5 Steps for Workplace Needlestick Injury Prevention

It is important to note that needlestick injuries can occur at every stage of needle use, so it is vital to use disposal.

In healthcare, nurses, physicians, and laboratory staff are at higher risk of needlestick injuries.

The study found the top workplace needlestick injury causes:

  • Two-handed recapping of needles
  • Unsafe collection and disposal of sharps waste
  • Fatigue
  • Using improper procedures
  • Dangerous equipment
  • Limited staff experience
  • Stressful work conditions in a fast-paced environment

Preventing injuries from sharps and needlesticks is part of the “routine practices” healthcare workers use.

Healthcare workers can take several steps to prevent needlestick injuries in the workplace.

Needlestick Injury Prevention and Response: 5 Key Steps

  1. Use safer alternatives to needles whenever possible
  2. Always wear protective equipment and follow safety procedures
  3. Have a plan for safe needle disposal and use proper sharps containers
  4. Get training on infection prevention and report any injuries
  5. Develop a comprehensive needlestick injury response plan

Let’s explain these steps in detail. How healthcare providers can protect themselves from needlestick injuries:

  1. Use Safer Alternatives:

  • Needle-free injectors and blunt-tip cannulas provide practical alternatives to traditional needles, reducing the risk of needlestick injuries and minimizing medical waste.
  • Dermatologists, for instance, can opt for blunt-tip cannulas for procedures requiring many treatments. These offer a safer alternative to hypodermic needles.
  1. Put in place Safety Features and Devices:

  • Integrate safety-engineered sharps into healthcare practices. These tools come with shields or retractable needles.
  • Needle safety devices provide a barrier between healthcare providers and needlestick injuries.
  • Re-sheathing devices (needle caps, safety locks) are standard safety features
  • Butterfly needles use a spring mechanism for safety
  1. Promote Education and Safe Work Practices:

  • Conduct comprehensive training programs for healthcare workers focused on needlestick injury prevention. This includes safe handling of needles and proper disposal of sharps.
  • Encourage professionals to adopt practices like avoiding needle recapping and planning for the secure handling and disposal of needles before use.

To learn more, check out our Needle-Stick Safety and Prevention Training program at American Healthcare Compliance.

  1. Ensure Proper Sharps Disposal:

  • Establish a system for the proper disposal of used needles. Puncture-resistant sharps containers should be in healthcare settings for convenient and secure disposal.
  • Without an FDA-cleared container, a heavy-duty plastic household container can serve as an alternative.
  1. Develop a Comprehensive Response Plan for Needlestick Injuries:

  • Create detailed protocols for immediate first aid in case of a needlestick injury. It may involve washing the exposed area with soap and water or using a skin disinfectant
  • Ensure healthcare workers have access to medical attention following a needlestick injury. It could include contacting a physician or visiting a local hospital
  • Please review and update the response plan to incorporate new safety measures and best practices, ensuring it remains essential and effective over time

Statistics about needlestick injuries in the workplace

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, approximately 5.6 million healthcare workers in the US are at risk of occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens via needlestick or other sharps-related injuries.

To prevent needlestick injuries among healthcare workers, American Healthcare Compliance offers crucial training.

Our infection control training programs are helping medical professionals increase their knowledge and skills.

Kindly complete the provided form and proceed to get in touch with us.


Needlestick injuries are hazardous for healthcare workers, but they can be prevented. Healthcare workers can significantly decrease the number of needlestick injuries that happen by being cautious and putting safety measures in place.

Maintaining workplace safety requires being current on safety standards and best practices. Healthcare organizations may protect their dedicated personnel and patients by prioritizing these actions.

Protecting healthcare workers is crucial, and every measure contributes to their well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Needlestick Injuries

What is the protocol for needlestick injury in the workplace?

In the event of a needlestick injury, it’s crucial to follow these steps:

  • Treat: Immediately wash the injury with soap and water. If exposed to the eyes, nose, mouth, or skin, flush with water or saline.
  • Report: Notify your supervisor of the incident.
  • Evaluate: Assess the potential disease exposure (e.g., HIV, HBV, HCV) and seek necessary medical attention.
  • Test: Conduct baseline and follow-up testing as needed.
  • Record: Document the injury in the sharps injury log for accurate reporting.

What is the common cause of needlestick injury?

Common causes include two-handed needle recapping, improper collection and disposal of sharps waste, fatigue, using incorrect procedures, unsafe equipment, limited staff experience, and high-stress work environments.

What is the OSHA standard for the prevention of needlestick injuries?

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has established the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard (29 CFR 1910.1030) to safeguard healthcare workers against needlestick injuries.

What is needlestick training?

Needlestick training provides healthcare professionals with knowledge and skills to prevent needlestick injuries. It covers safe needle handling, disposal, infection prevention, and reporting procedures to enhance workplace safety.

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