In order to safely use and dispose of sharps, it is imperative that all your staff comply fully with the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) regulations. These are designed to help prevent infections for those who use needles and other sharps while administering care.
The first point of safety is to always use needle-free equipment where possible. The HSE has identified several instances of staff using needles where it would be possible to do so with needle free equipment, such as taking a urine sample from a catheter bag.
However, it is also recognised that there are some instances when using needles is unavoidable. In these cases, staff should be provided with safety sharps that have built-in safety mechanisms to prevent accidents. If these are to be used, it is required that you assess whether these devices are reliable and that the device does not compromise patient care.
Staff should be trained not to try and recap needles with two hands as this increases the risk of injury. They should be provided with needle blocks and other relevant safety equipment if recapping is required.
Adequate sharps disposal containers should also be provided where needed. These should be conveniently placed close to the work area or else a portable container should be provided.
As with any matter in a care environment, best practice always revolves around thorough and regular training. The Sharps Regulations require that health and safety information is provided and should cover the following areas.
Specifically that means ensuring staff are trained in:
More information about the training required can be found in the HSE’s Sharps Regulations guidance.
The regulations also specify best practice in the event of an injury. It is the injured employee’s duty to report the sharps accident to their employer and this should be made clear during training. The incident should then be recorded and investigated, and then necessary action must be taken. The investigation should always reflect the potential severity of the sharps incident and the actions taken should be designed to limit further risk to staff.
When it comes to sharps safety, it’s important to keep well stocked with all the necessary equipment, as it is often the case that accidents happen when the correct equipment is not available. Here at Care Shop, our IV and injection range includes a wide selection of safety sharps and sharps disposal equipment, so you can find all the products you need to help keep your staff safe.