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What's Wrong Here?

Can you spot what's wrong with this picture?

by Dennis Ernst • October 03, 2019


disposing of blood collection needle

What's wrong with this picture? We guarantee something isn't as it should be.

In the U.S. this practice violates the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard, which states "Contaminated needles and other contaminated sharps shall not be bent, recapped or removed unless the employer can demonstrate that no alternative is feasible or that such action is required by a specific medical or dental procedure."

The agency further galvanized the ban in the infamous Kline letter.

Outside the U.S. needles can be removed from their tube holders without violating regulations. However, the more important violation is to the safety of those who disassemble devices and who handle contaminated sharps downstream from the point of disposal. 

The user who disassembles the needles from the tube holder and misses the sharps container is suddenly in the top tier of risk for an exposure. Handling a disassembled sharp and placing it into the sharps container puts the individual in direct contact with a contaminated needle. The only thing that separates him/her from the back end of the needle is a vinyl sleeve, which offers no protection.

For those who handle biohazardous waste receptacles, the back end of the disassembled needle also poses a significant risk of injury. Should the sharps container fail and disassembled needles require manual manipulation into a secondary container, the risk is significant and magnified far beyond that presented when a sharps container full of assembled devices fails.

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YouTube biohazardous exposure disposal Kline letter needle OSHA sharps container

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