How to prevent needlestick and sharps injuries

Administering vaccinations

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

Employers should:

  • 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

Administering vaccinations
This document is intended for general information purposes only, and should not be construed as advice or opinions on any specific facts or circumstances. The content of this document is made available on an “as is” basis, without warranty of any kind. This document can’t be assumed to contain every acceptable safety and compliance procedures or that additional procedures might not be appropriate under the circumstances. Markel does not guarantee that this information is or can be relied on for compliance with any law or regulation, assurance against preventable losses, or freedom from legal liability. This publication is not intended to be legal, underwriting, or any other type of professional advice. Persons requiring advice should consult an independent adviser.  Markel does not guarantee any particular outcome and makes no commitment to update any information herein, or remove any items that are no longer accurate or complete. Furthermore, Markel does not assume any liability to any person or organization for loss or damage caused by or resulting from any reliance placed on that content.

*Markel Specialty is a business division of Markel Service, Incorporated, the underwriting  manager for the Markel affiliated insurance companies.
© 2022 Markel Service, Incorporated.  All rights reserved. 
Was this helpful?