5012 Universal Precautions

POLICY NO.:  5012           DATE APPROVED:   1993-05

SUBJECT:        Universal Precautions


All school staff and students shall exercise the precautions in order to reduce the risk of transmitting disease through spilled body fluids or hypodermic needles and syringes.


The following Regulations apply to ALL persons potentially exposed to body fluids.  No distinction is made between body fluids from persons with a known disease and those from persons without symptoms or with an undiagnosed disease.

Body Fluids

The term body fluids includes: blood, urine, drainage from scrapes and cuts, feces, vomit, respirator and nasal secretions, and saliva.  The body fluids of all persons are considered as containing potentially infectious agents.  In most instances, the risk is low and depends on the type of fluid involved, the kind of contact made with it, and the stage of infection of the carrier.  When possible, avoid direct contact with body fluids.

Hand Washing

Proper hand washing techniques should be employed.


Jewelry should not be worn when working with students who require repeated physical contact and care.  Micro-organisms can become lodged in settings or stones.


1.         Wear disposable, gloves when direct hand contact with body fluids is anticipated:  i.e. treating a cut or bloody nose, changing a soiled diaper etc.

2.         Wear gloves to handle any soiled items.

3.         Wash hands after removing gloves.  Gloves do not eliminate the need for good hand washing.

Soiled Laundry

1.         Clothing soiled with body fluids should be washed separately from other items.

2.         Pre-soaking may be required for heavily soiled clothing.  If material is bleachable, add 1/2 cup household bleach to the wash cycle.  If material is not color fast, add 1/2 non-chlorine bleach (i.e. Clorox or Borateem) to the wash cycle.


1.         Contaminated disposable items (gloves, paper towels, tissues, bandages, diapers, etc.) should be placed into a white-colored plastic garbage bag so that it is identifiable to all staff, then immediately placed into the garbage cart in the custodial room.

2.         Non-disposable items, such as clothing, should be rinsed and placed in plastic bags.  Pre-soaking in cold water may be required to remove blood or stains.

Safe Handling of Spilled Body Fluids

1.         When a body fluid spill is discovered, students should be kept away until clean-up is complete.

2.         The staff member should put on rubber gloves before starting the clean-up.  Chemical-splash goggles are also recommended.

3.         The staff member should prepare a solution of D.I.N. disinfectant/sanitizer.

4.         The custodian should be made aware of the spill in case further clean-up is required.

5.         Wipe up as much of the body fluid as possible with paper towels.  Soiled paper towels should be disposed of directly into a white garbage bag.

6.         Gently pour D.I.N. (disinfectant) solution onto the body spill and allow the solution to decontaminate the site for AT LEAST 10 MINUTES – resilient flooring (carpeted areas should be extracted as soon as possible).

7.         The area should then be mopped or sponged with clean water.

8.         Equipment used such as mops or sponges must be soaked in a solution of disinfectant or bleach.

 Contact with Body Fluids

1.         If you accidentally come into contact with body fluids and you have open sores or wounds on the skin that come into contact with the body fluids:

a)         Wash hands immediately and thoroughly with soap and water.

b)         Apply antiseptic to wound.

c)         Notify physician of the incident.

d)         Disinfect or remove contaminated clothing.

2.         If you accidentally come into contact with body fluids and you do not have open sores or wounds on the skin that come into contact with the body fluids:

a)         Wash hands immediately and thoroughly with soap and water.

b)         Disinfect or remove contaminated clothing.

3.         If you are going to provide assistance to someone who is bleeding:

a)         If injured person is conscious hand them paper towel to control bleeding

b)         Put on disposable rubber gloves before providing assistance.

c)         Dispose of gloves (see disposals) and wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after giving assistance.

Safe Handling of Hypodermic Needles and Syringes

1.         Needles and syringes must NOT be picked up by students.

2.         When needles or syringes are discovered, students must be kept away from the site until disposal is complete.

3.         Arrange to have the garbage collection tongs and the “sharps container” brought to the site.  (An empty bleach bottle that has been clearly re-labeled and which can still be closed with its original lid makes an appropriate “sharps container”).

4.         Using the garbage collection tongs and extreme caution to prevent needle sticks, a staff member should transfer the needle or syringe into the sharps container.  DO NOT pick up needles or syringes with bare hands.  (Rubber gloves may be used to pick up needles or syringes but rubber gloves do not provide any protection against needle stick injuries.  Use of garbage collection tongs is recommended).

5.         Return the sharps container to a secure location in the school.

6.         Staff members who dealt with the needles or syringes should then follow the procedures for “How to Wash Hands Properly.”

7.         Advise the Health and Safety Officer of unusual and repeated incidents.


Revised: 2011-11