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Accidental Needlesticks: What Healthcare Employees Need to Know

Updated: May 16

Treatment for Needlestick Injury

Accidental needlesticks are one of the most under-reported injuries in the healthcare industry. While the chance of a bloodborne illness being transmitted after an accidental needlestick is relatively low, healthcare professionals should still prioritize educating employees on what to do in the event that an accident occurs as well as how they can maintain proper and safe medical waste disposal in Montgomery County.

If you, a coworker, or an employee suffers an accidental needlestick, follow these steps:

  1. Clean the wound. Immediatelyfollowing an accidental stick, clean the wound with soap and water.

  2. Locate the source of the stick. After cleaning the wound, locate the source of the needlestick. Do not dispose of the needle after an accident until it has been tested.

  3. Test the source for bloodborne illnesses. If possible, test the sharp end of the needle for bloodborne illnesses, including HIV and hepatitis B and C.

  4. Administer PEP if needed. If the source of the injury has been determined to contain a risk of HIV transmission, have the employee begin post-exposure prophylaxis (or “PEP”) treatments as soon as possible. PEP is a four-week emergency treatment course that can significantly reduce the risk of HIV-transmission if administered within 24 hours of exposure to the virus.

  5. Educate the worker. After immediate steps have been taken to protect the employee’s health, determine why the accident occurred. Was the needle left out instead of being placed in an OSHA-approved sharps container? Was the employee mishandling the needle? Educate the employee on proper sharps usage and disposal following the accident to prevent future incidents.

Using OSHA-approved sharps containers like those available from Choice MedWaste can significantly reduce the risks associated with accidental needlesticks. If you’d like to learn more about what you can do to help prevent needlestick injuries or you’re interested in scheduling an appointment for medical or pharmaceutical waste management in Montgomery County, give Choice MedWaste a call today at 302-766-7575.

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