How to prevent needlestick and sharps injuries
Needlestick and other sharps injuries are a serious hazard in any healthcare setting. Contact with contaminated needles, scalpels, broken glass, and other sharps may expose healthcare workers to blood that contains pathogens which pose a grave, potentially lethal risk.
Healthcare workers can be at risk for needlestick or sharps injuries when they:
- Handle needles that must be taken apart or manipulated after use
- Dispose of needles attached to tubing
- Manipulate the needle in the client
- Recap a needle
- Use needles or glass equipment to transfer body fluid between containers
- Fail to dispose of used needles in puncture-resistant sharps containers
- Lack proper workstations for procedures using sharps
- Work quickly
- Bump into a needle, a sharp, or another worker while either person is holding a sharp
- Establish a bloodborne pathogen control program that meets all of the requirements of the OSHA bloodborne pathogens standard
- Eliminate the use of needle devices whenever safe and effective alternatives are available
- Provide needle devices with safety features
- Provide sharps containers for workers to bring into clients’ homes
- Investigate all sharps-related injuries
- Provide post-exposure medical evaluations
By: Mike Huss, Loss Control Consultant
Source: Dept. of Health and Human Services CDC and Prevention - NIOSH
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