G_IPC_41 Sharp Safe Handling and Use Guidelines

The safe handling and disposal of needles and other sharp instruments forms part of an overall strategy of clinical waste disposal to protect staff, patients and the public from exposure to blood borne pathogens.

Lincolnshire Community Health Services (LCHS) is committed to the protection of staff and patients resulting from the transmission of blood borne viruses (BBV) and to the prevention and reduction of accidents associated with sharp handling and use.

A sharps injury or needle-stick injury has been defined as an injury where a used needle or other sharp contaminated with blood or other high-risk body fluid penetrates the skin. In general clinical settings, sharps injuries are predominantly caused by needle devices and are associated with venepuncture, recapping (re-sheathing) of needles and disassembling of equipment.

Sharps include needles, sharp-edged or pointed surgical instruments, broken glassware or any sharp item that may have been contaminated in use by blood or body fluids and which may cause laceration or puncture wounds. Sharp tissues such as bone or teeth may also pose risk of injury.

Other examples include:

Disposable needle & syringe, Pre-filled cartridge syringe, Needle attached to IV line, Winged steel needle (butterfly needle), IV Cannula, Suture needles, Lancet, Scalpels, Razors, Scissors, Bone chip, Teeth, Medication ampoule, Pipettes and Test Tubes, Capillary tubes, Glass slides.

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