HTL Strefa

Sharps injuries

Sharp injury is an incident, which causes a needle, blade (such as scalpel) or  other medical instruments to penetrate the skin. This is sometimes called a percutaneous injury. OSHA reports that nearly 55% of all percutaneous injuries are caused by hollow bore needles including phlebotomy needles.

Every day while caring for patients, health care workers are at risk to exposure to bloodborne pathogens potentially resulting in infections such as HIV or hepatitis B and C. Sharp injuries can occur before, during or even after use of a sharp. Injury can affect you and your loved ones.
Sometimes, once is enough…

Needlestick injuries are the number one cause of exposure to HIV and Hepatitis C among health care professionals. This video, prepared by, depicts the emotional impact of needlestick injuries to health care workers and their families.


Health care workers should take the following steps to protect themselves from needlestick injuries:

  • Avoid the use of needles where safe and effective alternatives are available.
  • Help their employer select and evaluate devices with safety features and use devices with safety features provided by employer.
  • Avoid recapping needles.
  • Plan for safe handling and disposal before beginning any procedure using needles.
  • Dispose of used needles promptly in appropriate sharps disposal containers.
  • Report all needlestick and other sharps-related injuries promptly to ensure that you receive appropriate followup care.
  • Tell the employer about hazards from needles that you observe in your work environment.
  • Participate in bloodborne pathogen training and follow recommended infection prevention practices, including hepatitis B vaccination.

Needlestick injuries can be avoided by eliminating the unnecessary use of needles, using devices with safety features, and promoting education and safe work practices for handling needles and related systems. These measures should be part of a comprehensive program to prevent the transmission of bloodborne pathogens.

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