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Designated Officers and Emergency Service Workers

In the day to day activities of an emergency service worker (ESW) there is a potential to be exposed to an infectious disease of public health significance. If we become aware of an exposure, we will work to ensure timely communication to those involved. This may include advising the exposed worker to seek medical attention and the initiation of post-exposure prophylaxis, if applicable.

Emergency services (e.g., police, firefighters, paramedics, etc.) should have a person within their organization identified as a designated officer in order to facilitate the exposure notification process. A designated officer is responsible for receiving and assessing reports about possible exposure of emergency service worker to an infectious disease of public health significance. We have developed a DO exposure reporting form that you can use as a documentation tool within your organization.

We have also developed a designated officer manual as well as a quick reference guide to ensure that a Designated Officer (DO) or alternate is trained in the assessment of infectious disease exposures.  

Understanding and following basic infection and prevention and control practices will help prevent or limit exposures to infectious diseases. Here are a few external resources where you can learn more about relevant IPAC information.

  • Public Health Ontario infection and prevention and control resources
  • IPAC Canada non-acute care resources
  • Ontario Association of Designated Officers - OADO
  • If you have experienced an exposure to another person’s blood or body fluids, it is important that you be assessed by a health care provider to determine your risk to infection and to get appropriate and timely treatment to prevent transmission of disease.

    Following a work related exposure, you should be made aware of the Mandatory Blood Testing Act. This legislation allows certain persons who have been exposed to the blood or body fluids of another person under certain conditions, to apply to have the other person’s blood tested for HIV and hepatitis B and C.

    We also have other blood or body fluid exposure resources that you can review to manage and assess exposures.

    If you think you may have been exposed to a disease of public health significance during your work or to speak with our staff, call the Infectious Diseases Reporting Line at 1-877-721-7520 ext. 8809, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or our after-hours through our on-call line at 1-888-225-7851.
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