Fact Sheet

Needlesticks and Sharps Injuries

As defined by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA): Bloodborne pathogens are pathogenic microorganisms that are present in human blood and can cause disease in humans. These pathogens include, but are not limited to, hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

OSHA reports that HCV infection is the most common chronic bloodborne infection in the United States, affecting approximately 4 million people. Hepatitis C infection is caused most commonly by needlestick injuries. HCV infection often occurs with no symptoms, but chronic infection develops in 75 percent to 85 percent of patients, with 70 percent developing active liver disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control in 1998.

Recommendations

Identify all employees whose job exposes them to blood

Write an exposure plan

Provide training to all employees and volunteers whose job responsibilities expose them to blood at no cost to them and during their normal working hours.

Prevent exposure

Resources

Occupational Safety & Health Administration

Needlesticks/Sharps Injuries

Bloodborne Pathogens and Needlestick Prevention

Universal Precautions

Characteristics of Needle Device Safety Features Checklist

Bloodborne Pathogens Disposal Container Checklist

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Guidelines Checklist

Protect Staff From Bloodborne Pathogen Contamination