Needle with drop of bloodThe Midlothian Council sharps health & safety document is excellent and worth a review when updating your own local authority documentation.

It is brief and to the point, clear and concise, and covers all the bases. Regrettably it does not give contact information, give contact details for the appropriate Council department that might arrange collection and disposal of needles and syringes, or list the addresses of local Accident & Emergency Departments. And the document takes a bit of finding, buried deep in the Council website at Home/Downloads/Education and learning/Education policies/Policy guidelines/Health and safety/Health and safety.

Download here.

Its a rather stark contrast between such a carefully crafted document and the advice given by the Council to those who might find some discarded sharps. Since the public must act as the eyes and ears of the Council, having clear information on the Council website about who to contact is invaluable if discarded sharps and other drug litter is to be cleared quickly and safely.

But go to the Midlothian Council website and bang your head against the proverbial brick wall. Continue reading “Local Authority sharps health & safety document” »

In a long-overdue move, the depth and extent of which has yet properly to be seen, HSE is to carry on with – or is that pick up the threads of? – its programme of local authority waste management services inspections after a report found that 14% of councils were ‘non-compliant’.

There is much to be done as standards of safety, including hygiene and biological safety matters, have slipped noticeably as margins are sliced ever thiner.

Regrettably, it is those important and not insubstantial but diffuse hygiene and waste management activities of litter picking, clinical and hygiene waste services areas and cleaning in public lavatories, Local Authority care homes, hostels etc that are unlikely to be considered for inspection. Perhaps HSE is simply unaware that these activities exist, or unaware of their impact. Most likely, it is simply the intention to aim for the low hanging fruit and concentrate of routing kerbside collections, recycling services etc, since this might deliver a bigger impact on limited funding.

But accidents and near misses continue to happen, and these cannot be overlooked, intentionally or otherwise, by HSE, by the Environment Agency and Environmental Health Officers. These are dangerous jobs, and the health & safety of employees should be paramount. If the regulators don’t make an effort, its hard to see how the employers might be encouraged to do so.




Needle with drop of bloodBy chance, we have come across a note circulated by the 412th Medical Group across the US Edwards Air Force base concerning safe disposal of personal sharps.

No doubt the base has a medical unit, and I presume that this will deliver most inpatient and outpatient/GP care for servicemen and their families, and possibly for some civilian workers also.

So the note is surprising. Do they need to be told not to put used needles etc into the trash? The information is brief and to the point (no pun intended). It gives good advice, and is obviously intended to enhance health & safety by prevention of sharps injury from carelessly discarded sharps.

But I can’t help wondering why this is necessary. Presumably, there have been one of more incidents, injuries or near misses.

There can’t be that many insulin dependent diabetics among the workforce, and probably far fewer than in the general community since insulin dependent diabetes might preclude Air Force employment.

So just what are the rest of them injecting?

Perhaps it is legitimate and perhaps not. If the latter, I do hope that those concerned are not allowed to do anything important, like fly planes, drop bombs or carry guns!



Needle with drop of bloodParents sue hospital over illness 7-year-old allegedly contracted from needlestick

GRETNA, Louisiana – The parents of a 7-year-old who allegedly contracted an auto-immune disorder after being stuck by a contaminated needle while in the care of a local hospital and healthcare providers are suing.

Joseph A. Vizzini and Jessica Vizzini, individually and on behalf of their minor child, filed suit against Ochsner Clinic Foundation, Lisa De Fusco MD, Michael Saucier MD and an unknown lab technician in the 24th Judicial District Court on Oct. 9.

The Vizzinis claim that their child was a patient at the Rothchild Ochsner Pediatric Clinic on Oct. 11, 2011 when an unknown lab technician accidentally stuck herself with a needle and proceeded to use the same needle – that was then contaminated – to draw blood from their child. The plaintiffs allege that following the incident their child has developed several serious health conditions, including Reynaud’s Disease, arthritis, ethromalalgia vascular disease, autoimmune disorder and migraines, they attribute his exposure to the lab technicians blood via the contaminated needle. The Vizzinis contend that treating physicians have been unable to provide an explanation for their child’s medical problems.

The defendant is accused of medical malpractice.

An unspecified amount in damages is sought by the plaintiff.


