1.10 Occupational Safety: Prevention and Exposure Management (including sharps)

undefinedThe Health and Safety (Sharp Instruments in Healthcare) Regulations 2013 outline the regulatory requirements for employers and contractors in the healthcare sector in relation to:

Sharps handling must be assessed, kept to a minimum and eliminated if possible with the use of approved safety devices.

Manufacturers’ instructions for safe use and disposal must be followed.

Needles must not be re-sheathed/recapped.4

Always dispose of needles and syringes as 1 unit.

If a safety device is being used safety mechanisms must be deployed before disposal.

A significant occupational exposure is:

There is a potential risk of transmission of a Blood Borne Virus (BBV) from a significant occupational exposure and staff must understand the actions they should take when a significant occupational exposure incident takes place. There is a legal requirement to report all sharps injuries and near misses to line managers/employers.  

For the management of an occupational exposure incident see Appendix 10

Further information can be found in the occupational exposure management (including sharps) literature review.

4  A local risk assessment is required if re-sheathing is undertaken using a safe technique for example anaesthetic administration in dentistry.