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
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