We consider the risks of any sharps injury are of Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B and/or HIV infection. In reality, there are many more bacterial and viral infections documented to have been transmitted by sharps injury, and one or to “funnies” including protozoal infection though these latter tend to occur only in laboratory settings.

In this case, however, the advocates seem to propose the most remarkable array of consequences in conjunction with a possible sharps injury event.




Needle with drop of bloodAn interesting report from Kevitt and Hayes of Corporate Health Ireland and the Occupational Health Department of Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, respectively.

BACKGROUND: Sharps injuries create a high volume of occupational health (OH) workload in the health care setting. The deadline for implementation of the European Sharps Directive was 11 May 2013.

AIMS: To compare the epidemiology of sharps injuries reported in a large Irish teaching hospital in 2008-10 with those reported between 1998 and 2000.

METHODS: We compared data from electronic and paper OH records of sharps injuries reported between 1 January 2008 and 31 December 2010 with those from a previous study of sharps injuries reported between 1 January 1998 and 31 December 2000.

RESULTS: A total of 325 sharps injuries were reported in 2008-10, compared with 332 in 1998-2000 (P = 0.568). Hepatitis B immunity in sharps injury recipients in 2008-10 was 87% compared to 86% in 1998-2000 (P = 0.32). Glove use was reported in 80% of reported injuries in 2008-10 compared with 74% in 1998-2000 (P = 0.32). In 2008-10, 49% of injuries occurred during disposal or following improper disposal of sharps, compared with 42% in 1998-2000.

CONCLUSIONS: There was no significant change in the epidemiology of sharps injuries reported between 2008 and 2010 compared with 1998-2000. Further education in standard precautions, safe disposal of sharps, the use of safety-engineered devices and the benefits of hepatitis B immunization is needed.

Kevitt F, Hayes B. Sharps injuries in a teaching hospital: changes over a decade. Occupational Medicine (2015) in the press

Continue reading “Did the European Sharps Directive make a difference?” »

Needle with drop of bloodIn the UK, we consider it a relatively straightforward process, to dispose used sharps into a compliant sharps bin and have these collected for approved incineration.  But not everyone finds this so straightforward.

Chat on the UK-Muscle Body Building Community web forum centres around those who are, I presume, self-infecting illegal anabolic steroid products.   Such is the law in the UK, import and sale of these are similar drug products is illegal though their use by individuals is not. We need not concern ourselves here with the former matter, but must acknowledge that the administration of these products is highly dangerous, especially when used in excess and/or administered from shared vials with shared needles and syringes.

Leaving aside the considerable risk of infection with Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, the latter now increasing at an alarming rate among gym users/bodybuilders, and HIV, there is the question of disposal.

Safety is essential; many gyms have responded by placing secure sharps bins in the toilets while those using standard sharps bins must ask themselves if they are facilitating the retrieval of used sharps for re-use. Despite sharps bin provision, many gyms report problems of drug litter in changing rooms and toilets, placing other gym members and staff/cleaners at particular risk.

Though this group may be accepted into needle exchange schemes, providing new injection equipment and sterile swabs, antiseptics etc, there are many ‘responsible’ individuals who will continue with this dangerous drug use but who wish to dispose of their used needles responsibly. Continue reading “Disposing used sharps” »

Needle with drop of bloodA female police officer has suffered a ‘small’ puncture to her hand after being wounded with a hypodermic needle in Cheltenham.

The officer was hurt while arresting a man on suspicion of trying to break into cars.

It’s unknown whether the wound was a result of the resistance by the suspect or whether it was an accidental consequence of the struggle.

The suspect was also taken to hospital.

The incident happened on Douro Road in Cheltenham.

We hope that there will be no adverse sequelae to this incident and wish the lady well.




A new and updated version of the PHE publication Eye of the Needle: United Kingdom Surveillance of Significant Occupational Exposures to Bloodborne Viruses in Healthcare Workers is published this month.

Available for download here.

The Royal College of Nursing has commented in the way of all other Trades Unions, to highlight the continued risk of exposure of nursing staff to bloodborne viruses from sharps injuries, with figures [from Eye of the Needle] showing a rise in staff reporting these incidents.

This is despite the availability of safety-engineered devices and new rules promoting their use, noted Public Health England in its Eye of the Needle report.

It found the number of staff exposed to bloodborne viruses via sharps injuries increased by a third from 373 in 2004 to 496 in 2013. Around 80% of the 4,830 incidents reported over the period involved doctors, nurses and healthcare assistants.

