Health & safety
- Accidental exposure to blood or other body fluids
- Accidents and assaults
- What to do
- MVA driving a University vehicle
Accidental exposure to blood or other body fluids
The Faculty has put in place processes for your safety should you be accidentally exposed to blood or other body fluids. Please familiarise yourself with the details set out below. It is essential to b e familiar also with the procedures for dealing with such exposures at any hospital or other clinical health facility where you are attached/placed.
You could be accidentally exposed to blood or body fluids most commonly in one or more of the following ways:
- Needlestick injury;
- Injury with another sharp object - e.g. scalpel blade, lancet, suture needle, broken glass;
- Splash of blood or body fluids on to mucous membrane of eyes, mouth or nose;
- Exposure of non-intact skin to blood or body fluids.
Body Fluids include blood, CSF (cerebrospinal fluid), semen, vaginal secretions, synovial / pleural / pericardial / peritoneal / amniotic fluids, but not vomitus, faeces, urine, saliva, sweat, tears unless blood stained.
What to do!
- Stay calm! Follow the necessary steps outlined below.
- Encourage bleeding if the skin was damaged by the injury;
Wash with soap and water;
If a mucus membrane splash, eg eye, then irrigate with tap water for 5 minutes.
- Inform the most senior person in the area who will arrange for a blood sample to be taken from the source patient (1 tube of
clotted blood). The ?source person/patient' is the person whose blood or body fluid you have come into contact with.
Note that the source person's blood should if at all possible be obtained immediately for testing [1 x yellow-top tube, labelled]. Wherever possible, this should NOT be done by you but by your supervisor or another person-in-charge who will explain to the patient what has occurred and sensitively and respectfully seek to persuade him/her to make him/herself available for pre-test and post-test counselling and testing for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. If the exposure occurred within a formal health facility, the source person must have such pre- and post-test counselling at the same facility where the incident occurred. His/her name, file number and contact details are important.
- Report to the Immediate Care Area with the blood sample. (The Immediate Care Area is the area where the emergency
management of injured staff and students can be carried out. What constitutes the Immediate Care Area will vary depending on where the accident occurred.) Here the blood will be sent for testing and the initial dose of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) will be given.
Remember that it is extremely important to start anti-retroviral PEP treatment as soon as possible ? preferably within 4 hours of exposure though there might be benefit up to 72 hours after exposure.
If prophylactic treatment is not available wherever your exposure occurs, then go straight through to the GSH Staff Health Clinic (Outpatients Building, J Floor - telephone 021 404 5490) or, if after hours, to the GSH Emergency Unit ie C15.
- If you feel confused by the information that you have been given about PEP or you have been provided with no direction in this regard, call the 24-hour Clinical Pharmacology helpline and you will be assisted by an expert. During the day between 08h30 and 17h00 call 0800 212 506 or 021 406 6782. Alternatively, between 08h30 and 17h00, SMS a ?please call me' to 071 840 1572. If after hours ? ie between 17h00 and 08h30 ? phone the clinical pharmacologist-on-call on 071 216 0207.
- Whatever happens, always follow up with the GSH Staff Health Clinic (OPD Building as above) - on the same day if possible but otherwise on the next working day (open Monday to Friday, 07h00-16h00).
- Finally, please be in touch with the Faculty's Student Development and Support dest: Ms Nonkosi Malala (021 406 6749). She will ensure that you have access to whatever treatment and support you might need. You can take this step at any point in the process but make sure that you do not skip it altogether!
Download the Post Exposure Prophylaxis Policy.
Accidents and assaults
If you are involved in an accident or if you are threatened, mugged or assaulted
- Phone for help (see Resources & telephone numbers under the SUPPORT tab);
- If you or a fellow student are injured, you may go to the Student Wellness Service but it is recommended that you go to a properly equipped trauma unit at either a Provincial Government hospital or, if you choose to and are on medical aid, a private hospital;
- Report any incident involving a criminal act and/or a motor vehicle accident to the police as soon as possible;
- Report all incidents involving theft, assault or any other criminal act or accident to your course supervisor as well as to Ms Nonkosi Malala (021 406 6749 or email@example.com);
- It is recommended that you make yourself available for appropriate counselling. For access to such counselling, approach Ms Nonkosi Malala (021 406 6749) or any member of the Faculty Student Development and Support team (see SUPPORT tab for contact details) or the Student Wellness Service's Counselling Service (see Student Wellness Service under SUPPORT tab for more information including contact details).
What to do
In the event of any emergency . . .
Campus Protection Services on 021 650 2222 / 021 650 2223
or the Emergency Call Centre on 107 (from a landline) / 112 (from a cellphone)
Both of the above are able to arrange for any and all emergency services that may be required including medical assistance, ambulance and police.
In the event of an accident or medical emergency on campus . . .
Campus Protection Services on 021 650 2222 / 021 650 2223
or ER24 on 084 124
While awaiting the arrival of ambulance and paramedics, contact one of the First Aiders in the building in which you find yourself. (Do not call on nearby medical academics who might or might not be active clinicians.)
For additional emergency resource agencies and contact details, see Resources and telephone numbers under the SUPPORT tab.
And for further detailed information, see the University's Emergencies webpages.
MVA driving a University vehicle
In the event of an accident - regardless of whom you think caused the accident - observe the following protocol (that is, if in a physical condition to do so):
a) Bring the vehicle to a halt as soon as it is safe to do so. It is an offence not to stop at the scene of an accident in which a vehicle under your control has been involved.
b) Try to stay calm and not to lose your temper. Even if you think that the accident may have been your fault, do not admit blame at the scene of the accident nor offer any form of settlement.
c) Switch off the engine, turn on the hazard lights and do whatever is reasonably possible to alert oncoming traffic about the accident.
d) Call the police if someone is injured, if the collision has caused a hazardous situation or if someone leaves the scene without exchanging details - call 112 from your cellphone. If unsure about whether to call the police or not, call them anyway and they can advise on the best course of action.
e) Inform the Faculty: Mr Reece Brooks (021 406 6638 or 083 643 2328) or Mr Freddie Pick (021 406 6725 or 073 801 5709). Also inform your supervisor or course convenor.
f) Make a sketch of the scene noting as many details as you can such as street names, vehicle locations, direction of travel, skid marks, collision points and vehicle damage. If you have a camera with you, collect picture evidence of the road layout, position of vehicles and the damage that happened.
g) As required by law, exchange details with any other drivers who might have been involved in the accident. Ask for names, addresses, telephone numbers (cellphone, work and home) as well as car insurance details. You must also provide this information about yourself.
h) Record any other details that you think might be important. Examples include if someone used a cellphone while driving, if you suspect the other driver has been drinking or if there are adverse weather conditions.
i) Report the accident to SAPS at the police station nearest to the scene of the accident. You must do this within 24 hours.
j) At the first available opportunity provide Mr Reece Brooks with a full report including all the abovementioned details and setting out a coherent account of the accident and what in your opinion were the factors that contributed to its occurrence.
k) Cooperate fully with the University insurers if called upon to do so.
Please note that if you as the driver of a UCT vehicle have committed any act or omission which results in the University insurers declining or limiting liability, you shall be liable for all loss or damage including damage to the vehicle regardless of fault.