Sharps safety is a collection of procedures and measures to reduce the risk of damage and infection involved with using, handling, and disposing of sharp medical devices such as lancets, syringes, needles, and scalpels. It is especially relevant in healthcare facilities since healthcare professionals are often exposed to sharps as part of their jobs.

To reduce the possibility of injuries and mishaps, you should be aware of the measures to take before, during, and after sharp safety procedures.

Before the Procedure

Substitute or Eliminate Sharps

The best way to avoid needles and other sharps injuries is to use equipment that reduces the risk, such as a needle-syringe holder, instead of sharps items.

Identify any sharps safety devices in your processes, then complete these steps:

Consider alternatives to using a sharps instrument to complete the job. Examples:

  • Use a blunt needle rather than a sharp one.
  • Replace glass with plastic if possible.

Prepare Written Procedures

Before beginning work on a new procedure, you should develop a standard operating procedure (SOP) that includes the following points:

  • Steps for doing the surgery safely
  • Tools needed to complete the procedure successfully
  • Personal safety equipment
  • Steps to take in the event of an injury, contact, or accident

During the Procedure

To prevent mishaps and injury, all operations using sharps safety precautions involve paying attention to your surroundings and practicing cautious behavior. So keep the following suggestions in mind:

  • Safe Sharps Handling: Use correct sharps handling practices, such as utilizing a firm and controlled grasp, avoiding excessive force, and preventing hand-to-hand sharps transmission.
  • Use of Safety-Engineered Devices: Utilize safety-engineered tools like needleless systems to reduce the possibility of getting an injury from a needlestick.
  • Needlestick Prevention: Avoid recapping needles and dispose of spent sharps in approved sharps containers immediately after use.
  • Proper Disposal: Sharps should be deposited in puncture-resistant sharps containers near the point of usage. Sharps should be disposed of immediately and properly according to local rules and facility procedures.

After the Sharps Safety Procedure

Keep a sharps container close to your workspace and dispose of used sharps immediately after use.

  • Never, ever leave needles without their caps on a work surface.
  • After use, retractable sharps should be disposed of like conventional needles and other types of sharps.

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