Infection Prevention & Control Theory
Devine Infection Prevention & Control Course – Level 2
Welcome to our Devine Infection Prevention and Control course, where are aim is to provide you with the relevant information required to gain knowledge and understanding when working in such conditions.
Infection prevention and control
Infection prevention and control (IPC) is a scientific approach and practical solution designed to prevent harm caused by infection to patients and health workers. It is grounded in infectious diseases, epidemiology, social science and health system strengthening. IPC occupies a unique position in the field of patient safety and quality universal health coverage since it is relevant to health workers and patients at every single health-care encounter.
No country, no health-care facility, even within the most advanced and sophisticated health-care systems, can claim to be free of the problem of health care-associated infections.
The controlling of infection is everyone’s responsibility not solely aimed at the employer and is not designed for people who work in laboratories etc. As the employee, you should be fully protecting yourself and others from contracting an infection within these guidelines.
The Course content:
Sources of infections
Transmission of infection
The importance of infection Control
The invasion and multiplication of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites that are not normally present within the body. An infection may cause no symptoms and be subclinical, or it may cause symptoms and be clinically apparent. An infection may remain localized, or it may spread through the blood or lymphatic vessels to become systemic (bodywide). Microorganisms that live naturally in the body are not considered infections. For example, bacteria that normally live within the mouth and intestine are not infections.
Understand risks from infection
It’s important to understand that infection and disease are not the same thing, infection occurs when an organism enters the body and starts to grow. Disease only occurs if the organism starts to multiply and produces symptoms. Infections that cause disease in humans are
Some infections are usually easy to deal with, but some cause serious problems if not treated properly. Some infections are easily transmissible, so it’s essential that everyone cleans their hands and follows other protocols due to it spreading through contact from one person to another.
Examples of Infections are-
• Hepatitis A, B, C
The sources include-
• Blood and other bodily fluids
• Waste e.g. Faeces, urine and vomit
• Direct contact
• Raw and uncooked foods
• Contaminated fluids, foods and objects
The ways that infections may be transmitted-
• Inhalation – breathing infectious airborne droplets from the air, with
coughs, sneezes or dust.
• Ingestion – eating contaminated meat or touching your mouth without
washing your hands
• Skin to skin – Touching someone
• Broken skin – through wounds
• Contact of bodily fluids – This can enter through eyes, nose and mouth.
Routes of Entry
Routes of entry when talking of infection control are, mouth, eyes, nose and broken skin.
What are the reasons of preventing dealing with an infection at work?
1. Prevention of damage to the business reputation
2. Prevention of loss of earnings
3. Prevention of Legal issues
By following the chain of infection, it can effectively prevent infections from spreading in the workplace. There are 6 links in the chain –
1. Organisms- the microorganism (bacteria, virus or fungi)
2. Reservoir – a host which allows microorganism to live, and possibly
grow, and multiply. Humans and the environment can all be reservoirs
3. Portal of exit – a path for the microorganism to escape from the host.
The blood, respiratory tract, skin and mucous membranes, genitourinary
tract, gastrointestinal tract, and transplacental route from mother to her
unborn infant are some examples.
4. Mode of transmission – since microorganisms cannot travel on their
own; they require a vehicle to carry them to other people and places.
5. Portal of entry – a path for the microorganism to get into a new host,
similar to the portal of exit
6. Susceptible host – a person susceptible to the microorganism
1 – The presence of microorganisms can cause an infection by
Virulence – (can multiply and grow)
Invasiveness – (can enter tissue)
Pathogenicity – (can cause disease)
2 The Reservoir (is where microorganisms live, thrive and reproduce)
This could be areas at work such as tables, handles, food, toilets. By cleaning
and disinfecting these areas can stop or prevent it spreading
3 The portal of exit (the place used by the microorganism to leave)
This could be the respiratory tract by the nose, mouth, sneezing, mucus etc.
the intestinal tract (via faeces) and the urinary tract (via urine,) blood or other bodily fluids.
4 Means of transmission (one host to another)
Direct transmission – touching from person to host by inhaling,
coughing, being bitten.
Indirect transmission – externally being carried on surfaces, food,
5 Portal of entry (The entry route) knowing the portal of entry enables you to put preventative measures in place.
Via mouth by food or hands
Touching the eyes
Inhalation and ingestion
The employer should provide PPE, good hygiene and sterilisation methods in the workplace
6 Susceptible host (the people at risk) these are the more susceptible people-
Low or weak immune systems
Risk assessments are an effective way to identify infection risks in the workplace and try to work out where the chain can be broken. A risk assessment is a legal requirement for all employers.
To identify hazards and decide on appropriate controlled measures to reduce the risk to employees.
The five steps to a risk assessment are-
1. Identify hazards
2. Identify who will be harmed and how
3. Evaluate the risks
4. Record your findings and implement them
5. Monitor performance and review
1 Identify hazards
Look around your workplace and think about what may cause harm (these are called hazards). Think about:
• how people work and how plant and equipment are used
• what chemicals and substances are used
• what safe or unsafe work practices exist
• the general state of your premises
2 Assess the risks
Once you have identified the hazards, decide how likely it is that someone could be harmed and how serious it could be. This is assessing the level of risk. Decide:
• Who might be harmed and how
• What you’re already doing to control the risks
• What further action you need to take to control the risks
• Who needs to carry out the action
• When the action is needed by
3 Control the risks
Look at what you’re already doing, and the controls you already have in place. Ask yourself:
• Can I get rid of the hazard altogether?
• If not, how can I control the risks so that harm is unlikely?
