The 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.