If you work in an environment where medical equipment such as needles and syringes are used on a daily basis, it’s easy to become complacent about sharps safety. However, it’s vital to ensure that sharps best practice plays a key part in your overall training plans, including refresher training for existing staff as well as inductions for new members of your team.
Here at Care Shop, we’ve put together a sharps safety quiz to test some of the basics of best practice. Why not have a go at testing your own knowledge, or pass it on to your team to see how you all measure up? Be sure to tweet us @CareShopBunzl to let us know how you get on!
In any healthcare environment where sharps such as needles and cannulae are used, staff should be trained on all aspects of sharps use as a matter of vital importance. As over 20 diseases, both bacterial and viral, can be transmitted by sharps that are contaminated with blood, it is absolutely essential that your staff are able to protect themselves and those around them from the risks posed by sharps.
In accordance with the Health and Safety Executive’s Sharps Regulations, it is a legal requirement for all care staff to receive sharps safety training, so it’s not just a matter of best practice – it’s also the law.
Sharps safety training should provide comprehensive information on issues including:
In order to follow sharps safety best practice, staff should be aware of the situations when it is not essential to use sharps, such as when taking a sample from a catheter bag, and should also have access to safety sharps. They should know not to recap sharps unless absolutely necessary, as doing so could increase the risk of an injury. If an injury does occur, they should be clear on what to do, including letting the wound bleed and seeking immediate medical assistance from a GP or at A&E. When disposing of sharps, staff should be aware of which coloured bin to use, depending on whether the sharp has been contaminated or not.
As with any medical guidelines, it is essential that you stay up to date with the latest advice from the HSE and pass this on to all care staff by having regular training sessions. This is particularly important for new members of staff who have less experience of using sharps, but is also helpful for staff who have been practicing for many years and might need reminding of the guidelines. Following best practice for sharps safety will allow care staff to protect themselves and those they are caring for, and to create a safer environment for everyone.
Full guidelines on what to include in your sharps safety training can be found on the HSE website. Alongside formal training, why not pass on our sharps safety quiz above to test your team’s knowledge?