How to prevent sharps injuries
How to prevent sharps injuries
Posted On March 23rd, 2023
Clinical Waste Management

Sharps injuries are the second most common injury faced by healthcare workers in the NHS. A survey by the Royal College of Nursing identified that six out of ten nurses had experienced a needlestick injury.1 The impact of a sharps injury can be devastating, and we discussed this in depth in our recent blog.

Almost all sharps injuries are avoidable. Implementing a robust waste management system can significantly reduce the risk of injury. Our Key Account Managers are trained in sharps management and have shared their top tips for lowering the risk of sharps injuries:

Top Tips for Lowering Sharps Injuries

1. Create a 'no blame' culture

Accidents happen, no matter how many controls are in place. By encouraging a no blame culture within your organisation, accidents are more likely to be reported and can then be investigated. This investigation could mitigate further risks, and lower injuries in the long term.

2. Never recap a needle

This is a universally agreed principle for lowering needlestick injuries. All sharps policies should highlight that recapping a needle is bad practice and can significantly increase the risk of pricking your finger with a needle.

3. Ensure your container is correctly assembled

When using a Sharpsafe container, it is important to ensure the fill line on the lid of the container and the label on the container base are facing in the same direction. You then apply pressure to all four corners of the lid until four audible clicks are heard. Unlike other sharps management systems, once assembled it is virtually impossible to remove our lids.

4. Always use a Near Patient Sharps Disposal system accessory

Over a third of all sharps injuries happen during disposal2, so Sharpsafe pioneered the world's first Near Patient Sharps Disposal system as a strategy to minimuise sharps injuries. By taking the sharps bin to the point of use, the sharp can be disposed of immediately and the risk is minimised. We have a range of trays, stands, trolleys, brackets, and wall loops to suit the needs of every facility and ward.

5. Dispose of sharp immediately after use

The longer a needle or sharp is held, the higher the risk of injury.

6. Always use the temporary closure

Unlike other leading brands, our temporary closure is user friendly and purpose-designed for sharps injury prevention. The simple to use lid flap ensures there is no risk of hands slipping into the container when opening and closing. When not in use, the containers should always be in temporary closure.

7. Never overfill a container

A sharps container capacity should never surpass 85% - ISO 23097-1:2019.3 Our clearly visible fill lines show exactly when to permanently close the container, and the additional features, such as the safety shield in our mid-size range, act as an additional indicator for when the container needs to be closed.

8. Complete our sharps injury prevention course on the Vernacare Academy

We are the only sharps provider to now offer an online CPD-certified course for sharps injury prevention. The course offers a range of topics and is available 24/7 to healthcare professionals. 

Our Key Account Managers are always on hand to provide training materials, assist with study days, and conduct sharps audits to ensure your team are utilising our products to prevent the risks of sharps injuries. For more information on Sharpsafe, or to enquire about our products, contact our customer service team today on 01495 235800 or email [email protected].

Sharpsafe, Clinical Waste Management