Policy On Bloodborne Pathogens

Every once in a while, someone will get scratched during practice and bleed. We have adopted a policy to minimize the risk of transmission of HIV, Hepatitis-B, and other blood-borne diseases. It is important to realize, however, that current medical evidence suggests that the risk of transmission of HIV during the type of body contact that occurs in Aikido training is extremely slight. Organizations such as the NCAA and the U.S. Olympic Committee have concluded that persons infected with blood-borne pathogens should not be barred from participating in contact sports. These organizations have concluded that the already-slight risk of transmission of HIV and other blood-borne diseases can be reduced further by adoption of the Center for Disease Control "universal precautions" with regard to exposed body fluids.

In the dojo, we will observe these "universal precautions." This means that instructors and students shall treat all exposed blood as if it were infected. The following measures will be observed at all times:

All first aid supplies required for following the universal precautions are located in the storage room.

1. Preparation for training: The most frequent points of contact between training partners are the hands. Other exposed parts of the body, which are subject to the risk of cuts and abrasions, are the feet and the area of the face and neck. For these reasons special precautions must be observed. Inspect the exposed parts of your body prior to training to ensure there are no breaks in your skin such as abrasions, open cuts or sores. If you have any breaks in your skin, clean them with a suitable antiseptic and cover them securely with a leak-proof dressing before coming on the training mat. Make sure that breaks in your skin stay covered while you are training. Suitable taping, gloves or socks will be necessary. If you notice that someone else has an open cut or sore, immediately advise them of the fact and cease training with the individual until the appropriate covering is in place. If the person does not immediately remedy the situation, notify the class instructor immediately.

Inspect your hands and feet to ensure that your fingernails and toenails are trimmed and smooth in order not to cause cuts. Wear a freshly laundered dogi, and never come on the training mat wearing a dogi which is blood stained to any degree.

  1. Procedure for wounds incurred during training: If a wound becomes uncovered, is open, or is bleeding even to a minor extent during training, immediately stop training and leave the mat until the bleeding stops and the wound is securely covered as described above. If you need assistance in stopping the bleeding and covering the wound, each person assisting you shall wear a pair of latex gloves (available in the first aid kit). All used gloves and bloody cloths or dressings will be placed in a leak-proof plastic bag and disposed of carefully. Hands shall be washed with soap and hot water immediately after gloves are removed. Minor blood stains on dogi will be treated with the disinfectant solution kept by the first aid kit. If there are major blood stains, the dogi shall be removed immediately, placed in a leak-proof container, and handled carefully until it can be laundered or disposed of.
  2. Procedures for contact with another's blood: If you come into contact with your practice partner's blood, immediately alert your partner to the fact that they are bleeding, leave the mat and follow appropriate disinfectant procedures. If you do not know who is the source of the blood, immediately locate the individual who is bleeding. Then both of you should leave the mat and follow appropriate disinfectant and protection procedures.
  3. Procedures for blood on the mat: The partner of the bleeding person should stand by the blood and ensure that other students do not come into contact with the blood on the mat. The bleeding person should leave the mat to attend to the bleeding. The blood, regardless of amount, should be cleaned up immediately by wiping down the exposed surface with the disinfectant solution provided for that purpose. Each person assisting in this task shall wear latex gloves and shall dispose of the gloves and clothes used for the cleanup in the manner described above. Upon completion of the cleanup, immediately after gloves are removed, each assisting person shall wash his or her hands with soap and hot water.

(This section on blood-borne pathogens was adapted from the policy developed at Aikido West, with thanks to Sensei Frank Doran.)

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