What to Know About Needlestick and Sharps InjuriesFebruary 5, 2019
It goes without saying that needles and other sharp objects can be dangerous. Needlestick and sharps injuries happen when needles or other sharp objects pierce someone’s skin. This can occur when people use, disassemble, or discard needles. These injuries can also occur due to other sharp objects, such as scissors and razor blades.
According to a report by the Environmental Research and Education Foundation, as well as the Solid Waste Association of North America, approximately 781 to 1,484 needlestick-related injuries are reported each year at solid waste and recycling material recovery facilities.
Health Care Workers
Though these injuries often occur in multiple industries, they are most commonly seen among health care professionals who use needles and similar sharps to draw blood.
Many other activities can also contribute to the risk of these injuries. Such activities include:
- Bumping into a needle or sharp, or into another employee who is in possession of a needle or sharp
- Disposing of needles that are attached to tubing
- Working too hastily
- Recapping the needle
- Transferring bodily fluids using needles or other destructive equipment
- Failing to use puncture-resistant bags when disposing of needles
- Maneuvering a needle while it is in the client
- Failing to establish proper workstations
Due to the risk of the transmission of viruses such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV, just one injury can have a serious and immensely negative impact on the individual who received it. That is why it is important to initiate controls and protocols necessary to prevent such accidents.
Elimination. Elimination involves finding ways to reduce or do away with the use of needles and sharps.
Engineering Controls. Engineering controls deal with methods of safely disposing of needles and sharps. This can be done with things such as specialized disposal containers in order to decrease risk. Ensuring that each needle has its own safety features can make a big difference as well.
Protective Equipment. The use of protective equipment for each individual is somewhat self-explanatory. Personal protective equipment (PPE) includes items such as needlestick-resistant gloves.
Work-Practice Controls. Work-practice controls consist of processes by which these injuries are reduced. This includes practices such as avoiding the passage of needles and other sharp objects by hand, and not carrying these objects in trash bags or other thin, easily punctured bags – especially when held close to the body.
All practices should also meet the bloodborne pathogen standards of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
What if You Still Experience a Needlestick or Sharps Injury?
Even after taking all of the aforementioned safety measures, needlestick and sharps injuries can still occur. Therefore, it is important to know what to do if you are stuck by a needle or other sharp object:
- Use soap and water to wash off the area
- Report the injury to your employer as soon as possible
- Seek medical help
The Media Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello Help Those Who Have Been Injured by Needlesticks On the Job
If you or a loved one has been injured while on the job, it can affect your physical, emotional, and financial wellbeing. You deserve to be compensated for your injury. At the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello, our Media Workers’ Compensation lawyers work hard to help our clients get what they deserve. For a free consultation, contact us online at or call us at 610-892-4940 today. We serve clients in Delaware County, Media, and Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Lancaster, Montgomery County, Norristown, Philadelphia, Reading, West Chester, and across Pennsylvania.