Needlestick Injuries in the Workplace

Needlestick injury can be very serious and fatal. This is an injury caused by accidental puncturing of the skin by used needles. There are many blood-borne diseases that can be transmitted by this injury such as the immunodeficiency virus or HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C diseases. Hence, if you are working in a hospital or a patient who needs to be punctured by a needle, always make sure that it is unused and clean to avoid incurring such injuries.

What to Do After the Injury?

To prevent the disease or injury from becoming worse, you need to immediately do a few things such as:

  • Wash the wound or punctured skin immediately with soap and tap water.
  • In the absence of soap and water, use any alcohol-based solutions or hand rubs instead.
  • In case the injury happened at work, you need to immediately report the incident to your occupational health officer as you will need to fill in a few forms to report the incident.
  • Seek medical attention immediately.

How to Reduce Needlestick Injury?

Despite needlestick injury being very common incidents in hospitals, there are still ways on how you can reduce the risk of incurring such injury. Here are some of the things you can do to reduce needlestick injury:

  • If you are a health worker or medical practitioner who has to deal with blood all the time, it is imperative that you get hepatitis vaccine shots. This will help prevent you from contracting any from constant exposure.
  • It is very important that you adhere and follow closely all safety rules and regulations in the workplace.
  • It can be very helpful to take regular refresher courses to be updated on new safety developments and other methods you can do to prevent needlestick injury.
  • As much as possible, limit needle use. If you don’t need it, take it to a safe place where it cannot accidentally puncture anyone.
  • Keep in mind that even if you are wearing latex gloves, it won’t protect you from needlestick injury. Hence, extra precautions are still important.
  • Bending or snapping used needles are a no-no. Avoid doing that as it might accidentally puncture your hands.
  • Never recap needles that are already used to avoid mistaking it for unused needles.
  • Make sure to dispose off all used needles in a visibly labeled puncture-proof container.

Some Things to Remember

Here are just a few reminders you need to keep in mind about needlestick injury:

  • Some of the most common manifestations of needlestick injury are hepatitis B and C as well as HIV. If you happen to have any of these diseases, it could potentially be associated with a needlestick injury.
  • Make sure to thoroughly wash the injured skin with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately.

Needlestick injury may be very common in the health industry but they can be prevented and reduce chances of this injury from occurring. Follow the safety guidelines of your workplace and make sure to properly dispose any used needle to reduce chances of needlestick injury from happening.