Product Search
Product Search

Secure Checkout

Advice From an OSHA Expert

by Dan Scungio • November 12, 2018


[Editors?�� Note: This month, Phlebotomy Today launches a new column: Advice From an OSHA Expert. We?��re pleased to welcome safety expert and columnist, Dan Scungio, MT (ASCP), SLS, also known as ?ǣDan the Lab Safety Man?ǥ as our newest contributor.]

Many phlebotomy exposures occur each year because the safety feature of the needle was not activated in a timely manner. During a blood collection, things can happen that can take your mind off of the needle. The patient may faint, become combative, the venipuncture site may bleed more than expected, or a tube might be dropped on the floor. When these situations occur, be sure your initial response is to activate the needle?��s safety device.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 42% of needlestick exposures occur after the venipuncture (38% occur during the draw).(1) That is a large number of exposures that can be eliminated if you make it your practice to always activate the needle's safety device immediately after the draw. If the needle comes out of the vein unexpectedly, there are several actions that must be taken. The tourniquet needs to be released, the bleeding needs to be stopped, and if it is a combative patient, you may need to protect yourself, the patient, and the nearby tubes or supplies. However, the first thing you need to do before any of those steps is to activate your safety device. 

 In today?��s high-productivity world, you may feel rushed to get to the next patient. I have seen many exposures for phlebotomists whose regular practice is to hurry and not activate the safety device. Skipping this important step in order to save a few seconds can result in months of uncertainty for the collector and expense to the employer. For the individual, the follow-up to an occupational exposure can be difficult, worrisome, and very personal. All of this can be easily avoided with one simple action: as soon as the needle is removed, activate that safety device!

You can contact Dan Scungio, ?ǣDan the Lab Safety Man?ǥ at [email protected]


1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The STOP STICKS campaign. Accessed 11/12/18.



overall rating:
my rating: log in to rate