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The RISK in a paper cut is it Blood Borne Pathogens or is it something greater like a first aid TRIF report!

I can’t think of person I have worked with in life that has not had some time a paper cut and the key is proper first aid and cleaning up as per you blood borne pathogen section in your safety manual. But that incident or in some cases in life near miss has safety lead and lag issues just like any other incidents in the work place.  SO AS SUPERVISOR HOW SERIOUS IS THAT PAPER CUT AND ROOT CAUSE INVESTIGATION THAT YOU MUST DO!


Anyone in the office from the new employee to the crafty office veteran can fall prey to a pain unlike any other, the dreaded paper cut. Unlike many other skin cuts from a razor blade, knife or even scissors. Paper deposits material in the wound as it cuts, which causes the sting that after a paper cut you won’t soon forget. They’re often caused by a single rogue sheet that’s been slightly dislocated from a stack of paper so that the handler doesn’t notice a sharp protruding edge. Paper cuts can be surprisingly painful as they can stimulate a large number of skin surface nociceptors (pain receptors) in a very small area of the skin. Because the shallow cut does not bleed very much, the pain receptors are left open to the air, ensuring continued pain. However, the cut can also be very deep, in which case a puddle of blood pools around a longer gash. This is exacerbated by irritation caused by the fibers in the paper itself, which may be coated in chemicals such as bleach. Additionally, most paper cuts occur in the fingers, which have a greater concentration of sensory receptors than the rest of the body.

In your company safety program doesn’t it say you MUST?

All incidents and accidents resulting in injury or causing illness to employees and events (near-miss accidents) shall be reported in order to:

·        Establish a written record of factors that cause injuries and illnesses and occurrences (near-misses) that might have resulted in injury or illness but did not, as well as property and vehicle damage.

·        Maintain a capability to promptly investigate incidents and events in order to initiate and support corrective and/or preventive action.

·        Provide statistical information for use in analyzing all phases of incidents and events.

·        Provide the means for complying with the reporting requirements for occupational injuries and illness.

·        The Incident Reporting System requirements apply to all incidences involving company employees, on-site vendors, contractor employees and visitors, which results in (or might have resulted in) personal injury, illness, and/or property and vehicle damage.

A few sources noted that a hemophiliac will not in fact bleed to death from a paper cut, thereby dispelling a piece of playground wisdom widely disseminated among the community of eight-year-old amateur hematologists.

An irony of paper cuts, contends the safety site, is that they are more likely to occur when the paper is high quality. “When glossy sheets of paper are cut very thin, they are uniquely good at causing paper cuts,” the site explains. Grab a ream of tightly bound paper with one interior sheet protruding slightly, and you have a serious weapon on your soon-to-be-bloody hands. “The other papers hold the dislocated paper in position, giving it enough stiffness to cut like a razor’s edge,” Health and Safety says. Which is why there may be a trail of blood leading from the office copier to the desk of whatever unfortunate soul did the good deed of filling up an empty paper tray.

Paper cuts do indeed bring on outsize pain. Fingertips, the most likely site of damage, are loaded with the nerve endings—including the pain-interpreting nociceptors—necessary for the constant exploration of the environment.


Examples of “non-reportable” injuries and illnesses include small paper cuts, common colds, and small bruises not resulting in work restrictions or requiring first aid or medical attention.


Medical treatment means the management and care of a patient to combat disease or disorder. Medical treatment does not include:

·        Visits to a physician or other licensed health care professional solely for observation or counseling.

·        The conduct of diagnostic procedures, such as x-rays and blood tests, including the administration of prescription medications used solely for diagnostic purposes.

·        First aid


For recordkeeping determination “First Aid” means only the following:

·        Using a non-prescription medication at nonprescription strength (for medications available in both prescription and non-prescription form, a recommendation by a physician or other licensed health care professional to use a non-prescription medication at prescription strength is considered medical treatment for recordkeeping purposes).

·        Administering tetanus immunizations (other immunizations, such as Hepatitis B vaccine or rabies vaccine, are considered medical treatment).