Of course, the RCN make the strong case for their members but do not make comparisons on an entirely direct level field since, as they allude to albeit obliquely, reporting rates are now considerably increased such that the reported rise rate of injury may be more apparent than real.

It is important to highlight that many NHS Trusts are still dragging their heels in the implementation of safety-engineered sharps safety devices.

If that legally required but now overdue roll-out of safety sharps were to be completed, the incidence of sharps injuries might be reduced considerably. It might also help ancillary and support staff, and waste handlers, all of whom are unrepresented in the PHE report, who suffer sharps injury from carelessly discarded sharps that find their way to waste sacks.

As we have noted previously on the Clinical Waste Discussion Forum, sharps injury to ancillary and support staff, when estimated against number of persons employed, is around 10x greater than for nurses and up to 30x greater than for physicians.

Take care, take great care!



HBlood_Spatterealthcare Workers Still Vulnerable to ‘Splash and Splatter’

In an informative piece in the Conference News section of Medscape, Caroline Helwick reports on a presentation by Amber Mitchell from Vestagen Technical Textiles, in Orlando, Florida, on the hazards and infection risk of splashes and splutter to healthcare workers.

Blood splash exposures to the mouth and eyes of waste handlers, and thus to healthcare housekeeping and ancillary handling healthcare wastes, is a far greater problem than is generally recognised.

At the Clinical Waste Discussion Forum we make no apology for banging on about this. We have been trying for more than 8 years now to raise awareness of this potent infection transmission route. We will not change from that position in the years to come.

Handling clinical/healthcare/offensive/sanitary wastes, call them what you will, requires care at all times, to prevent exposure by sharps injury, contamination of pre-existing cuts, grazes and eczematous lesions, and via the mouth or eyes. In these latter cases, contamination may be direct, or indirect with contamination occurring from contaminated soiled, PPE or unwashed (inadequately washed) hands.

The health, safety and welfare of support staff is of prime importance, and hopefully Amber Mitchell’s work will help get the ball rolling, to raise awareness of the need for higher standards of occupational safety and hygiene that goes far beyond provision of a pair of gloves.




Recycling and waste management business Veolia is investing £1 million in cyclist safety equipment for its fleet of refuse vehicles.

Some good news for a change, especially for cyclists.

The TurnAlarm system, from Vision Techniques, will be fitted to all refuse vehicles, in a bid to improve cyclist safety. Veolia is also specifying the system for all new vehicles over 3.5 tonnes.

TurnAlarm delivers an audible and visual warning to approaching cyclists, with high-intensity LEDs flashing from the side of the vehicle and an audible warning that the ‘vehicle is turning’.

Veolia’s system also includes a module to measure speed, preventing the alarm from activating if the vehicle is travelling at more than 10mph. Blind spot signs will also be displayed on the rear and near side of each vehicle.

The company is also rolling out cyclist awareness training for its drivers, which will be completed by September 2015.

See more at:


Well done, Veolia. Others please follow.




Nearly three quarters of sharps purchased by trusts in England in 2014 do not have safety mechanisms designed to prevent needlestick injuries

Nearly three quarters of sharps purchased by trusts in England in 2014 do not have safety mechanisms designed to prevent needlestick injuries, research by Unison suggests. In response to an inquiry from the union, the NHS Supply Chain revealed that only 28 per cent of sharps devices ordered by trusts were safety devices. This is despite an EU directive introduced in May 2013 that says employers must implement preventive measures to protect healthcare workers from needlestick injuries.

The Health and Safety Executive estimates that as many as 100,000 sharps injuries, which can expose staff to risk of blood-borne infections such as HIV and hepatitis, occur among healthcare workers annually.

Unison head of health Christina McAnea said: ‘100,000 injuries each year is far too many, causing health workers to worry about possible long-term ill heath, and causing deep distress. ‘Health staff work in frantic and highly stressful environments. It is crucial their equipment provides them with adequate protection,’ she added.

Most sharps pose safety risk to staff. Nursing Standard. (2014) 29(7), p.10

Latest Shooting Up report focuses on the changing nature of injecting drug use

The 12th annual report on infections among people who inject drugs (PWID) in the United Kingdom – Shooting Up – has been published by Public Health England.

