Sharps Safety In All Climates

BY: Angelica Minoia

Despite right now being a time of dismay with Covid-19 affecting our way of life both at home and in the workplace, sharps safety is important during all times. With that being said, there is a compliance piece of the puzzle when it comes to sharps safety. We will be sharing some best practices below to be a safety and compliance resource for you.

When most people think of sharps, the first thing that comes to mind is getting poked by a needle but it goes beyond that. Sharps that are not handled properly help contribute to the spread of disease. This is especially so during the current coronavirus pandemic. More long term illnesses are at the highest risk of being spread through sharps that are not properly handled. According to the World Health Organization, sharps related injuries for healthcare professionals for Hepatitis B and C are responsible for 38 percent of infections. Proper compliance training can sometimes be a cost-cutting measure but often ends up being more costly because sharps related injuries can cost an organization anywhere from $71 to $5,000 for initial and follow up treatment. As a result of this, now more than ever sharps compliance needs to be improved and not overlooked.

It all starts with a rock-solid Exposure Control Plan.  Our suggestions for establishing your ECP are below:

  1. Identify and understand who of your staff is at the highest risk of a sharps related injury

Understand your staff’s role and job duties, who handles sharps devices most often. After this assessment, you will have a better understanding of where to focus your compliance, work practice controls, and safety strategy. You can dig deeper and think about where these injuries are most likely to occur such as patient rooms and operating rooms.

      2. Understanding when sharps related injuries are most likely to occur

You can develop an organization-wide strategy of how to properly dispose of sharps based on when sharps injuries are most likely to occur. For example, have your staff place their contaminated sharps into a sharps disposal container immediately after use to prevent injuries.

      3. Knowing what sharps devices pose the highest risk of injury

When you know which devices are responsible for the highest rate of injuries in your organization, you can tailor an ECP around that specific device. Possibly look for safer replacement equipment and workplace safety policies and procedures.

Overall, it is important to maintain compliance with sharps use and disposal to reduce the risk of injury and to prevent expensive and serious workplace accidents. One step that can be taken is by taking our Sharps Safety compliance course. To learn more, visit us today!