Tips on Avoiding Needlesticks

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Needlesticks have been ranked as eighth on the list of Top 10 Health Technology Hazards for 2011. The number of reports is staggering even with the emphasis on training and prevention during the past 20 years.

Following are steps that employees can take to avoid needlesticks:

1. Avoid the use of needles where safe and effective alternatives are available.

2. Help your employer select and evaluate devices with safety features.

3. Use devices with safety features provided by your employer.

4. Avoid recapping, bending, or removing used needles.

5. Plan safe handling and disposal before beginning any procedure using needles.

6. Dispose of used needle devices promptly in appropriate sharps disposal containers.

7. Report all needlestick and other sharps-related injuries promptly.

8. Tell your employer about hazards from needles that you observe in your work environment.

9. Participate in bloodborne pathogen training and follow recommended infection prevention practices, including hepatitis B vaccination.