Needlestick Injuries

February 1, 2017 at 11:57pm

National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) recommendations

NIOSH recommends that health care facilities use safer medical devices to protect workers from needlestick and other sharps injuries. Since the passage of the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act in 2000 and the subsequent revision of the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen Standard, all health care facilities are required to use safer medical devices.

To assist health care facilities that are working through this process, NIOSH has asked a small number of health care facilities to share their experiences on how they implemented safer medical devices in their settings. These facilities have agreed to describe how each step was accomplished, and also to discuss the barriers they encountered and how they resolved, and most importantly, lessons learned. To maintain confidentiality, we removed all corporate or personal identifiers from their submissions. The health care facilities are located in 4 major cities in the United States that were selected because the AIDS rates for those cities were above the national and state averages. The health care facilities will be following the process as described in the NIOSH publication, Alert: Preventing Needlestick Injuries in Health Care Settings.

Read the healthcare facility reports for each step:

  1. Form a sharps injury prevention team
  2. Identify priorities
  3. Identify and screen safer medical devices
  4. Evaluate safer medical device(s)
  5. Implement and monitor the use of the new safer medical device


Q. Who is at risk of needlestick injury?
  • A. Any worker who may come in contact with needles is at risk, including nursing staff, lab workers, doctors and housekeepers.

Q. What kinds of needles usually cause needlestick injuries?

  • A. Hypodermic needles, blood collection needles, suture needles and needles used in IV delivery systems.
Q. What infections can be caused by needlestick injuries?
  • A. Needlestick injuries can expose workers to a number of bloodborne pathogens that can cause serious or fatal infections. The pathogens that pose the most serious risks are: Hepatitis B virus (HBV) Hepatitis C virus (HCV) Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) – the virus that causes AIDS