Needle Stick Prevention

Needle stick injuries are a common hazard for people who work at health care facilities. These injuries can happen to the people who use, disassemble or dispose of needles as well as those who perform procedures involving sharps or the transmission of blood borne pathogens. Certain factors can increase the possibility of an accidental needle stick. Lack of professional experience, personal protective equipment, training, and the improper disposal of sharps are just a few oversights that can cause injuries and illness involving needles. OSHA has revised the blood borne pathogen standard in conformance with the requirments of the needle stick safety and prevention act. This act includes engineering controls, an exposure control plan, and technology (establishing and maintaining a log of percutaneous injuries from contaminated needles and sharps). Conducting engineering and work practice controls can eliminate or minimize employee exposure to injuries and illnesses.

  1. Needle Stick Prevention Practices:
  • Employees who are exposed to blood must be trained on the hazards and safety measures associated with blood borne pathogens.
  • Employees must use engineering controls and safe medical devices.
  • PPE must be used when necessary.
  • Employer should maintain a log for occupational illnesses and a log for sharps injuries.
  • All workplaces with 10 or less employees are required to maintain records (blood, sharps injuries).
  • A comprehensive sharps injury prevention program must be in place. This includes:
    • Improving equipment
    • Effective disposal system
    • Proper decontamination procedures
    • Safety guidelines
    • Employee training
  • For sharps injuries:
    • Immediately wash with soap and water.
    • Wash nose, eyes, mouth or skin with water (flush/splash).
    • Report the incident to supervisor and seek medical attention..
  • Cover any cuts and remove jewelry before using gloves.
  • Wash or sanitize your hands after each task.
  • Use biohazard bags and container for disposable materials.
  • Complete the company training program before working with blood borne pathogens.
  • The blood borne pathogens standard applies to all occupational exposure to blood or infections materials.