Needlestick Injuries

The Health & Safety Executive produces guidance on a range of issues for employers and employees including two particularly useful documents specific to needle stick injuries:

Health & Safety (Sharp Instruments in Healthcare) Regulations 2013

All employers are required under existing health and safety law to ensure that risks from sharps injuries are adequately assessed and appropriate control measures are in place. The Sharps Regulations build on the existing law and provide specific detail on requirements that must be taken by healthcare employers and their contractors. Although this refers to healthcare workplaces where needles and sharps are in regular use, there are various points which are still relevant for accidental contact with sharps elsewhere.

Click here for the full HSE guidance sheet.

Blood-borne viruses in the workplace

If you are an employer or employee, self-employed or a safety representative, and involved in work where exposure to blood or other body fluids may occur, you should read this guidance. It will help you to understand: - what blood-borne viruses (BBVs) are; - the types of work where exposure to BBVs may occur and how BBVs are spread; - the legal duties of employers and employees; - the action to be taken after possible infection with a BBV; - special considerations for first aiders

Click here for the full HSE guidance sheet.

Elements you will need to consider include:

• use of specialist cut / puncture resistant gloves for staff at risk • training staff on what to do if they do suffer a needle stick injury • occupational health referrals • consider any infections (Hep B, C, HIV etc) which may be in the blood • immunisation?

For further information and guidance visit the HSE website:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/healthservices/needlesticks/resources.htm

http://www.hse.gov.uk/biosafety/blood-borne-viruses/avoiding-sharps-injuries.htm

http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/healthrisks/hazardous-substances/harmful-micro-organisms/blood-borne-viruses.htm

Information courtesy of the HSE