Sharps Safety Tips

February 16, 2015

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that each year 385,000 needle sticks and other sharps-related injuries are sustained by hospital-based healthcare personnel; an average of 1,000 sharps injuries per day.   

Blood borne pathogens are viruses or infectious agents carried by human blood and body fluids. They can enter our bodies and cause disease and immune deficiencies, which can sometimes lead to death.

Sharps Safety

Sharps Safety Tips: 

1. Focus on what you are doing while carrying a sharp object.

2. Do not multi-task while handling a sharp object.

3. Make sure you handle sharps properly (knives and scissors with sharp edge pointed down; syringe/needles held above waist and pointed up)

4. Dispose of sharps in designated sharp containers.

5. Do not put sharps in your pocket unprotected.

6. Make sure knives and scissors are stored in a safe place or in a knife block.

7. Never recap needles.

8. Use one hand to activate the safety device on the safety needle/syringe.

9. Replace sharps containers when they are 2/3rds full.

10. NEVER reach into a sharps container to retrieve something.

What to Do If You Are Accidentally Stuck By a Used Needle or Other Sharp

If you are accidentally stuck by another person’s used needle or other sharp:

Wash the exposed area right away with water and soap or use a skin disinfectant (antiseptic) such as rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer.

Seek immediate medical attention by calling your physician or local hospital.

Follow these same instructions if you get blood or other bodily fluids in your eyes, nose, mouth, or on your skin. For more information on viruses and needle-stick prevention, visit the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s website.

Although sharp devices can cause injuries anywhere within the healthcare environment, NaSH data show that the majority (39%) of injuries occur on inpatient units, particularly medical floors and intensive care units, and in operating rooms. Injuries most often occur after use and before disposal of a sharp device (40%), during use of a sharp device on a patient (41%), and during or after disposal (15%)

Follow these tips to protect your patient and yourself!

1 thought on “Sharps Safety Tips”

  1. A friend of mine is going to school to become a doctor, so they talk about sharps safety a lot. I like your point about disinfecting any exposed area with rubbing alcohol immediately after. You never know what kind of infections might be on scalpels or used needles, so this is good practice for everyone in my opinion.