What are sharps….

in the UK proximately 100,000 Needlestick injuries reported every year.

Suffering from an accidental sharp’s injury could have significant consequences, including leaving you susceptible to contracting various blood borne virus’s Many of which are incurable.

Therefore, it is important that you understand how to handle and dispose of needles and sharps in accordance with best practice guidelines and in a manner that allows you to conform to your legal duties.

The definition of a sharp is any item that could result in a cut or puncture wound to an individual. The type of sharps you may encounter include:

  • Needles and hypo dermic needles
  • Syringes
  • Scalpels
  • Blades including knives insoles
  • Broken glass
  • Nails and screws


Who is at risk of a sharps injury?

In the healthcare sector the high number of needlestick and sharps related injuries continues to be a problem. NHS nurses are of particular high risk of sharps related injuries as many of their daily activities involve the use of needles and sharps.

Many other health professionals, and those who work in healthcare settings are also at risk, including: Dentist and dental nurses

Also :

  • Doctors
  • Paramedics
  • Laboratory workers and technicians
  • Cleaners
  • Veterinary staff
  •  Aesthetic Practioners

Though the use of needles, scalpels and other medical sharps is closely tied with work in the health service industries, these workers are not the only ones at risk.

Other workers who are at risk include:

  • Police officers
  • Prison offices
  • Customer offices
  • Social workers
  • Waste refuse collectors and street cleaners
  • Body piercing and body art specialist

Any worker who comes into contact with sharp materials that could be contaminated with blood or other bodily fluids is also at risk.


The main risk associated with sharps injuries

There are several health risks associated with sharps injuries. Accidental punctures can have serious mental and physical repercussions. Even very small amounts of bodily fluids for the sharps can transmit diseases.

The health risks associated with the sharps injury include:

  • Exposure to blood-borne viruses (bbv) including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV)
  • Exposure to other pathogens. Sharps injuries can transmit a number of bacteria, fungi and parasites. These include malaria, tuberculosis and cuntaneous gonorrhea.
  • Psychological stress on the person and they close family. This stress could extend for several months as testing is carried out in the seriously impact on people ‘s lives.

If an employee Suffers sharps injury, it can also have a large impact on the company they work for, such as:


  • Lost Working time -This could be a result of stress, anxiety or contracted illness that results in extended sick leave.
  • Carrying out investigations – After an incident, investigations must be carried out to understand how and why the incident occurred. These investigations come because in.
  • Replacing a staff member – It can be very costly to a business if they need to recruit and train new staff.


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)

is a virus that damages the cells in your immune system, weakening your ability to fight infections and diseases.

Presently, there is no cure for HIV. However, by using the effective drug treatments available, most people with HIV can continue to live long, healthy lives.

If left untreated the HIV virus can severely damage, your mean system and can lead to aids (acquires immunodeficiency syndrome). Aids occurs when your immune system is so weak that you are unable to fight off infections and cancers, or your CD4 cell count drops to under 200.

HIV is one of the most serious risks associated with receiving an accidental puncture from a used shark. HIV is a transmitted through blood and other body fluids, therefore, there is a risk of contracting the virus if you have a sharps injury. It’s important to seek medical advice as soon as possible if you have a sharp syndrome.


Blood borne virus (BBV)

Hepatitis B is a virus that can affect the liver and can result in serious liver damage. It’s transmitted through blood and other bodily fluids, so there is a risk of contracting hepatitis B if you have a sharps related accident.

Many people will not experience any symptoms and might fight off the virus without ever knowing they were infected. However, the consequences can be serious, you should seek medical advice if you believe you’ve been exposed.


Hepatitis B

is also a virus that can Infect the liver. It is transmitted through blood and, if left on treated, can result in serious damage to the liver.


Hepatitis C

can usually be cured, with the infected individual often retaining a normal lifespan. However, like hepatitis B, hepatitis C often does not have any symptoms. Therefore, if you have had a sharps related injury, it is important you are tested as soon as possible.


The facts

In 2008, the Royal College of nursing card out a survey or 4407 nurses about needlestick injuries. It found that coat on

  • 48% of those asked had been injured with a used needle at some point in their career
  • 10% had received an injury in the last year
  • 28% of those that Had sustained an injury was given no advice on the risk of BBV’s post injury

The publication also highlighted the lack of training that those work in the sharps are provided with. It was found that only 55% of nurses have been provided with some former sharps training bother employer.

Training is essential for ensuring that those at risk of an injury are provided with the knowledge needed to carry out their work safely.

As we have seen, injuries can have a serious impact on the life of the infected individual and on the company, they work for. Therefore, it’s vital that you’re aware of how to reduce your risk of a sharps injury and ensure your safety.