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Universal Precautions


This is the term given to describe precautions taken by staff to limit the risk of spread of infectious diseases.


Although blood borne viruses can be transmitted in different ways, all blood and suspect fluids should be regarded as infectious and treated accordingly.


Staff should always use universal precautions when in contact with suspected body fluids or during routine cleaning.


  • Cover any sores, cuts, bitten nails, warts etc with waterproof dressings and/or gloves
  • Take precautions to prevent puncture wounds, cuts and abrasions.


Wear stout protective gloves and, where appropriate, use tongs or other tools when handling:

• Sharp objects (needles, syringes, knives)
• Suspected drug paraphernalia
• Blood and body fluids directly or items soiled by such fluids
• Other objects or fluids of unknown origin


  • Handle all sharp objects with extreme care, and never bend or break a sharp object
  • Dispose of discarded needles and syringes (‘sharps’) in designated sharps containers provided by licensed clinical waste operators. Never dispose of sharps with general waste
  • Clear up spillages of blood and other body fluids promptly and disinfect surfaces
  • Protect the eyes and mouth using a visor, goggles or safety spectacles and a mask whenever splashing is a possibility.

When carrying out cleaning

  • Always wear stout protective gloves and wash your hands after their removal
  • Consider ventilation as some cleaning products and spillage can react to produce harmful fumes. Wear a protective mask where necessary
  • Clean all hard surfaces with appropriate product or detergent
  • Clean mops and buckets after use.