footPolice investigating after a severed FOOT is found in a park by a dog walker, though its the dog who should probably get the credit.

A severed human foot has been found in a city park by a dog walker.

Officers are investigating the mysterious discovery at Weston Park East in Bath, Somerset, which is around a mile from the city centre.

Dog walker Simon Clarke made the discovery while walking his dog Ollie with his partner Nicky Jeffries at around 8am.

The item appears to be a right foot which has been severed a couple of inches above the ankle.

The yellow appendage, which will be sent for forensic analysis to discover who it belonged to, was found under a bush in the southern corner of the park.

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Seattle is experiencing a heroin epidemic. North Seattle residents say they find proof of that epidemic in parks and on sidewalks in the form of used, discarded needles.

Mike Cuadra is a member of the North Precinct Advisory Council, a coalition of community groups and businesses from North Seattle neighborhoods. He’s seen a rise in the number of needles littering his neighborhood over the past two years.

“It’s scary. I think people are frightened and angry,” Cuadra said.

And some residents are taking action. On Saturday, residents of North Seattle neighborhoods gathered at the Masonic Lodge in the University District to learn how to safely pick up and dispose of used needles.

Cuadra organized the training, but he said it was people within the community who brought the issue to him. “They asked for this,” he said.

“It was people telling us, we’re doing this because I don’t want my kids to get poked, I don’t want my pets to get poked. And they wanted to learn the risks, proper handling and proper disposal of used syringes in public places.”

Cuadra stresses that people who don’t feel comfortable picking up used needles should not do it.

But, for those who want to take action or are already doing so, Saturday’s class provided some basic safety guidelines to follow:

  • Treat all used needles as contaminated, diseases can spread through needle pokes.
  • Never pick up a needle with you bare hands, wear gloves.
  • Wear closed-toe shoes to protect your feet.
  • Use a tool like tongs, pliers or tweezers to pick up needles.
  • Don’t discard needles in the trash. Use a sharps container or hard plastic container like a laundry detergent bottle.
  • Put the sharps container on a stable surface next to the needle. Avoid walking a far distance carrying a used needle.
  • Do not hold the container in your hand while placing needles inside it.
  • Pick up needles with the point facing away from you and place them in the container point down.
  • Remove gloves carefully to avoid contact with contaminated fluid.
  • Wash hands well afterwards.

If you find discarded needles in your neighborhood, but you don’t feel comfortable picking them up, there are city services available. But Cuadra said these services seem to be overwhelmed.

“I think there are so many needles out there that people call, Parks and the City respond, but then the next day there’s more needles there.”

Cuadra said residents can feel comfortable using neighborhood spaces again after volunteers take on some of the clean up burden and safely remove used needles.





Sharps Terminator, LLC announced today that their flagship product, the Sharps Terminator® gained approval this week from the FDA for marketing in the US.

The Sharps Terminator® is a portable, re-chargeable needle destruction device designed to destroy hypodermic needles attached to syringes 18 – 27 gauge and up to two inches in length in less than three seconds. It is a Class III medical device regulated by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA)


The device has been around in one form or another for quite some time, moving ahead of needle snipping devices to vaporise the needle shaft in an electrical arc.

This approval raises some important questions. How do sharps users get the protection of a sharps engineered safety device, since the Sharps Terminator can accept only conventional protruding and uncovered needles?

Not the fault of the Sharps Terminator, but that does seem to be an open door to those employers who are not adequately protecting their staff with safer sharps devices.

Sharps Terminator, Blenkharn Environmental, clinical waste, clinical waste discussion forum, clinical



Some great posters available for download from Worcestershire Health Services NHS. Dealing with a variety of topics, including sharps bin use, needlestick protocol, spill management etc, they will be particularly helpful as a starting point for those wanting to create their own information posters and warning notices.


Well done Worcestershire.


Needle with drop of bloodA family has an anxious year ahead after their little girl stood on a hypodermic needle on a Gold Coast beach.

A day enjoying the sun and surf at Currumbin on Tuesday came to a horrifying end for the McDermid family of Southport when four-year-old Tigerlily screamed in pain.

Graham and Carmen McDermid turned to see a hypodermic needle sticking out of Tigerlily’s right foot.

The family of four were just 100m north of the flagged area at Currumbin Vikings Surf Life Saving Club.

Shocked at the sight, the distressed parents had to pull the dirty needle out of the child’s foot.

“She was screaming in agony, lifting her leg up,” Mr McDermid said.

This should remind us of the dangers associated with discarded needles, that have a high risk of bloodborne virus infection. If infection does not occur, and of course we hope that will be the outcome in this case, severe, prolonged and sometimes debilitating anxiety can be devastating, for the individual and for family members.

It also reminds us that the most dangerous are those needles that become hidden in soft sand or long grass, especially in circumstances where individuals might reasonably expect to walk in safety while barefoot. At other times, discarded sharps can be covered in a snowfall, though walking barefoot might then be a rather foolhardy action.  And don’t forget all of those sharps “lost” within plastic waste sacks.

Good luck Tigerlily!


Needle with drop of bloodA member of the public performed CPR on the man who died in Dorking’s KFC on Monday, but he was injured by a needle as he did so.

Surrey Police officers, along with firefighters and paramedics, were called to the High Street eatery at around 9.50pm following reports of a concern for safety.

A man is his fifties was pronounced dead at the scene after having a cardiac arrest.

A customer in the restaurant had carried out CPR on the man. Paramedics and police officers took over care when they arrived but attempts to revive the him were unsuccessful.

Neighbourhood Inspector Richard Hamlin was quick to praise the man who tried to help.

He said: “We were very grateful to him for the efforts he made. He went way beyond the call of duty and further than most members of the public would have gone.