PWID are vulnerable to a wide range of infections – including those caused by viruses such as HIV and hepatitis B and C, and bacteria such as botulism and group A streptococci – that can cause significant morbidity and mortality. The report examines the extent of infections and the associated risks among PWID under six headings:

Hepatitis C levels are still high

Continue reading “Shooting Up: updated information concerning infection in UK drug users” »

Needle with drop of bloodThere have been increasing numbers of reports concerning attacks using a hypodermic needle as a weapon.

Presently, Gateshead police are investigating as woman is stabbed with needle in what is described as “a terrifying assault”.

Officers have stepped up patrols in the Newbury Avenue area of Gateshead following the bizarre and frightening attack

A woman was assaulted when a man bumped into her and struck her with a suspected needle. The incident happened at 7.50am, on Saturday, as the 27-year-old victim walked down an alleyway in the Newbury Avenue area of Gateshead.

The suspect bumped into her and walked off, leaving the woman with a sharp pain in her side. She then discovered an injury consistent with a needle stick, and attended the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead for treatment. She has since been released.

Northumbria Police are investigating.

Detective Inspector Dave Swinburne, from the force’s major crime team, said: “This is quite an unusual incident but has obviously left the victim incredibly shaken.

“We are carrying out further enquiries to trace the man responsible.

“I’d urge anyone who may have been in the area at the time and passed the man to contact us.

“We have extra officers in the area to provide reassurance to residents and I’d urge anyone with concerns to speak to them.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101, extension 69191, quoting log number 669 11/10/14 or the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.


see also Hunt for Birmingham needle attacker



Sharps-proof or needlestick gloves are vitally important in safe healthcare waste management.

Gloves should be appropriately sized and fit well. Between use, gloves should be aired, if necessary wiped with a medicated tough wipe, and stored with care as the external surfaces may well be contaminated. Worn or defective gloves must be replaced immediately.

Good quality needlestick gloves are expensive, and in regular use their working life ay be rather limited. So it was a surprise to see an advert on Criagslist for a second hand pair of TurtleSkin Gloves.


What is amazing is the audacity of offering a WORN pair or gloves. More particularly, its only the left hand that has been used for several weeks. It shows signs of wear, but be assured that “the right side is 100% not used”.

Suitable for a one-armed waste handler perhaps? Or just second-hand safety?




How secure are your sharps containers? Whether they are in a hospital clinic room or ward, a laboratory, GP surgery or in a public washroom or drug hotspot, sharps containers must be secure.

Containers must be securely assembled. When not in use, the closure should be engaged, though personally I am not entirely happy with the idea of the cover being opened and closed every 5 minutes since with some containers this brings fingers dangerously close to the content within.

The container itself must be located away from the floor where inquisitive children might roam. The evidence for this lies in the number of cases when an unsupervised child has gleefully placed their hand into the mouth of a sharps container as if pulling a prize from a lucky dip barrel.

So it is of concern that in London, Ontario, changes are being sought when it comes to the placement of the city’s needle collection bins after a child was able to grab a used syringe.

Diane Pozeg says the incident happened on July 29th while her son was in the public washroom at the Forks of the Thames while he was with a day camp.

Sharps containers are used to safely collect and store used syringes with needles attached, needles, razor blades, broken glass that has come into contact with blood or other bodily fluids and lancets. The London CAReS program, funded through the City of London, helps to clean and empty the bins and some City of London operations staff also tend to the containers.

She says the young boy was changing in order to play in the splash pad and managed to get his hand into the bin and pull out a syringe.

Pozeg says her son was able to get the needle all the way home where she found it as she was about to tuck him into bed.

“As I was prepping his bed, just fluffing up the sheets, I found a syringe and luckily it still had a cap on it,” Pozeg says. “He had kind of snuck it in there trying to hide it.”

“It just popped out and it just floored me finding it.”


Every sharps container must be properly assembled, and securely located in a location where it cannot tip or fall, and where prying hands cannot reach inside. This extends to waste security of filled and sealed containers awaiting collection for disposal, which are still an occasional target for addicts, and beyond as the containers are processed by the disposal sector operators.



