From the chief executive and the board to the healthcare staff, everybody has a role to play in sharps injury prevention. Medical professionals have a duty to protect themselves and others around them, while employers are responsible for assessing and reducing the risk of exposure as much as possible.2
The complete removal of hazardous material from the workspace is the most effective way to prevent injury, and this approach should be used whenever possible:
- Removing sharps and needles, for example by substituting jet injectors for needles and syringes or using needleless intravenous systems
- Eliminating all unnecessary injections
- Eliminating unnecessary sharps such as towel clips.
If the risk cannot be prevented, then the exposure to sharps and hazardous substances must be effectively controlled.
Implementing engineering controls, which are used to isolate or remove hazards from a workplace, can assist in significantly reducing the threat.
Some examples of these controls include the use of safety-engineered devices like retractable needles, safety lancets, blunt needles, needle counters and blade removers for all procedures.