“He attempted to administer CPR. He received a needle stick injury in the process which he was taken to hospital for.

“Obviously any type of needle injury is very worrying for anyone to receive in any circumstances so really I would only like to reiterate our thanks to him.

“I phoned him to give my thanks to him for his actions personally. I think the family of the dead man would also have liked to thank him if they had seen the efforts he made.”

A spokeswoman for the Surrey Ambulance service confirmed that a man had died at Dorking KFC after collapsing at the premises and suffering a cardiac arrest.

A Surrey Police spokeswoman said: “The death is being treated as unexplained but at this stage there is nothing to suggest any third party involvement.

“A file is being prepared and will be passed to the Surrey Coroner’s Office in due course.”


Read more:



More than £500,000 has been paid out in compensation to NHS Tayside staff in the past five years as a result of accidents or injury.

The incidents included almost 200 injuries involving scalpels and razor blades between 2010 and 2015.

NHS chiefs have said they take the “health and safety of staff very seriously” and have pledged to continue with a programme of incident reviews carried out within the organisation.

The 2014/2015 year saw a total of £49,611 being paid out. That figure was up nearly £15,000 on the previous year’s total of £34,775 – the lowest amount paid out in the last five years. Read the rest of this entry »

Needle with drop of bloodNHS trusts are still not complying with “safer sharps” rules, research has argued, which is potentially putting NHS employees at unnecessary risk of needlestick injuries and blood-borne infections such as hepatitis and HIV.

The study from research organisation MindMetre has suggested that many NHS trusts are flouting the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) Health and Safety (Sharps Instruments in Healthcare) Regulations 2013, which explicitly recommend that trusts should adopt sharps that incorporate safety mechanisms “where it is reasonably practicable to do so”.

The study examined purchasing volumes of safer sharps across the UK NHS acute sector, with data collected through Freedom of Information requests, between January to May 2015 and August to September 2015.

The results showed that, while progress had been made, the proportion of safer sharps devices was still nowhere near what would reasonably be expected in order to be fully compliant, MindMetre argued.

Greatest compliance levels with sharps Regulations was shown in the purchase of cannulation devices, with 79% of devices purchased in the first six months of 2015 incorporating a safety mechanism, it argued.

Blood collection was the next most compliant category, with 68% of devices purchased incorporating a safety mechanism in the same time period.

Compliance was lowest in the injection category. Here, only 44% of devices purchased in the period incorporated a safety device, despite the fact that the most common device to be involved in needlestick injuries is the syringe and needle, argued MindMetre.

Paul Lindsell, MindMetre’s managing director, said of the findings: “These levels of compliance are clearly unacceptable. The original EU Directive, enacted through the HSE Regulation, explicitly expects healthcare and care institutions to use safety devices in the vast majority of cases, and here we have clear evidence that this is not yet happening.

“Sharps injuries and resulting infections can not only cause immense personal distress, but can also ruin careers. That applies to everyone in the healthcare setting, from ancillary workers, through care professionals, to top clinicians. Failure to comply is quite simply an abnegation of the basic duty to look after staff safety at all levels,” he added.

So, no surprise there, is there?



Panda_00_00_47_14_Still001Good news for Yuanzai the Taiwan zoo panda.

The hypodermic needle she, or is it he,  swallowed was excreted 24 hours later while defecating.

Everybody was relieved to see Yuanzai all refreshed and lively.
see also Taiwan zoo Panda accidentally swallows hypodermic needle



Panda_00_00_38_17_Still002In yet another twist to sharps injury, a two-year-old panda has accidentally swallowed a syringe needle during a regular blood sampling process in a zoo in Taipei, Taiwan.

Yuanzai, the first panda ever born in the Chinese island region, unexpectedly seized the needle with her teeth on Thursday when it was already in her left forearm. Caretakers tried to take the needle out of her mouth but failed. The panda was then anesthetised and taken to the animal hospital for treatment.

Veterinarians checked Yuanzai with X-rays and located the needle in her digestive tract. They took various measures to ensure sure that her esophagus was not hurt. A second check found that the needle had already reached the small intestine.

Due to giant pandas’ fast intestinal tract movement, the vets decided to wait for the needle to be excreted out of Yuanzai’s body, mixed in the bamboo residues six to eight hours after being taken, said Eric Tsao, a spokesperson of Taipai Zoo.

Good luck, Yuanzai



It seems strange to think what people might take with them when they appear in Court. Nothing incriminating would seem to be a good choice, but perhaps not so in Swansea.

Security staff at courts in Swansea have seized dozens of knives and other potentially offensive weapons in recent years, the South Wales Evening Post has learned.

Hoards of knives, some with blades of more than three inches, and scores of ‘sharps’ were confiscated at the city’s Magistrates and Crown Court buildings in recent years.

Responding to a freedom of information request, Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) said that since April 2013 security staff have seized ten knives with a blade measuring longer than three inches. A total of 73 knives with a blade less than three inches were confiscated while staff collected a starting 364 ‘sharps’ up until November this year.

Sharps are classed as items that can injure people but are not defined as knives or tools. HMCTS says examples of confiscated sharps include syringes, knitting needles, darts and even corkscrews.

Worryingly the numbers of items seized appears to be on the increase. In 2013/14 security officers confiscated one large knife and 22 small ones. However, in 2014/15 they collected eight large knives and 20 smaller ones. Since April this year a further large knife has been seized while 31 short-bladed knives were confiscated. By far the largest seizure came in January this year, when officers at Swansea Magistrates’ Court confiscated 20 sharp items. Previously, in October 2014 they had collected five large knives.

The figures cover Swansea’s Grove Place Magistrates’ Court and the city’s two Crown Court sites at St Helen’s Road and the Guildhall.

