This policy sets out the procedures in place with Ashford and St Peters NHS Foundation Trust for the management of needle-stick; sharps; human bites and contamination accidents.

Occupational exposure to blood and other body fluids carries the risk of transmission of blood borne viruses (BBVs). This Policy focuses on the most common viruses which cause chronic lifelong infection with high plasma viral loads and which may be readily transmitted by body fluid exposure i.e. hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C(HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Occupational body fluid exposure (BFE) is an incident that occurs in the course of work. Certain occupational groups such as health and social care workers, police and other emergency workers are at risk of sustaining a BFE in the line of their duties.

The risk of transmission though percutaneous exposure from a known infected Source is as follows:

  • HBV (if Source is highly infectious i.e. HBe Ag positive and Recipient is not immune) = 1 in 3
  • HCV = 1 in 30
  • HIV = 1 in 300
  • The risk of HIV transmission though mucocutaneous exposure is 1 in 1000.

Post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is available to help prevent occupational acquisition of HIV and HBV, however the mainstay of hepatitis B prevention for healthcare workers is immunisation. There is no effective PEP for HCV exposures, although early diagnosis and antiviral treatment is almost certainly beneficial.

This Policy covers risk assessment of a BFE accident, managing a BFE including the follow ups and practical issues pertinent to BFE management.


Policy Details

Download: PDF version
Compiled by: Justine Johnson, Occupational Health Advisor
Nadine Williams, Occupational Health Manager
Ratified by: Control of Infection Committee
Date Ratified: August 2020
Date Issued: February 2021
Review Date: August 2023
Target Audience: All new or existing staff that are exposed to body fluids in their role within the Trust.
Contact name: Nadine Williams, Occupational Health Manager


See also: