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Vehicles involved in traffic and rail accidents are commonly contaminated with blood and human tissue. Sharp metal and broken glass at an accident scene present an added infection risk from any puncture wounds sustained by those first attending the trauma scene. The need for added awareness also extends, in principle, to subsequent vehicle recovery and repair work, which may potentially involve contact with contaminated vehicles. However, data indicate that there are currently no confirmed reports of BBV transmission for the motor vehicle recovery and maintenance industry and that most industry-specific problems are related to musculoskeletal injury, slips and trips, fume, dust, noise and vibration.
Discarded hypodermic needles are, however, sometimes found in upholstery and glove compartments in cars sent for repair and servicing, and workers need to be aware of this, even during routine maintenance work. Precautions are essential in all cases and additional information for the motor vehicle industry is available via the HSE Web site.
Blood and body fluids may contaminate the site of industrial and road traffic accidents, playgrounds and sporting events. Provided that there is no direct contact, there is no risk for those in the vicinity. However, it should be remembered that the viability of BBV on surfaces might continue for extended periods, subject to environmental conditions. The use of simple personal protective measures, avoidance of sharps injuries and appropriate decontamination will minimise the risk for those dealing with the contamination. After cleaning up, it is essential to dispose of contaminated waste safely; a topic covered in subsequent sections.
Motor vehicle infection risks will vary depending on your workplace, you will need to discuss specific risks with your manager or employer.