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Sharps Injury Prevention

The safe use, and disposal, of sharps is one of the most critical health and safety issues registered nurses will face in the workplace. According to research carried out by the American Nurses Association (ANA), about a third of nurses feel sharps injuries and blood-borne pathogens present a significant level of risk in their work environment. Thirteen per cent have sustained at least one sharps injury within the last five years.

The numbers are certainly staggering - according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 385,000 sharps-related injuries occur annually among health care workers in hospitals, but it has been estimated that as many as half of injuries go unreported.

While the majority of sharps injuries involve nursing staff; laboratory staff, physicians, housekeepers, and other health care workers can also be at risk and need protection. ANA is working to reduce those risks through education and legislation: arming health care professionals with the guidelines and resources to prevent injuries; and their employers with the ability to create workplace environments where they can do so.


To help nurses mitigate the risks of sharp-related injuries, we have compiled a list of online best-practices and advice on raising the profile of sharps safety in the workplace:

Prevention resources


At the present time, the most up-to-date federal law relating to sharps practice is the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act/Bloodborne Pathogens Standard, enacted by the 106th Congress. ANA has released a series of position statements relating to sharps, and have outlined where we see that existing legislation can be improved.

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