodborne viruses (BBVs) in various professional settings and the typical modes of transmission.

Transmission of Bloodborne Viruses

BBVs are commonly transmitted through:

  • Sexual contact.
  • Direct exposure to infected blood or body fluids.

Workplace Exposure to BBVs

Potential scenarios for direct exposure in the workplace include:

  • Accidental contamination by sharp instruments like needles or broken glass.
  • Infected blood contact with open wounds, skin abrasions, or damaged skin.
  • Splashes to mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth).

Professions at Risk of BBV Infection

The HSE identifies several professions where the risk is notably higher:

  • Custodial services (prisons, detention centres).
  • Education sector workers due to potential accidents.
  • First aiders in workplaces.
  • Undertakers and emergency services personnel.
  • Hairdressing, beauty therapy, and acupuncture professionals.
  • Car breakers and related cleaning services.

This list is illustrative and not exhaustive, highlighting the diverse range of professions where BBV infection risk is present.