·        Cleaning, flushing or soaking wounds on the surface of the skin.

·        Using wound coverings such as bandages, Band-Aids™, gauze pads, etc.; or using butterfly bandages or Steri-Strips™ (other wound closing devices such as sutures, staples, etc., are considered medical treatment).

·        Using hot or cold therapy.

·        Using any non-rigid means of support, such as elastic bandages, wraps, non-rigid back belts, etc. (devices with rigid stays or other systems designed to immobilize parts of the body are considered medical treatment for recordkeeping purposes).

·        Using temporary immobilization devices while transporting an accident victim (e.g., splints, slings, neck collars, back boards, etc.).

·        Drilling of a fingernail or toenail to relieve pressure, or draining fluid from a blister.

·        Using eye patches.

·        Removing foreign bodies from the eye using only irrigation or a cotton swab.

·        Removing splinters or foreign material from areas other than the eye by irrigation, tweezers, cotton swabs or other simple means.

·        Using finger guards.

·        Using massages (physical therapy or chiropractic treatment are considered medical treatment for recordkeeping purposes).

·        Drinking fluids for relief of heat stress.

And in your Blood Borne Pathogen training and educations section did you note knowledge like

1.   I learned that HIV virus CANNOT be transmitted through “superficial cuts”. Well, how can we exactly consider a cut/wound “superficial cuts” ? For example, paper cuts, razor cuts or several-millimeter cuts are “superficial cuts” right?

2. I also learned that HIV need to penetrate DIRECTLY to the bloodstream to infect someone. Please explain me that, in case of very negligible cuts like cuts caused by razor during shaving, they may actually bleed (of course they bleed not much, stop bleeding in seconds, do not require band-aid and never leave scars at all); or even there’s no any blood come out from those cuts, they are more likely a “scratch”. So can those cuts be “superficial cuts” and impossible to transmit the virus??

3. Again, I learned that a risk would be posed when a SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF CONTAMINATED BLOOD actually exchange with a “OPEN, FRESH and DEEP CUT” which actively bleed that need stitching or prolonged pressure to stop the blood coming out. Please explain me how significant amount of blood is needed to be a risk? (can couples of small blood drops be enough?). how can you define a type of open, fresh and deep cut?

4. Finally, practically, in case I go to a barbershop, the barber shaves my beard and unintentionally cut me a bit (that type of cut is more likely a scratch because it does not visibly bleed). Assumed that the razor is used and have contaminated blood of previous customer that used COUPLE SECONDS before me, can it be a PRACTICAL way to transmit the HIV virus?

And as supervisor you tell your workers because YOU ARE TRAINED IN THIS MATTER that ;

1.   Yes that is correct. Superficial cuts are cuts that barely are visible on the surface of the skin and is not deep where it is hollow with flesh showing or excessive amounts of blood gushing out of the wound.

2.   Yes these cuts cannot transmit HIV. The reason behind that is because HIV dies upon exposure to air, secondly it needs to have direct access to your bloodstream. By touching blood, no transmission has occur because skin is a great barrier for HIV transmission. There were no confirmed reports of having cuts being a method of transmission except during one knife fight where there was plenty of infected blood that has entered the system of the uninfected individual.

3.   There is no specific amount that I can give you that would be considered significant. However, you need to also be aware of the fact that no matter how much or how little of contaminated blood is present, it still needs to have access to your bloodstream. It also needs not to be exposed to air because HIV is a weak virus and can only live in a controlled environment like the inside of the body and the barrel of a syringe.

4.   No it cannot because there was no direct access to your bloodstream as well as with the contaminated blood being on the razor seconds before you have exposed to it, the HIV virus would have died by then and is not active for transmission.

Have you talked PREVENTION long before TRIF reports

You can avoid paper cuts by being careful not to drag hands or fingers along the edges of a paper pile. If you regularly handle large stacks or reams of paper, help protect your hands with creams, gloves and even the old fashioned finger guards.

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