• If you need further controls, consider:
• redesigning the job
• replacing the materials, machinery or process
• organising your work to reduce exposure to the materials, machinery or process
• identifying and implementing practical measures needed to work safely
• providing personal protective equipment and making sure workers wear it
• Put the controls you have identified in place. You’re not expected to
eliminate all risks,
You need to do everything ‘reasonably practicable’ to protect people from harm. This means balancing the level of risk against the measures needed to control the real risk in terms of money, time or trouble.
4 Record your findings
• If you employ 5 or more people, you must record your significant
• the hazards (things that may cause harm)
• who might be harmed and how
• what you are doing to control the risks
5 Review the controls
• You must review the controls you have put in place to make sure they
are working. You should also review them if:
• They may no longer be effective
• There are changes in the workplace that could lead to new risks such as
– the substances or equipment used
• Also consider a review if your workers have spotted any problems or
there have been any accidents or near misses.
• Update your risk assessment record with any changes you make.
Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH)
COSHH is the law that requires employers to control substances that are hazardous to health. You can prevent or reduce workers exposure to hazardous substances by:
• finding out what the health hazards are.
• deciding how to prevent harm to health (Risk Assessment)
• providing control measures to reduce harm to health.
• making sure they are used
• keeping all control measures in good working order
• providing information, instruction and training for employees and others
• providing monitoring and health surveillance in appropriate cases
• planning for emergencies.
Other Regulations that need to be considered are
Management of Health and Safety at work Regulations 1999
Every employer shall, in entrusting tasks to his employees, consider their capabilities as regards health and safety. Provide employees are provided with adequate health and safety training.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Regulations
PPE is equipment that will protect the user against health or safety risks at work. It can include items such as safety helmets and hard hats, gloves, eye protection, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear and safety harnesses.
Reporting of Injuries Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences (RIDDOR)
The regulations require “responsible persons” to report deaths at work, major injuries caused by accidents at work, injuries to persons not at work that require hospital treatment, injuries arising from accidents in hospitals, and dangerous occurrences.
The importance of infection control.
The basis of good infection control in the workplace is to assume that everyone is potentially infectious. Proper procedures always have to be followed. Every workplace should have an appropriate first aid kit, with at least one staff member trained in first aid. Equipment such as gloves, gowns, eye goggles and face shields should be provided if necessary.
Workplace infection control – personal hygiene practices
Infection control procedures relating to good personal hygiene include:
hand washing – the spread of many pathogens can be prevented with regular hand washing. Thoroughly wash your hands with water and soap for at least 15 seconds after visiting the toilet, before preparing food, and after touching clients or equipment. Dry your hands with disposable paper towels
Unbroken skin – intact and healthy skin is a major barrier to pathogens. Cover any cuts or abrasions with a waterproof dressing
Gloves – wear gloves if you are handling body fluids or equipment containing body fluids, if you are touching someone else’s broken skin or mucus membrane or performing any other invasive procedure. Wash your hands between each client and use fresh gloves for each client where necessary
Personal items – don’t share towels, clothing, razors, toothbrushes, shavers or other personal items
Food preparation and workplace infection control
When preparing food, you should –
-Wash your hands before and after handling food.
-Avoid touching your hair, nose or mouth.
-Keep hot food hot and cold food cold.
-Use separate storage, utensils and preparation surfaces for cooked and
-Wash all utensils and preparation surfaces thoroughly with hot water and
detergent after use.
Infection control and workplace cleanliness
Infection control procedures relating to cleanliness in the workplace include:
-Regularly washing the floors, bathrooms and surfaces (such as tables and
bench tops) with hot water and detergent
-Periodically washing the walls and ceilings
-Thoroughly washing and drying mops, brushes and cloths after every use –
drying mops and cloths is particularly important, since many pathogens rely on moisture to thrive
-Using disinfectants to clean up blood and other spills of bodily fluids
When using disinfectants – always wearing gloves, cleaning the surfaces before using the disinfectant, and always following the manufacturer’s instructions exactly
-Spot cleaning when necessary.
Dealing with spills of body fluids
Examples of body fluids include blood, saliva, urine and faeces. When dealing with spills of body fluids, infection control procedures need to be followed carefully.
-Isolate the area.
-Wear gloves, a plastic apron and eye protection, such as goggles.
-Soak up the fluid with disposable paper towels or cover the spill with a
granular chlorine-releasing agent for a minimum of 10 minutes. Scoop up
granules and waste using a piece of cardboard (or similar), place in a plastic
bag and dispose of appropriately.
-Mix one-part bleach to 10 parts water and apply to the area for 10 minutes.
-Wash the area with hot water and detergent
-Dry the area.
-Dispose of paper towelling and gloves appropriately.
-Wash your hands.
-Rinse any contaminated clothing in cold running water, soak in bleach solution for half an hour, then wash separately from other clothing or linen with hot water and detergent
Infection control – disposing of infectious waste
To dispose of infectious waste that has been contaminated with blood or other body fluids:
-Wear heavy duty gloves.
-Place waste in plastic bags marked ‘infectious waste’
-Dispose of waste
Workplace infection control – handling contaminated sharps
Infection control procedures when handling needles and other sharp contaminated objects include:
-Never attempt to re-cap or bend used needles.
-Handle by the barrel.
-Place in an appropriate Sharp’s box
Infection control – occupational exposure to body fluids
If you come in contact with blood or body fluids, you should:
-Flush the area with running water.
-Wash the area with plenty of warm water and soap.
-Report the incident to the appropriate staff member.
-Record the incident
-Seek medical advice.
Employers and occupational health and safety representatives should investigate all incidents involving contact with blood or body fluids and take action to prevent a similar incident from happening again.