Needle with drop of bloodOn the Clinical Waste Discussion Forum we have often reported on needle finds in a diversity of locations. Parks and gardens, playgrounds, car parks, alleyways and beaches etc are commonly affected locations. Though we will continue to report those which we believe carry some particular interest or learning point there are so many of these, occurring daily, that it no longer becomes newsworthy unless these happen to involve your own locality.

So now, it becomes not where, but how many?

And to kick things off, how about the Birmingham park from where volunteers picked up no less than 700 needles!

More than 700 needles have been found during a community clean-up of a Birmingham park.

Empty bottles of methadone were also found among the narcotics gear at Highgate Park by volunteers who spent ten weeks clearing the grounds to “restore some pride” to the neighbourhood.

The abundance of dangerous drugs paraphernalia prompted one exasperated visitor, called ‘Neil’, to leave a note to addicts pleading with them to stop.”

Continue reading “How many?” »

On the Clinical Waste Discussion Forum, we have reported many individual incidents of carelessly discarded used needles, thrown into the undergrowth or worse into soft sand, in church yards and playgrounds, and on occasions used as an offensive weapon.

This on ranks high on the list of weird:

“A bizarre story out of Powell County where a woman is accused of trying to hide a used needle in a teenager’s pants while running from police.

Stanton Police say 26-year-old Nicki Jones tried to hide a used needle in a teenager’s pants in order to prevent being caught with it by police, who were already hot on her heels due to an active warrant for her arrest.

16-year-old Brenda Compton says she and a friend were sitting in the breezeway at Pinecreek Apartments when they were startled by a stranger who had a very strange request.

“She came running through the hallway and told me to hide the needle. We freaked out and I told her that I wasn’t going to hide anything for her,” said Brenda Compton, who describes the experience as terrifying. “She pulled my pants down and was trying to stick the needle down my pants.”

Thankfully, the needle was capped.”


It’s not long ago that the Clinical Waste Discussion Forum made mention of the considerable IV drug abuse problems in Dundee and the mapping strategies that are being used to combat the problem.

Further news from the city paints a poor picture:


Action on discarded needle danger in Dundee

Experts tackling Dundee’s drug problem want more information about where needles are discarded throughout the city.

The number of victims of needle injuries — often children who come to grief while playing — has sparked public outrage especially in the affected communities.

The problem resurfaced only last month when a young girl suffered a needlestick injury in Ardler. Two days later in the same spot medicine bottles, syringes, spoon packs and empty syringe wrappers were found.

Louise Kerr, whose 10-year-old daughter Tia, sustained the needle wound, said: “They don’t care if they’re putting children at risk, be it their own, or anyone else’s. If they have a drug addiction that’s their problem, but they can’t put other people’s lives at risk.”

Needle wielding drug addict jailed for Dundee salon robbery

A beauty therapist has spoken of the terrifying moment a needle wielding drug addict robbed her newly opened business.

Margaret McManus told of her horror when Christopher Rennie thrust an uncapped hypodermic in the face of her colleague, hairdresser Rachel Burns, at their Meadowside premises Midas Touch.

Rennie, 30, a prisoner at Perth Prison, was sentenced to three years in prison for the assault and robbery on June 12.

Dundee boy,  6, finds used needle in his   garden

A Dundee father has expressed his disgust after his young son picked up a used needle while playing outside his home.

Six-year-old Andrew Cox had been outside his family’s Douglas home when he stumbled upon a discarded syringe.

Dad Andrew, 35, said: “His mum was in the close hanging out the washing and Andrew was running around playing. He came across this needle and, not knowing what it was, picked it up to show his mum.”





An NHS Trust has agreed to pay £75k to a nurse whose marriage broke down after she developed OCD when she was pricked by needle at work.

The trainee nurse has been awarded over £75,000 compensation after a prick on her finger at work transformed her into a cleaning obsessive. Alcinda Tobbal could not kiss or make love to her husband for fear of ‘contamination’ after being jabbed with a dirty needle whilst working as a nurse assistant at Whipps Cross Hospital in east London
The 45-year-old developed a ‘severe’ obsessive compulsive disorder focused on cleanliness after the incident in February 2008, a court heard.

She was dismissed from her job due to the effects of the extreme OCD condition, which saw her wearing gloves even in baking hot weather and scrubbing her children’s shoes with bleach whenever they had been outside.

