Back

Needle Stick Injuries

31/10/2014

What is the Risk?

The main risk from a needle-stick injury is exposure to blood-borne viruses (BBV) such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV. Whilst there is a vaccine available for Hepatitis B there is no vaccine for other blood-borne viruses.

Who is at Risk?

  • Those most at risk are people within the healthcare sector; however the risk is also prevalent across other industries. These include:
  • Police
  • Social work
  • Prison service waste disposal / management
  • Body piercing / body art
  • Risk from blood-borne viruses if a person comes into contact with infected blood or body fluids. There are many ways that someone may come into contact with infected blood or body fluids including through a needle-stick injury. This occurs when in punctured or scratched by a needle or sharp device.

Safety Precautions


There are several simple yet effective ways to protect against needle-stick injuries:

  • Wash hands immediately after contact with blood or body fluids
  • Wash hands after each patient
  • Where appropriate PPE e.g. disposable gloves for a health professional working with blood or body fluids or puncture resistant gloves such as TurtleSkin Gloves if dealing with waste collection on conducting person searches.
  • Disposable aprons should be worn if there is a risk splashing of blood or body fluid
  • Protective eyewear if there is potential for the blood or body fluid to splash in the face
  • All cuts or open wounds should be covered to create a barrier against exposure to infected blood or body fluids
  • Immediately dispose of used needles into a secure puncture-proof 


It is possible to prevent needle-stick injuries occurring by taking the necessary precautions. It is always best to take a cautions approach when come into contact with blood / body fluids or dealing with used needles.


In situations where an employees is likely to be exposed to blood / body fluids or used needles then the employer is responsible for ensuring that employees are provided with the appropriate equipment to protect against needle-stick injuries.


This article is for guidance only and should not be used in place of recognised training and procedures.

Comments by Members

This blog has no reviews, be the first to review this blog.

Submit Your Comment

You need to log in to submit a review. Please click here to log in or register.