A HMTCS spokesman said: “HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) takes the issue of security within courts extremely seriously and has a robust security and safety system in place to protect all court users and the judiciary.

“This system includes mandatory bag searches, metal detectors and surveillance cameras, as well as court security officers who have legislative powers to protect all those in the court building. The powers of the court security officers include the ability to restrain and remove people from the building should there be a need.

“Our security system is continually monitored to ensure that it is effective and proportionate and mitigates against the risks faced.”




Needle with drop of bloodThe Health Safety and Wellbeing Partnership Group (HSWPG) have created several guidance documents for the NHS, using partnership working to create valuable guidance. The latest resource is new guidance on managing the risks of sharps injuries.

Each year thousands of NHS workers are subjected to sharps injuries and NHS Employers estimate that this involves around 40,000 individuals per year.

Whilst, UNISON, the Royal College of Nurses and European Bio-safety Network have each produced their own guidance on tackling sharps injuries, this HSWPG guide is the first to be produced in partnership with the agreement of both employers and unions. It is based around a series of case studies of NHS providers who have worked in collaboration with trade unions.

To coincide with the launch of this guidance, Robert Baughan, assistant national officer for the trade union UNISON and a member of the HSWPG, has written a blog about why managing sharps injuries is important.

Employers should use this guide to review their risk assessments, policies, and procedures. It explains, step by step, what employers need to do when:

  • identifying the hazards and assessing the risks
  • deciding on and implementing the appropriate preventive measures (including advice on hierarchy of controls)
  • measuring and reviewing performance to ensure risks are being managed and that their preventive plan is effective
  • ensuring all sharps injuries are reported by establishing the right policies and procedures.


More information and lots of useful information here, albeit about 3 years late!


Blenkharn Environmental, accident, clinical waste discussion forum, clinical waste, clinical waste disposal, danger, health and safety, infection, injury, needle, needle disposal, needlestick, safety, sharps disposal, sharps injury, syringe disposal

Syringe PenPens that look like hypodermic needles are being sold as Halloween novelty toys, stirring concerns among parents and drug abuse prevention advocates as the country battles a rising heroin and opioid addiction crisis.

The pens, clear plastic tubes filled with brightly coloured liquid, topped by a plunger and marked with the measuring lines found on syringes, are sold at US Target stores and can be found at several online retailers.

As we have noted over several years, these pens are freely available in the UK also.

“I think it’s an incredibly bad idea,” said Celeste Clark, director of the Raymond Coalition for Youth, an organization in New Hampshire that works to reduce substance abuse. “Given today’s epidemic that our state is in, it just seems like a no-brainer that something like that shouldn’t be on the shelves.”

A spokeswoman for Minneapolis-based Target said the company had heard complaints from consumers but will leave them on the shelves.

“We have not made any changes to our store Halloween assortment related to this product,” Molly Snyder said. “At Target, our intent is never to offend any of our guests, and we appreciate their feedback. We have shared this feedback with the merchants for them to consider as they plan for future merchandise assortment.”

The backlash began when North Hampton, N.H., teacher Susan Haight saw the pens amid the holiday displays at a Target store and pressed the retail giant to pull them off the shelves.

“Syringes are being found on beaches, playgrounds, parks and parking lots across New Hampshire,” Haight told The Associated Press in an email. “We do not need young children confusing real syringes with the toys they got from Target.”

The pens aren’t the first toy to draw ire: Candy cigarettes, gum that came in packages that looked like chewing tobacco and candy that came in prescription-like bottles have been criticized for luring kids into bad behaviour.

Clark’s coalition was successful in 2013 in getting the manufacturer of the prescription candy bottles to pull them off the market.

The syringe pens, labeled as appropriate for ages 4 and up, could easily confuse young children who wouldn’t know the difference between a real needle and a toy, Clark said.

“It’s exposing kids to hypodermic needles when we really should be raising awareness to their danger, especially now when they’re finding them in parks, on walking trails, on biking trails,” Clark said.

Nikki Shipley, of Fort Lee, Va., has two children, ages 7 and 12, and said the controversy over the pens is overblown and parental responsibility should be part of the discussion.

She wonders if parents should try to ban things like superhero movies because their child might get hurt trying to copy a hero who can fly.

“Through time, society has found more ways to blame others for things,” Shipley said in an email. “A needle pen is not the cause of a heroin epidemic, nor does it promote it.”

New Hampshire’s Senior Director for substance misuse and behavioral health Jack Wozmak said the pens trivialize the drug abuse crisis.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that heroin-related deaths nationally nearly doubled — to 8,200 — from 2011 to 2013.

“I think that it is the most societally outrageous marketing scheme that I’ve seen in a long time,” Wozmak said. “I’m not sure that people will understand that it’s a toy at age 4 and up or whatever the age range is, and I’m not sure they’ll know that the hypodermic needle they find on the playground is not a toy.”

see also

Aids and hepatitis B tests for boy, 4, pricked by needle on busNeedle with drop of blood

A mother is facing a “horrible” wait after her young child underwent tests for Aids and hepatitis B due to being pricked by a needle on a bus.

The four-year-old boy was being pricked by a hypodermic needle when he reached behind a seat.

He then showed his horrified mother the needle and his bleeding finger.

He is now undergoing checks for and diseases such as Aids.

The child has had to have hepatitis B injections and the mother has been told it will be months before he is given the all-clear for even more worrying infectious diseases, such as Aids.

The mum, who wishes her son to remain anonymous to protect him from bullying, was told by medics to go straight to Torbay Hospital’s emergency department after the incident took place on the number 77 bus in Newton Abbot.