But the most damaging aspect of her condition was that she became incapable of having intimate relations with, or even kissing, her bus driver husband, leading to the disintegration of their marriage, after he dubbed her ‘mental’. Continue reading “NHS pays £75k to nurse who developed OCD after sharps injury” »

Make Your Own Sharps ContainerWe are repeatedly instructed by the Environment Agency to follow the American standards for aspects of clinical waste management and in particular waste treatment validations. The problem is, certain individuals within the Environment Agency have been bedazzled by the American way, and no doubt by their expenses-paid trips to see for themselves.

Science goes out of the window, and dare not be used in objection to a rigid regimen of regulation since the American way is THE way. Even when it goes wrong and exceptions arise, a quiet diversion is approved ‘on the nod’ but rarely discussed, handed down as if a gift of the gods to be accepted with grace. And don’t dare mention that it contradicts all that might have gone before.

But the generality of “America knows best” is not a sentiment to which I can concur.

The latest cones from the American Diabetes Association and their magazine Diabetes Forecast, The Healthy Living Magazine. Noting that there are no national regulations to tell people how and where to get rid of sharps, the magazine goes on to explain how to make your own sharps container. It’s better than nothing, but that’s not good enough.

We should not overlook the reality that in the absence of any better sharps bin product, this approach is better than nothing. But the standards of clinical waste management across US vary considerably, and much will make your toes curl.

This latest ‘recommendation’ for a DIY sharps bin shows how poor standards of US waste safety really are.

America knows best?  Not always!





Needle with drop of bloodNeedle exchange schemes are a great idea. They permit drug use to be monitored, prevent disease transmission by needle sharing, and reduce dramatically the incidence of discarded needles causing problems in the community.

Regrettably, and perhaps understandably, some residents can’t see past those benefits and would prefer that any needle exchange scheme was in someone else’s back yard. Still others object simply to public money, their money, being spent to support the evils of drug abuse. That is their opinion, but if in no other that a purely financial way they should realise that they have got the equation entirely wrong.

These local residents are perhaps in the former group, but still take to the streets to oppose a local needle exchange scheme – even one that doesn’t exist!

Read more at the Swindon Advertiser



Kevlar inventor Stephanie KwoleyStephanie Kwolek, the inventor of Kevlar — the aramid-fiber body armor that has saved countless lives of soldiers, police and other safety personnel — died June 18, following a brief illness. She was 90.

A low-key industrial chemist at DuPont Co who achieved international fame, Kwolek discovered Kevlar in the mid-1960s. DuPont commercialized it in 1971. Kevlar most famously goes into bulletproof vests, but it also is used to make super-strong rope, protective gloves for meatpackers, fiber-optic cables and as a reinforcement for composites used in a host o f products.

Kwolek was inducted into the Plastics Hall of Fame in 1997 — she is still the only woman in the hall today. That same year, she received the prestigious Perkin Medal from the Society of Chemical Industry’s American Section. Kwolek entered the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1995. She also is a member of the Engineering and Science Hall of Fame. In 1996, she received the National Medal of Technology in a White House ceremony.

Kevlar aramid fibers are, by weight, five times stronger than steel. Continue reading “Stephanie Kwolek, the inventor of Kevlar dies at 90” »

Exeter recycling

More than 2,100 needles were collected last year at the Exeter recycling plant

Discarded hypodermic syringes brought Exeter’s rubbish recycling plant to a halt 869 times last year.

The stoppages happened after needles were thrown into green recycling bins and ended up on a conveyor for sorting.

Each stoppage may last only a few minutes, but staff estimate that the plant lost a week’s productivity because of the problem last year.

Only one of the 20 sorters has been pricked by a needle and was tested negative for infections like HIV.

The city council’s street cleaners and gardeners are picking up about 50 used needles a day

“They never know when a used hypodermic needle is going to suddenly appear in front of them”

An emergency bell is rung each time a needle is spotted and disposed of in a special container.

Continue reading “Needles halt recycling plant’s picking line 869 times” »

A five-year-old schoolboy was jabbed by a heroin addict’s needle which was thrown into his school’s play area minutes before break time yesterday.

The child, who attends North Presentation primary school on the north side of Cork City, picked it up unaware of the danger and was jabbed in the hand, puncturing his skin.

Principal Kathleen Haverty said teachers became aware of the incident immediately, contacted the boy’s parents, and a member of staff accompanied them to the Mercy University Hospital where the boy underwent a series of tests.

