It is important to assume that all body fluids are potentially infectious for a range of micro-organisms including hepatitis A, B and C and HIV and that appropriate infection control procedures are adopted. If the spill is likely to come into contact with parts of the human body it is important to treat the spill with bleach followed by detergent.

Body fluid spills may include:

  • Blood;
  • semen/vaginal fluids;
  • urine/faeces;
  • saliva/mucous; and
  • vomit.

Bleaching procedure

  • Wear protective gloves (2 pairs on each hand), in some situations a gown and mask may also be appropriate;
  • Apply absorbent paper towels to soak up spill and place in a sealable plastic bag for disposal;
  • Cover area with freshly prepared bleach solution for ten minutes, wipe up with paper towel and place in plastic bag;
  • Wipe area with detergent and warm water after ten minutes;
  • Dry the area with paper towel;
  • Place gloves and paper towels in plastic bag, seal bag and place in designated yellow infectious materials bag; and
  • Wash hands thoroughly.

Standard precautions must be adhered to when maintaining infection control. Standard precautions are the minimum level of infection control required in the treatment and care of any participant or staff requiring first aid or assistance with personal care. These precautions are used to prevent the transmission of blood borne infections including HIV. Standard precautions should be implemented universally, regardless of information or assumptions about the person’s infection status.

Standard precautions are:

  • Hand washing – before and after eating or feeding, before and after toilet use, immediately following contact with bodily fluids, before and after wearing of gloves.
  • Use of protective equipment, such as gloves, eye protection, mask and gown.
  • Safe disposal of sharps and contaminated matter.
  • Adequate sterilisation of re-useable equipment.

Further information

www.ashm.org.au