This which runs between the Sherborne Road bus station and Drake Road on the Buckland estate on September 9.

She said: “He had treatments and underwent tests, but it will be months until we get the results.

“He isn’t back at school yet and the wait is horrible”.

Read more:






A toddler has been stabbed by a “dirty heroin needle” on a Dublin Bus.Needle with drop of blood

A young girl has been pricked by a heroin-filled needle on a bus in Dublin – in another sickening incident involving drug paraphernalia in the city.

Yesterday, little Alysha Zambra got on a Dublin Bus vehicle with her mother, Stacie, where she was jabbed by the needle – writes Conor Feehan for

Tony Duffin, of the Ana Liffey Drug Project centre, said discarded used needles posed a massive risk to the public.

She was brought to Crumlin Children’s Hospital and tested for HIV and other blood-borne diseases. Now her shocked family face an agonising wait to see if she has contracted anything.

“We always go and sit at the back. I go in the middle and the kids sit either side of me,” Stacie, from Crumlin, said.

“I just glanced out the window and then when I turned around Alysha’s finger was pumping with blood and I saw the needle on the floor,” she added.

Mr Duffin has long campaigned for medically-supervised injection centres so addicts can take drugs in a place safe for them and the public.


imageSteroid abuse and the risk of infection through drug vial and needle sharing continues to grow.

Our reference to this, and the increasing number of young male gym users and police officers using illicit steroids to bulk up, have been criticised by at least  one ex-senior police officer who chooses to defend the practise while at the same time denying that it exists.  How wrong can he be?

New clinical services in Dublin have been established to address the growing number of people using steroids to “enhance” their bodies, and who are presenting to needle-exchange programmes.

Recent increases in steroid use accounted for up to 10 per cent of those injecting drugs in 2014.

Research conducted in the area last year, and highlighted in the Merchants Quay Ireland Homeless and Drug Services annual report launched on Friday, puts the average age of users at 24 and calls it a “relatively new phenomenon”.

“Traditionally you associate steroids with athletes but the research we are pointing to is people who want to look good,” said Mark Kennedy of the Merchant Quay programme.

The service aims to establish clinics two nights a week in the capital within the next few months to advise users about safe use and harm reduction.

In some parts of the UK, needle-exchange programmes, generally associated with heroin use, have been primarily dealing with people injecting steroids.

While they do not carry the same dependency risk, they have the potential for physical and psychological harm. Indeed, it is foolhardy to expect a level of safety through engagement with a needle exchange programme since dipping into a shared drug vial, even with a new and sterile needle, or more likely with your own previously used needle that may now no longer be sterile, risks virus transmission from multi-use of that vial. The medical and scientific literature has many outbreak descriptions where disease transmission was propagated in this way.

The Merchants Quay study found from a sample of 89 “Performance and Image Enhancing Drugs” users (Pieds), 50 per cent had never tested for HIV or Hepatitis C; 38.2 per cent reported increased aggression; 31.5 per cent mood changes; and 19.1 per cent anxiety and 18 per cent depression.

Every use risks infection from a dirty needle, and more seriously the transmission of bloodborne virus through shared syringes and needles, or sharing of a large bottle of an illicit steroid product.

There are disposal problems too, from discarded drug vials, and from those who do not engage with exchange services, from carelessly discarded needles that are often found in the toilets and changing rooms of high street gyms.


A mum who complained of headaches most of her life is to have surgery to remove a needle from her brain.

Brain Needle


Liu Kao, 48, always thought the pains – which often came during the cooler months of the year – were related to her heart. But years of tests revealed nothing unusual.

Liu would ironically describe the pain to her family as “like being pricked with a needle”.

Liu checked into hospital when the headaches became more frequent and suffered worrying numbness down in half her body. But routine check-ups showed once again that everything was in working order. It was only when doctors ordered a brain scan they found the root of her abnormal tingling.

The cause of the problem showed itself in the form of a 4.6 centimetre needle.

The needle is standing straight up in the left hemisphere of Liu’s brain and will require surgery for it to be removed.

Xiaozhang – Liu’s daughter – said: “My mother and I were both puzzled by the needle. We have no idea how it got there, but it seems to be what is causing her headaches.  “Mother has no recollection of the needle being inserted in her head, but doctors said it must have happened before she was 18 months old, when her skull was still soft and flexible as a child.”

The doctors’ conclusion means the needle has been with Liu for at least 46 years.

Xiaozhang added: “Mother asked the family elders about the needles, but it was so long ago that none of them remember anything about it.

“The operation has its risks, but doctors said she could suffer more severe symptoms or even seizures in the future, so we’ve decided to risk it and have the surgery.”






Needle with drop of bloodA Premier Football League star’s 14-year-old son has been kicked out of one of the UK’s top schools after allegedly stabbing as many as 15 kids with a used blood test needle.

The shocking incident sparked a serious health scare with pupils being forced to be tested for HIV and Hepatitis B and C.

It is reported that two students – one said to be the footballer’s son – found the sharp diabetes pen on a classroom desk at the exclusive school in South East of England.

They then allegedly jabbed other students with the needle – which is used to take blood to read sugar levels – in what the boys thought was a harmless prank.

Police were called to the scene after the incident last month and the school is said to have expelled the youngster and his friend, also 14.

A spokesman for the school said: “We can confirm an incident took place last month involving a diabetic testing pen.

“The incident was extremely concerning and as soon as we became aware of it all parents of pupils involved were contacted and given advice from public health officials.

“We also spoke to the local police who, we understand, have now closed this incident.”

The results of the blood tests returned negative and the police have chosen not to take any further action.




Needle with drop of bloodWhat price a needlestick injury?  The average is around £2,000 but in one notable case now more that 12 years ago a young doctor managed to pick up more than £500,000 compensation claiming psychological damage after a sharps injury but without seroconversion.

