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The importance of safer practices and equipment when working with sharps in the laboratory or clinic.

Thursday, November 07, 2013 — Poster Session II

12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

FAES Academic Center (Upper-Level Terrace)




  • S.A. Ziegler
  • A.A. Capul
  • S.U. Blakeney


OSHA standards require that employers eliminate or make safer the use of sharps in the workplace. Sharps, which include needles, scalpels, razor blades and broken glass, are unavoidable hazards found in laboratory settings. Injuries involving sharps increase the risk of exposure to hazardous and/or infectious material and remain a common type of OMS-reportable injury. New equipment can now be used to decrease the likelihood of sharps injuries: safe needle devices, pivoting needle devices, disposable scalpels, razor blade holders and more. Among U.S. hospitals, where safe sharps have become the norm, a 40% decrease in sharps-related injuries occurred from 2008-2011. Analysis of OMS-reportable injuries at the NIH for 2004-2013 suggests that there has been an increase in the percentage of injuries that are sharp-related over the last four years. These data argue that safer sharps may not be extensively used at the NIH and that the availability of safer sharps alone is not sufficient to reduce the risk of punctures and lacerations. We argue that careful procedures are still a critical aspect to reducing the risk of sharps-related injuries, and safer devices should be made available.

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