He and his family now face an anxious wait for results to see if he has contracted any diseases from the dirty needle.

[read more]

That anxious wait is where the trouble starts. The child’s parents and extended family, the school staff and other parents who have children at that school will all now fear the consequences of this injury, irrespective of what we must hope will be a safe and uneventful period of vigilance without the horrors of bloodborne virus infection.





Breaking newsbbc_news

An 11-year-old boy has been arrested after parents complained children had been jabbed with a diabetes finger-prick pen at school.

Police said they had identified at least 20 children they believed had been jabbed at Moreton Community School in Wolverhampton.

Public health officials have been told and pupils have been advised to have precautionary hepatitis injections.

The child was arrested in Low Hill and bailed until July.

‘Gravity required’

Head teacher Carl Williams said: “We take the health, wellbeing and safety of all our students extremely seriously and we have worked closely with the health experts from Public Health England and the local NHS to advise on the best course of action for the students affected.

“We would like to assure all parents and guardians that we are treating this incident with the gravity required.”

The BBC understands the diabetes finger-prick pen belonged to a parent.

‘Wellbeing of students’

Low Hill neighbourhood police co-ordinator Steve Perry confirmed they received three reports on Tuesday from parents saying children at the Old Fallings Lane school had been jabbed with the pen.

“It has a needle ‘nib’ just 3mm in length so none of the children are seriously hurt and public health officials have advised that the chance of infection is negligible,” he said.

Letters have been sent out to parents of the year seven pupils affected, telling them what they need to do, as well as parents of other pupils to keep them informed.

Dr David Kirrage consultant at the West Midlands West Health Protection Team said: “We have been working closely with the school to advise the best course of action, to ensure the continued health and wellbeing of students involved in the incident.

“We have been liaising with NHS colleagues including the A&E department at New Cross Hospital. We are also contacting local GPs as the students receiving an initial vaccine from A&E will need a couple of follow-up vaccinations from their own family doctor, one and two months after the incident.”


Just what is it about kids, that they find needles so attractive to touch, to pick up, to play with, and when the opportunity arises to stick themselves or each other with them?





A 12-YEAR-OLD boy has suffered a needlestick injury while playing at his inner Brisbane city school, sparking fear among parents their children could catch HIV.

Parents at Brisbane Central State School, which is next to a homeless shelter, are also upset they weren’t all told about the incident, which involved three students.

The Courier-Mail has confirmed at least one of the students underwent blood tests at the Royal Children’s Hospital and was cleared of any infection, but was given immunisations as a result of the rusty needle.

The 12-year-old boy said he was pricked on the thumb after he picked up the syringe, which had a sheath on it, to show a teacher after telling a younger student to put it down.

It is understood hospital staff only saw the needle prick only after applying pressure to the boy’s thumb.

Brisbane Central State School principal Melissa Burke said three boys found the needle behind the basketball courts during their first break on Monday at 11.25am.

She said while syringes had been found on school grounds in the past it was not a common occurrence and ground staff conducted daily sweeps.

“The students, in Years 2, 5 and 7, told a teacher aide – the school’s Workplace Health and Safety Officer – they received a pin prick from the needle so immediate first aid was applied and their hands were also sanitised,” Ms Burke said.

“The school contacted each student’s parents and suggested that they take their child to see their doctor as a precautionary measure.

“Students were advised of the incident at an assembly on Tuesday and were provided with important safety information about what to do if they find a needle.”

She said all parents would be notified about the incident today in the newsletter.

“The school’s highest priority was ensuring the safety of the particular students involved and informing their parents immediately,” she said.

But parents yesterday, who spoke on condition of anonymity said they were upset to hear about the incident from their children rather than the school and were concerned about drug users on St Paul’s Terrace or a nearby homeless shelter throwing them into school grounds.

“Something’s going to happen; IT’s a ticking time bomb,” one parent said.

“I don’t want to read about a child that’s caught HIV from such needles, and that’s them for the rest of their lives. Or it could be hep B or C?”

Salvation Army Major Rick Hoffmann said Pindari, a homeless shelter with a no alcohol and no drugs policy, had not been contacted by the school about the incident but they had increased their night patrols and were now looking into a buying an additional night vision camera.

Pindari also has syringe bins for diabetics.

