Needlestick and sharps injuries are major concerns at hospitals, healthcare facilities, and labs, with an estimated 800,000 injuries occurring annually in the United States. A CDC study estimates that the average hospital reports 30 needlestick injuries per 100 beds each year. While the majority of these injuries don’t result in the transmission of infections, there are ways to reduce the direct and indirect facility costs, while also avoiding the emotional toll these injuries can have on healthcare workers.
From the beginning of the blood draw through cleanup and disposal, there are a number of cross-contamination and bloodborne pathogen exposure risks. Following step-by-step safety measures and using well-designed and organized phlebotomy stations, carts, and trays not only reduces accidents and injuries, but also helps expedite the blood-draw process.
These easy-to-implement solutions can reduce occurrences of needlestick and sharps injuries:
- PPE Apparel: Well-fitting PPE apparel won’t get in the way of your work. Place glove dispensers that hold multiple sizes to ensure the proper gloves are always on hand. Use lab coats with fitted cuffs and face masks to keep exposed skin covered and protected.
- Sharps Containers: 22% of injuries involving hollow-bore needles happen during or after disposal. Help reduce this number with puncture- and leak-resistant sharps containers that hook onto carts or hang easily on walls.
- Recapping Devices: OSHA prohibits recapping needles by hand unless no other alternative exists, but this practice still makes up 6% of needlestick injuries. Remain OSHA compliant and protect workers with needle protection and recapping devices.
- Transfer and IV Systems: Needle-free transfer devices, protected-needle IV systems, and IV catheters that encase needles after use are designed to prevent injuries while transferring blood and fluids from a syringe to a specimen container.
- Safety Needles and Shields: Help reduce phlebotomy injuries with needle shields and safety needles, including self-blunting or butterfly types