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New NIOSH Needlestick Prevention Resource Shares Lessons Learned From Real-Life Programs

NIOSH Update:

Contact: Fred Blosser (202) 401-3749
September 23, 2002

A new, web-based resource from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) shares information on ways in which some health-care facilities have established programs for protecting employees from the risk of job-related needlesticks.

The NIOSH web site is “Safer Medical Device Implementation in Health Care Facilities: Lessons Learned”—

The site describes five essential steps for developing, establishing, and maintaining a needlestick-prevention program, and offers first-hand experiences from hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, and dental facilities as to how they put those steps into effect. The facilities discuss barriers they encountered in establishing the programs, how those barriers were overcome, and lessons learned from their experiences.

“Sharing information on what works in actual practice, why it works, and how it can work elsewhere is a key step in helping health-care employers to protect their employees from the risk of bloodborne infections from needlesticks,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “We are pleased to join with our partners to help disseminate this information widely.”

Job-related needlesticks can lead to serious or potentially fatal infections from bloodborne pathogens such as hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Even when a serious infection is not transmitted, the emotional impact of a needlestick injury can be severe and long-lasting. Under the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act of 2000 and the subsequent revision of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s bloodborne pathogens standard, health care facilities are required to use safer devices to reduce the risk of needlesticks.

The five strategic steps for needlestick prevention programs are 1) forming a sharps injury prevention team, 2) identifying priorities, 3) identifying and screening safer medical devices, 4) evaluating safer medical devices, and 5) instituting and monitoring the use of safer devices. For each step, the NIOSH web page includes links to the accounts by health care facilities as to how they put that step into effect.

NIOSH invites additional health care institutions to share their experiences on the web site. The site includes a link for contacting NIOSH and obtaining guidelines on submitting information. For purposes of confidentiality, the site does not disclose the names or locations of the facilities involved.

Further information on preventing needlesticks, including the NIOSH Alert, “Preventing Needlestick Injuries in Health Care Settings,” is available at For other information on NIOSH research and recommendations for preventing work-related injuries and illnesses, call toll-free 1-800-35-NIOSH (1-800-356-4674) or visit .