Involve a solicitor and you will make them rich as fees are not inconsiderable, and you might get a little extra too, but not that much.

And at the bottom of the pile is this poor guy from Darlington, as described in a report today in the Northern Echo:


A VETERAN has called for change after being housed in a former ‘drugs den’ with blood and heroin covering the walls.

North-East man Mike Raymond served in the Army for nine years and was shot in Afghanistan, before leaving to face a struggle with anxiety and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

The 28-year-old moved to Darlington in March after being offered accommodation and support by the Salvation Army Housing Association (SAHA).

Having only seen pictures of his flat, on Wilshire Place, Mr Raymond was appalled to move in and find the property in a state “unfit for human habitation”.

With blood spots and a substance believed to be heroin marking the walls, Mr Raymond became convinced he was living in the former home of a drug addict.

Days later, he stood barefoot on a needle hidden in the carpet and found several more scattered under the “filthy” floor covering.

After undergoing hospital tests following the incident, Mr Raymond asked the SAHA for help in transforming the property.

He claims he was charged £109 to have the carpets removed, given about £50 to redecorate the flat and offered high street vouchers in relation to his needle-stick injury.

Mr Raymond has also been the victim of regular anti-social behaviour with those living nearby blamed for gluing up his door locks and targeting him with verbal abuse.

Requests to move to a quieter flat around the corner have been declined and he is now calling for more to be done to support those in his position.

He said: “It was disgusting, when I moved in I didn’t want to touch anything.

“They said the flat had been cleaned and the marks on the wall were coffee and of no concern.

“After standing on the needle, I had tests that made my anxiety worse and I didn’t want to touch anyone in case I passed something on.

“The flat was unfit for anyone to live in and they knew that – it’s not right.”

A spokesman for the SAHA said: “We are deeply concerned by Mr Raymond’s experience.

“The action we have taken today is to launch an urgent investigation as we do not wish this situation to have fallen short of the high standards we deliver within our organisation.

“We would also like to apologise to him for any additional disruption he has experienced and assure him of our attention as a matter of urgency to resolve this.”


A few high Street shopping vouchers seems to be insulting, even though the housing association was run by a sound charitable organisation that needs to account for every penny in order to help as many people as possible.

What do you think?




It is now easy to get needlestick (sharps) injury insurance in the UK though how easy it will be to succeed in a claim remains to be seen, and many solicitors are advertising their claim services in the event of injury.

Together with specific legislation to ensure suitable engineered sharps safety devices – though still some Trusts are delaying their introduction – see Compliance with Safer Sharps legislation – the UK Hall of Shame – there is far greater awareness, regular training and established protocols for investigation and specialist care in the event of an incident. Regrettably however non-healthcare staff are still receiving a poor service in A&E that should itself be the subject of litigation as well as a report to the regulator, in this case CQC.

While we have no objection to private healthcare, an advertisement to private “Needle Stick Injury Profile” testing raised an eyebrow in the extreme! For an inclusive price of £229.00 you can have blood taken and tested for:

  • Hepatitis B surface antigen
  • Hepatitis C antibodies
  • Hepatitis C antigen (early detection)
  • HIV 1+2 antibodies and p24 antigen
  • Serum saved for 2 years

Results are available within hours of receipt of samples. But how many hours? Time is important, and a turn-round time of 4 hours is promised.

The service is described as “(Donor – Not recipient)” but surely this is a test of the recipient of the needlestick injury and not of the donor, ie, the patient on whom a needle or blade had first been used for which specific consent requirements are essential and far outwith the scope of this service.

But testing is often essential. That decision must be on a carefully risk-assessed and clinical evaluation though occasionally testing might provide reassurance to a concerned “victim” where testing is not really indicated.

However, what is of concern here is the lack of specialist medical expertise. Touting a blood testing service – however much that might costs – without the necessary prior clinical assessment and without follow-up to interpret the results and plan 3 month and 6 month repeats with, if indicated, early antiviral prophylaxis is simply wrong.

For those who purchase this service this additional support may be available – we simply do not know – though this would surely all be at considerable increased cost.

For those who suffer a sharps or needlestick injury, the full range of services of the NHS should swing into action, quickly and without delay, to include specialist clinical assessment according to defined clinical protocols, and including all necessary prophylactic drug therapies and long-term follow-up.

This is not the place for private blood testing.





JobsVeolia’s Energy Recovery Facilities utilise world-class technology to safely transform residual waste in to energy.

For the national grid, they generate enough energy to power over 189,000 homes annually. Energy Recovery makes an important contribution to reducing the UK’s long-term energy gap and helps to increase landfill diversion as part of an integrated waste management strategy.

We are looking for a Team Leader with experience of dealing with Clinical or hazardous waste to join our team in Tyseley, Birmingham. You will be responsible for providing operational support to the Clinical, Pharmaceutical, Commercial & Industrial Waste disposal for VESB and Secure Destruction Services for Veolia UK.

Key responsibilities:

  • Supervise the Clinical Waste Operatives, ensuring staff are allocated tasks accordingly to meet the requirements of waste acceptance and waste throughput, assisting in this work as appropriate.
  • Maintain statutory and statistical information associated with the Clinical and Site Operation in accordance with applicable Company Procedures.
  • Supervise the Day Operation Staff, scheduling work and allocating tasks as required to maintain the ERF site in a clean, tidy and safe condition as required by the Site Permit.
  • Liaise with Clinical Waste Customers as required to maintain a high quality and reliable service, while ensuring compliance with the requirements of the Site Authorisation and appropriate legislation.
  • Ensure compliance with the company’s Quality and Environmental Management System and Health and Safety Policies. Ensure that the facility operates within legal requirements and environmental legislation ISO 9001,1401,1800
  • Ensure contractors are compliant with the requirements of the BMS and in particular EA guidance note 5.07.

