Sharps and needlestick injuries
Special care should be taken during biological procedures to prevent injuries occurring while handling sharps such as needles, scalpels and stitch cutters.
Accidents resulting from the handling and disposing of sharps during such procedures potentially involve a high risk of exposure to blood-borne infections such as Hepatitis B & C, or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
In order to minimise the risk of injury associated with the handling of sharps, it is essential that:
- safe work practices are adopted (i.e. standard precautions), including providing approved receptacles for disposal at the point of use, and
- immunisation, information and training is provided to staff and students working in high risk areas.
All needlestick and other sharps injuries must be immediately reported to the supervisor of the work area.
have a responsibility to ensure that:
- the appropriate intervention is provided,
- action is taken to prevent the accident from happening again, and
- any accident involving potential exposure to blood or body fluids is immediately reported using the HIRO (Hazard and Incident Reporting Online) system.
- Communicable diseases section of this web site
NSW Health Department
- Infection Control Policy, replaces Infection Control Policy (opens an external site)
- HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C - Management of Health Care Workers Potentially Exposed (opens an external site)
Safe Work Australia (Australian Government)
- National Code of Practice for the Control of Work Related Exposure to Hepatitis and HIV (blood-borne) Viruses (PDF, 170kB) (opens an external site)
[NOHSC 2010 2003]
Department of Health (Australian Government)
- Infection control guidelines for the prevention of transmission of infectious diseases in the health care setting (opens an external site)
Canberra, January 2004