Safety engineered needles – do the help?

Safety engineered needles – do the help? It’s a straightforward question and the answer will, for most people, be an unequivocal yes. Of course, we *hope* that the answer is yes but the evidence points only to a reduction in sharps injury immediately following syringe use and during disposal.

Before and during use, when the needle will be exposed, accident rates are unlikely ever to be reduced except with the very best of care and good technique. Later on, after disposal, should we expect any reduction in injury rates?  I say no, and have said so for several years now. There is much to read on the subject in the archives of the Clinical Waste Discussion Forum.

It’s a simple concept – the used sharps that cause injury are not those which have been placed safety into a quality sharps bins but those protruding from the overfilled top, others placed carelessly into waste sacks or lost within soiled linen, and those tossed aside without a care for the health and welfare of others by the growing numbers of IV drug abusers.

So the answer to the question “Safety engineered needles – do the help?” is not quite so straightforward.

Now, others have added their voice to this. In a recent online conference 78% of healthcare professionals indicated their believe that needlestick injuries have not been eliminated since the introduction of safety engineered sharps reinforcing the fact that there is much to be done in needlestick and sharps related prevention.

The findings came out of the online conference hosted by Safe in Common, a non-profit organization of healthcare safety advocates dedicated to eradicating needlestick and sharps-related injuries, held in November. Nearly 1,000 healthcare personnel registered to take part in the first-ever multimedia exploration of the past, present and future of needlestick safety. The event was created to renew a dialogue among key opinion leaders, experts, and the healthcare personnel whose work environments are fraught with needlestick and sharps injuries despite legislation mandating the use of safety devices for their protection.

Clearly, there is much still to do. And from our own perspective, work to reduce or eliminate sharps injuries to ancillary staff and waste handlers is only in it’s infancy. We must work hard to ensure it survives infancy and flourishes to protect against these feared injuries.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.