Predictably, the fear which follows a sharps injury such as this can be worse than the reality of bloodborne virus infection. While we would not wish to diminish in any way, and certainly never to dismiss, that fear let’s hope that’s all it is and that in the longer term no harm is done.



The news media today are headlining the dramatic rise of drug abuse and needle sharing in gyms and sports clubs across the UK, and proposals by NICE to install needle exchange programs within the gym to prevent spread of bloodborne virus disease.

NICE have updated their draft guidelines and slowly, PHE staff will be including high street gyms in their scope of operation while existing needle exchange schemes, often voluntary or charity-funded, will expand to include some gyms in their sphere of operation.

Steroid abuse is rife in gyms. Needle finds in the toilets of even the shiny brand-name gyms has been a problem for cleaners and maintenance staff but has been hushed up to avoid sullying the healthy reputation of the gymnasium. Any help will be invaluable, though ultimately if these pumped up idiots stopped taking illegal and unregulated steroid products their health would be better still. However, , it happens and this new publicity can help if it followed rapidly be those needle exchange schemes and not suppressed by the gym owners, keen to maintain their clean image.

Though there are crime issues involved in the illegal manufacture, distribution and supply of these anabolic steroids and other injectables used as tanning enhancers, safety and protection of public health is ever more important.

Nonetheless, the abuse of injectable drugs is now rife and initiatives such as needle exchange schemes are essential in order to stop the spread of bloodborne virus disease.

This suggests that sharps bins and subsequent disposal should be appropriate for pharmaceutical waste disposal, though colour coding of sharps bins, with the exception of purple-lidded bins for cytotoxics, seems to have fallen largely into disarray.


see also
see also Further drug abuse in sports and gymnasia
see also Muscle bound sharps users

…and so on!

Indeed, if you search this site for the word GYM you will find much more. Looking back through the archive files you will find much more, going way back to late 2006 when the Clinical Waste Discussion Forum first raised this observation which has subsequently grown massively, to become something of a global health issue.




“A 2-year-old girl became the second child reported to be stuck by a “dirty needle” in Rolla, Missouri in the last seven weeks.

“According to the Rolla Police Department’s daily media log, an entry for Sunday, April 6, stated that the girl was “stuck in her left palm with a ‘dirty needle’ while playing in her front yard” in the 900 block of Fourth Street.

“According to Rolla police, a 12-year-old boy was stuck in the arm by a “dirty needle” after he and another 12-year-old boy started playing with several used hypodermic syringes they found Feb. 21 in the 1000 block of Laguille Court near Mark Twain Elementary School.

“A post from Sunday on the police department’s Facebook page states that “drug users (who also carry communicable diseases) would rather throw their used contaminated needles in conspicuous places so they don’t get busted by the police for being in ‘possession of drug paraphernalia.’ The problem is when we have heavy rains like we had a few days ago those needles float out of those places and into places where children can find them.

Read more:

See also 2-year old stuck by discarded needle



A Strabane schoolgirl has had an apparently lucky escape after falling onto a discarded syringe needle while walking home from school.

The horrifying incident happened close to the town’s St Mary’s Primary School. The 12-year-old was on her way home from an after-school club when she tripped and fell. She landed on the needle, cutting her hand.

Her anguished mother took her to Altnagelvin hospital on Friday where tests were carried out. They have since come back clear. Examinations of the needle have also indicated that it was clean and had not been previously used.

See more at:

Sadly, that’s not quite the end of it, since there remains a 6-9 month period during which the risk, however small, may continue. The girl may leave A&E with just a plaster covering a cut or puncture site but the risk of infection, and the even greater risk of post-traumatic anxiety focussed upon the risk of infection, cannot so easily be dismissed.

Let’s hope the girl and her family, who can be similarly and perhaps more severely affected, will by OK.




A 2-year old girl was ‘jabbed’ in the palm of her hand – penetrating her skin – after picking the needle up from the floor of a toilet at the MacDonald’s restaurant in the Castlemilk district of Glasgow.

Mum reported that the little girl had picked the needle up from the floor of a toilet in the restaurant, and was later assessed at Glasgow Victoria Infirmary.

I wonder how this incident will impact on the overall mapping of sharps finds across Scottish cities, and if that system pas finds on private land and in domestic or commercial premises. Probably not.

see Thousands of syringes on Scotland’s streets