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Jacob was a newer employee in the machine shop and often kept to himself during the work day. Consequently, his fellow workers knew little about Jacob beyond his willingness to learn and his quick adaptation to the work. As Jacob became more familiar with the equipment, his production level increased too. However, speed cannot come before safety. One morning, Jacob was using a lathe to shape a metal component. He opened the lathe guard to clear out some metal shavings that had accumulated and in his haste to get back to work, he forgot to put the guard back in place. Jacob realized his mistake as soon as he started up the lathe, but unfortunately before he could stop the machine it spewed out metal shavings that hit him in the face and on the arms. The metal shavings caused several cuts that bled profusely. Roger was walking by and heard Jacob yell when the accident happened. Roger rushed over and grabbed Jacob by the arm to get him away from the lathe. When Roger grabbed Jacob’s arm, his hand contacted one of the shavings stuck in Jacob’s bleeding arm and cut his hand too. Safety protocol was followed and Roger took Jacob to the first aid station where the medical professionals took care of the injuries. Roger reported the accident to the floor supervisor Jim. Jim noticed the bandage on Roger’s hand and asked him what happened. Roger recounted he received the cut from the metal shaving impaled in Jacob’s arm. Jim asked Roger if Jacob’s arm was bleeding and Roger said yes, why? Jim does not answer and says OK I need to check on Jacob. As his direct supervisor, Jacob confided in Jim that he was HIV positive and contracted the infection as a very young child from a blood transfusion received after a car accident. Jacob is very embarrassed by his condition and feels he would be judged negatively if his colleagues knew about his condition. Jim is the supervisor and the company does not have an Exposure Control Plan although he had planned on implementing one as a best practice after he learned of Jacob’s condition.
Review this OSHA Fact Sheet Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure Incidents (PDF).
Conduct additional research on HIPAA and bloodborne pathogens regulations.
Based on the information presented and gathered on your own, craft a post that answers directly or indirectly:
Your opinion on whether Jacob’s privacy under HIPAA or Jim’s exposure under the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard is more critical in this scenario.
Provide reasoning for your opinion.
Recommend the actions Jim needs to take to address the issue.
Should the company implement an Exposure Control Plan?
Does the company need to bring in an industrial hygienist to evaluate the situation now and develop the needed steps going forward?
What other actions do you suggest?

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