OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
OSHA Trade Release
U.S. Department of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Office of Communications
For Immediate Release
OSHA Trade Release
October 16, 2003
Contact: Frank Meilinger
Phone: (202) 693-1999
CONTAMINATED NEEDLES AND BLOOD TUBE HOLDERS
WASHINGTON -- A new Safety and Health Information Bulletin (SHIB) issued by OSHA explains the Agency's policy on the disposal of contaminated needles and blood tube holders following blood drawing procedures.
"Removing contaminated needles and reusing blood tube holders can pose multiple hazards," said OSHA Administrator John Henshaw. "Single-use blood tube holders, when used with engineering and work practice controls, simply provide the best level of protection against needlestick injures. That is why the standard generally prohibits removing needles and re-using blood tube holders."
OSHA's Bloodborne Pathogens Standard prohibits the removal of contaminated needles from medical devices unless an employer can demonstrate that it is necessary for a specific medical or dental procedure. When performing a blood drawing procedure, OSHA requires the disposal of blood tube holders with a safety needle attached immediately after each patient's blood is drawn.
In the bulletin, OSHA explains that while engineering controls exist to significantly reduce injuries to healthcare workers, hazardous work practices continue to cause injuries. The manipulation required to remove a contaminated needle, even a safety-engineered needle, from a blood tube holder may result in a needlestick with the back end of the needle, which is only covered with a rubber sleeve.
The bulletin also details OSHA's requirements for the disposal of contaminated needles. It also includes an Evaluation Toolbox which provides guidance on the evaluation, selection, and appropriate use of engineering and work practice controls in order to provide the highest degree of control.
OSHA is dedicated to saving lives, preventing injuries and illnesses and protecting America's workers. Safety and health add value to business, the workplace and life. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department releases are accessible on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call (202) 693-7773 or TTY (202) 693-7755.
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