Job Type: Standard


Apprentice trained Engineer / Technician, qualified in a relevant Engineering or Scientific discipline, however extensive relevant experience will be considered

Extensive experience predominantly in one or two of the following areas and working knowledge of the others:

Practical approach to problem solving
Self motivated
Ability to work in a multi project environment
Ability to forge and maintain good inter personal working relationships
Capable of preparing technology proposals
Strong communicator across all levels
Presentation skills across all levels including technical report writing
Requiring minimal supervision and able to cope with numerous issues simultaneously

Capable of prioritising tasks accordingly

Ability to interrogate / understand maintenance to provide accurate plant condition information / recommendations.

Competent problem solver with a practical approach to solving problems.

Knowledge of current H&S,

To apply for this position, candidates must be eligible to live and work in the UK


If you apply for this post, do tell them you heard about it from the Clinical Waste Discussion Forum

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needles_newportA Newport teenager who found around 100 needles dumped in a popular lane has criticised the City Council for not removing them sooner.

The young man, 16, said he first saw the pile of needles in the lane which is used to access the Iceland supermarket off Clarence Place, on Friday. The teenager used the route again on Saturday morning to get to the train station and found them lying in exactly the same place at around 9am. He took a photo of them and that his aunt, who does not wish to be named, posted it onto the Argus social media site.

He said he was gravely concerned that children who often use the lane were at serious risk of injury or infection and tried to report the hazardous waste to the council over the weekend.

“I live about five minutes away and walk that route every day as it is a faster route to the station. I also walk my little sister along there.

“I have seen rubbish there before but never needles.

“There were around 100 with some scattered along the lane.

“I saw the council’s street cleaners and told them about it. I said that someone needs to clean them up straight away and they told me that it was not their responsibility.

“In my opinion it should have been done straight away.

“It’s not acceptable that they remain there for most of the weekend, with kids using the lane.”

Mr Morris said he had heard children asking their parents what the needles were.

“Some of them don’t have caps on it’s a real hazard.

“They should have cleaned it up as soon as I reported it to them and the matter made a priority.”

Mr Morris said the needles had been taken away by Monday morning but wanted to see a quicker response time in their removal.

He also made attempts to contact Newport City Council by phone to report the matter on both Saturday and Sunday and wants to see a weekend helpline set up for residents to report such incidents.

A Newport City Council spokeswoman said it’s streetscene department removed a quantity of syringes from privately-owned land at the back of Clarence Place on Monday.


So, a response that was neither instant nor same day, and thus with a Friday to Monday lag disagreement about the quality of that response from Newport City Council. Perhaps they don’t have streetscene staff working on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays.  That is improbable and the more likely explanation is a closed office that fails to process these reports with the necessary urgency.

We have many reports of “urgent” requests for needle retrieval to be left on an answerphone – hence the presumably tongue-in-cheek claims of immediate response, by the answerphone, – to be completed only days later. Perhaps in the minds of Newport City Council that is adequate?

It seems however, that those involved have done a good job in prodding Newport City Council to action. On their web pages, there is no mention of needles and related drug litter, and no dedicated reporting mechanism. Newport City Council does not collect clinical or medical waste.




The World Bank has supported a project to build a medical waste treatment area with a total cost of VND120 billion (US$5.4 million) in this central province, health officials said.

Of the total cost, some VND106 billion ($5 million) will be funded through a loan from the World Bank and the rest will come from the local budget.

Vietnam-medicalwasteThe health sector is working with the province’s authorities to complete the necessary procedures for building the medical waste treatment area, Nguyen Tan Duc, director of the province’s Health Department, said.

The project, which is scheduled to be completed by 2017, will focus on improving the management of solid waste from health care centres in the province. It covers the construction of a dedicated treatment area for hazardous medical waste from hospitals and health care centres. The project will also organise training classes to enhance awareness of the proper management of medical waste.

Once completed, the project will help treat 400kg of medical waste per day. The hazardous clinical/medical waste will be sterilised prior to being buried in the province’s landfills.


This news comes from VietnamNet. The image that they have used to illustrate the piece shows an open yellow clinical waste sack filled with items including several syringes.

Regrettably, this goes against best practice that demands disposal of syringes and needles intact but uncapped, since there is an additional risk of sharps injury during needle removal. This also addresses concerns as to the fate of those loose needles that might too be lurking unseen in that sack. That is unsafe and greatly increases the hazard to waste handlers and the risk of sharps or needlestick injury.

A blush pink Marigold won’t protect!





Shambolic’ treatment of cleaner turned away from three health centres after being pricked by a potentially dirty needle.

A cleaner pricked by a dirty needle was left horrified after being denied treatment by three separate health centres.

David Crisp was cleaning public toilets in Trinity Street, Fareham, when he picked up tissue paper not knowing a needle was wrapped inside.

The 40-year-old was pricked by the needle and, on the advice of his boss, was told to go to A&E at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham.

But Mr Crisp, of Cochrane Close, Gosport, was turned away at A&E and later told he could not be helped by his GP practice and at a walk-in centre as all three were following different protocols and believed they were acting correctly in sending him elsewhere.

After calling the NHS helpline 111 more than five hours later, Mr Crisp was told to go back to A&E.

Now a Clinical Commissioning Group – which pays for health services – is looking to advise all practices to follow the same policies to ensure patients are not let down again.

