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Tuesday 7:01 CST, June 30, 2015

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Sentinel Event Alert, Issue 22: Preventing needlestick and sharps injuries

August 1, 2001

sea 22 needleHealth care workers are exposed to a wide range of hazards in the workplace, especially hazards associated with medical equipment. The risk of injury from needles and sharps, including disposable needles, over-the-needle catheters, suture needles, lancets and scalpels, continues to expose health care workers to serious and potentially fatal infections from blood borne pathogens such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). "Though most organizations believe they are doing what is necessary to prevent injuries, needlestick and sharps injuries continue to occur," says Nancy Quick, CSP, CIH, compliance assistance specialist, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). "And, though cost is often cited as a factor for not using safer devices, it is actually a savings when you consider the cost of treating the individual once an injury occurs."