Needlestick Damage Control 101: Tips for Transitioning to Safety Scalpels
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act was established in 2000 to address the exposure to bloodborne pathogens resulting from accidental sharps injuries in healthcare and other occupational settings. This act introduced an expansion of OSHA’s requirements for employers to establish programs to identify, evaluate, and implement safer devices and practices. The CDC estimates that approximately 62%-88% of these sharps injuries could be prevented.
What is a Sharps Injury?
A sharps injury is defined as a penetrating stab wound from a needle, scalpel, or other sharp object that may result in exposure to blood or other bodily fluids.
The CDC estimates that about 385,000 sharps-related injuries occur in hospitals among healthcare workers every year.
A sharps injury has the potential to transmit bloodborne pathogens such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and HIV/AIDS. These injuries are a big concern not only because of the risk of transmission of bloodborne microorganisms, but also for the associated costs. These costs include but are not limited to:
- loss of employee time
- cost of investigating the injury
- cost of laboratory testing
- cost of treatment
A report from EPINet, the Exposure Prevention Information Network, found that 48% of sharps injuries occurred during the use of the sharp (see graph above). These injuries were found to occur in both patient rooms and operating rooms among surgical team members.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, employers should provide devices with safety features.
Needlestick Damage Control: Start with the Right Tool
Feather® Safeshield™ Disposable Scalpels from Graham-Field help prevent injuries before, during, and after use.
Feather® Safeshield™ Disposable Scalpels are ideal for operating rooms and surgical facilities and excellent for delicate procedures when precise control is needed. Each Feather® scalpel is made in Japan and meets strict ISO standards, resulting in exceptionally high quality and consistent strength and sharpness.
Key Features that make the Feather® Safety Scalpel an important tool for promoting protection from the moment of use all the way to safe disposal:
- Clear protective shield can be advanced and retracted multiple times
- Color-coded button assists with blade identification
- Button is pushed to activate shield
- Disposable unit helps prevent patient cross-contamination
Disposing of Sharps
Safely disposing of sharps after use greatly lessens the risk of injury to others. Our Feather® Disposable Blade Remover, available in two sizes, allows you to remove the blade quickly and easily, without contact, from most scalpels. The blade will then be safely out of circulation.
Needlestick and sharps injuries continue to be a serious hazard for healthcare workers. Prevention of these injuries should be a priority at every facility. We at GF Health Products, Inc. understand the need to stay current with effective policies and governances. We will continue to source and manufacture innovative products that contribute to user safety and welfare.
Consult your Graham-Field representative today to learn more about our innovative Medical-Surgical product line.
- OSHA: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/bloodbornepathogens/
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/stopsticks/sharpsinjuries.html
- EPINet 
Shelby Kenney is an Associate Product Manager at Graham-Field.
About GF Health Products, Inc.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with more than 300 US-based employees, GF Health Products, Inc. is a major manufacturer of healthcare products for the acute care, extended care, homecare and primary care markets. The Graham-Field family of brands includes Basic American Medical Products, Everest & Jennings, Grafco, Hausted, John Bunn, Labtron, Lumex and Lumiscope. Visit www.grahamfield.com or call 770-368-4700. Everest & Jennings, Graham-Field, and Traveler are trademarks of GF Health Products, Inc. © 2016, GF Health Products, Inc., all rights reserved.