Mr Crisp said: ‘The whole day was shambolic and it left me feeling very emotional and angry – even several days later. I was concerned about HIV and hepatitis C, worried I could have either of these and that I was delayed treatment. I was turned away from A&E as it was 2pm and was told to see my GP.’

But when his wife called Brune Medical Centre, in Rowner Road, Gosport, she was told by a receptionist that needlestick injuries are treated at A&E.

Mr Crisp went to the Guildhall walk-in centre in Portsmouth, where he was given advice but told they could not help any further.

And when the father-of-three called NHS 111 at 7pm, he was told the best place for him to go was A&E.

‘After all that I couldn’t believe I was being sent back to the place where it all began,’ said Mr Crisp.

‘What made me angry was I needed treatment quickly but was left waiting several hours instead.’

Mr Crisp has since been given vaccinations and will need to have blood tests and boosters for the next year as he awaits initial results.

Dr Stuart Morgan, senior partner at the Brune Medical Centre, said: ‘It was our firm understanding patients with needlestick injuries should be seen in A&E. We have apologised to the patient for any impression given that we were not willing to see him, and we have been in contact with several NHS services to ensure he has received appropriate treatment.

‘We are entirely satisfied our receptionist did everything she felt appropriate in the circumstances.’

A QA spokesman said: ‘Our needlestick policy is that within working hours patients should visit their employer’s occupational health service or their GP, and out-of-hours should go to the emergency department for a risk assessment and appropriate follow-up.’

A Care UK spokesman, which runs the Guildhall walk-in centre, said: ‘The contract we operate under does not permit the team working there to carry out blood tests on patients who are not registered with the centre, unless the GPs have reason to believe the patient has cancer.

‘As a result of this contractual obligation, we refer patients that have been pricked by a potentially dirty needle on to another NHS service for tests.’


This appalling tale of incompetence is regrettably far too common, though it much reach the top – or is that the bottom? – of a very sorry pile of clinical negligence.

We have on record members of the public told to collect discarded needles in the stead of a council employee as a cost-saving measure, and of council employees,  waste handlers in the clinical and general utility areas, and ancillary staff, being denied treatment for a sharps injury that on triage is dismissed as a trivial injury. But sharps injury is NEVER trivial.

The most appropriate plan to adopt in the event of sharps injury is firstly not to suck or squeeze the wound, wash it gently but thoroughly and clean the wound with soap and running water, encourage bleeding without pressing or squeezing the wound too hard, and to cover the would lightly with a clean dry dressing.

Then, go IMMEDIATELY to a nearby ACCIDENT & EMERGENCY department, preferably at a major hospital. Explain what happened and don’t be fobbed off. There may be a delay as more serious cases are managed as a greater priority but time can be critical and excess delay is not acceptable. Ask for urgent treatment and remind the front line staff of the risk of bloodborne virus infection.

If a delay does occur, be prepared to push, shout, stamp, to get seen. NEVER accept advice to got to another hospital or minor injuries unit as these do not have access to the specialist infection diseases advice that might be required. NEVER go to a GP clinic.

It might help if the employers of those who might suffer sharps injury as part of their duties prepare a small laminated sharps injury action card to be carried in all waste collection vehicles and at other strategic locations. In the event of injury, take this with you to A&E, to remind the staff of the potential implications and severity of sharps injury and blood splash exposures and to ensure that you are not dismissed as having a trivial and largely unseen minor injury.

This last point will be taken up with the safety group of CIWM, and Blenkharn Environmental will be working on suitable wording for an action card. This should be available the Clinical Waste Discussion Forum and CIWM website as soon as possible. This can be modified locally, with Company name and emergency contact numbers etc, laminated and distributed for the benefit of all at-risk staff.




Needle with drop of bloodThe Health and Safety Executive are not presently blessed with a reputation for efficiency, cherry-picking a few targets and concentrating on what might be considered the low hanging fruit in order to maximise Fee for Intervention.

But taking a look through their prosecutions database does show a list, perhaps a complete list, of those healthcare providers being one care home and the remainder hospitals, who have received an Improvement Notice due to failure to comply with Safer Sharps legislation.

It is truly a Hall of Shame.


Uxbridge Lister Hospital Stevenage Dec 2011
Furness General Hospital Cumbria Nov 2013
Pinderfields General Hospital Wakefield Jan 2014
Worthing & Southlands Hospital Worthing Jan 2014
Akari Care Limited Wallsend Jul 2014
The Princess Royal Hospital Telford Dec 2014
Dewi Sant Hospital Pontypridd Jan 2015
Russells Hall Hospital Dudley Mar 2015
Hillingdon Hospital Uxbridge May 2015
John Radcliffe Hospital Oxford May 2015
Poole General Hospital Poole Jul 2015
North Middlesex Hospital  Edmonton Jul 2015


The list is all the more notable by the big names that have been caught, and the recent dates listed against each Notice which testifies to a tawdry attitude to the safety of staff and others.

Most breaches been been recorded as “Failure to ensure safer sharps are used where necessary so far as is reasonably practicable or Failure to provide employees working with safer sharps training” or some variant thereof.

The presence of these failures is appalling. Those who have suffered sharps injury while working while their employer was failing in its duties to sharps safety should see a solicitor without delay.

But what about others, including those in the waste sector and cleaning contractors, laundry workers etc?  Waste handlers are at constant risk of sharps injury for inadequately packaged and carelessly disposed sharps. When handling wastes from centres not meeting its obligations to safer sharps then the risk must be heightened.

And if only HSE would work to ensure there were no others who are failing to adhere to the obligations of the Health and Safety (Sharp Instruments in Healthcare) Regulations 2013, AND accede to demands to introduce sharps injury to fall within RIDDOR, things might really improve.

Be very careful.



A Mansfield, US, based business is at the centre of an investigation by the FBI.

Federal authorities say four men have been indicted in an alleged conspiracy to defraud investors of $7 million for a hypodermic needle device called “The Sharps Terminator.”

William Schureck, 80, of Lexington, Daryl Dane Donohue, 66, of Mansfield, Kenneth Jackson, 58, of Glenmont and Dennis Deciancio, 72, of Macedonia, all four men affiliated with the company called Medical Safety Solutions or MSS. The men were indicted on 31-counts that include fraud, conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, money laundering, and making false statements.

According to the indictment, the defendants misrepresented a product that was not federally approved or ready for mass production. They’re also accused of seeking buyers for private shares of stock in the company that weren’t registered securities between 2007 and 2013.

The indictment also states that Jackson and Schureck transferred money to cover other expenses and Jackson gambled more $3 million at the Mountaineer Casino between 2009 and 2013.

This might be something of an administrative matter, or lack of registration, failure to compete the necessary forms and/or submit to official testing procedures. And of course that trifling matter of $7 million. If however it relates, even in part, to bogus claims that sharps can be managed more safely using than any alternative, or that the device is proven in fact to be unsafe, then that would clearly be far worse.





“Needles in recycling waste force Tewkesbury Borough Council to send 21 tonnes of rubbish to landfill.

“Hypodermic needles have contaminated 21 tonnes of recycling in Tewkesbury, forcing the borough council to send all of the rubbish to landfill.

“All of the recycling waste collected from blue bins in the borough gets hand sorted and needles have been found on a number of occasions since January this year.

“The needles pose a real threat to the health of workers when they sort through the borough’s rubbish at a material recycling facility near Bishop’s Cleeve.

“As a result the borough council is taking dramatic action to keep them safe


This “dramatic action” seems firstly improbably, and if correct a huge over-reaction that was likely to be unnecessary. It’s always a problem when needles appear on picking lines and every care must be taken to train staff and provide appropriate PPE including god quality gloves, even to agency and temp staff. A plan should exist to stop the line(s) and retrieve needles for appropriate disposal.

Scooping up an day’s throughput and dumping the entire lot, many vehicle loads, to landfill seems unnecessary and entirely inappropriate. It would also be costly but I suspect its the Council that takes the hit as its contractors will have ensured that the financial responsibility is not theirs.

If I were working for the Environment Agency I would now be asking very tough questions as to why this course of action was taken.





New data from the on-going Unlinked Anonymous Monitoring (UAM) Survey of HIV and Viral Hepatitis among People Who Inject Drugs (PWID) have been published on the PHE website.

The updated set of tables present data from the survey for the period 2004 to 2014 inclusive. These data are from the main UAM Survey, which is targeted at people who inject psychoactive drugs, such as, heroin, crack cocaine and amphetamines.

This article presents an overview of the trends between 2004 and 2014 for HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and risk behaviours from people who inject psychoactive drugs participating in the main UAM Survey. In addition to data for the whole of England, Wales and Northern Ireland (the areas covered by this survey), the tables include data for each country separately and the regions of England. Further data from this survey related to hepatitis C will appear in the Hepatitis C in the UK: 2015 report [3] to be published later this month.


The prevalence of HIV among the 3,091 PWID who took part in the main UAM Survey across England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2014 was 1.0% (95% CI, 0.07%-1.4%). Between 2004 and 2013, prevalence varied between 1.1% and 1.6%. In 2014, the HIV prevalence was 1.1% (95% CI, 0.22%-3.4%) in Wales and 0.65% (95% CI, 0.01%-3.9%) in Northern Ireland. In England, the HIV prevalence was 1.0% (95% CI, 0.69%-1.5%) in 2014, not significantly different from 2004 when the prevalence was 1.4% (95% CI, 1.0%-2.0%). Read the rest of this entry »

There are several ways to dispose of a used hypodermic needle, especially after being use to administer a DIY injection of illicit drugs?

This time, its Bangor in North Wales. Described as shocking footage, this video was taken on a drug-blighted estate, prompting calls for action from ‘disgusted’ families in the area

A man squats outside a block of flats in broad daylight and injects himself before casually throwing the needle in bushes.

The shock footage that highlights the scale of the drug problem on a troubled North Wales estate, reports the Daily Post.

The footage, taken through a window at the Plas Glyndwr flats in Bangor, was posted by county councillor Chris O’Neal on Facebook and prompted a huge reaction on social media.

We are told that the needle has since been disposed of by a member of staff from housing association Cartrefi Cymunedol Gwynedd (CCG). We can only hope that all of the others are retrieved and disposed safely, without risk of injury to members of the public or staff.

see also Dundee addict unconscious, trousers down and holding a needle

Woman pictured unconscious, trousers down and holding a needle in a Dundee close. Admits breach of the peace.

A Dundee woman has been pictured unconscious, trousers down and holding a needle in her left hand in a disturbing image that exposed Scotland’s heroin shame.

In Court she admitted her part in the ‘horror episode’. The pair were found in a close in Dundee’s Albert Street, slumped in a corner of the entrance way to a Dundee tenement block in a drug induced stupor.

“The accused was found to be in a state of undress and had her trousers down to her ankles exposing her underwear.

“Witnesses thought she may have fallen down the stairs and approached her.

“They noticed she was holding a hypodermic needle in her hand.

“The matter was reported to police who arrived shortly after.

“The accused was bleeding from the injection site in her groin and an ambulance was called.”

With a 2 month jail sentence for the man and a so-far deferred sentence for the woman who admitted a breach of the peace, the case highlight the real horrors of IV drug abuse at its lowest. It is dangerous for members of the public, for emergency services staff and for those whose task is to clean up drug litter and blood from the scene afterwards.