There are many dangers that workers in healthcare settings, such as physicians, nurses, laboratory technicians and those tasked with cleaning, encounter routinely.
One of the most frightening hazards comes from needlesticks. “Needlestick injuries,” according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), “can lead to serious or fatal injuries from bloodborne pathogens…” If you were hurt at your workplace from a needlestick, you might be able to get workers’ compensation.
Pathogens that can be contracted by needlesticks can include but are not limited to the following:
- Hepatitis C
- Hepatitis B
Why do needlestick injures happen”
Although professional workers in hospitals and other medical environments are knowledgeable about the appropriate use and disposal of needles, mishaps that cause injuries and illnesses can still occur. Here are some of the situations when unintended needlesticks can happen:
- When someone is recapping a used needle
- Not immediately placing used needles in designated receptacles
- If needles are used improperly
- Using needles that lack safety features
Ways to avoid getting hurt by needles
There are some precautions that can lessen the chance of being hurt by needles at work. You can try these measures: Be vaccinated against hepatitis B, use items equipped with safety features, don’t use needles unless absolutely necessary and know where you will place used needles prior to doing anything with them.
If you sustain a needlestick injury
Let your boss know promptly. Document the details of how the injury occurred. If you do submit a claim for workers’ compensation, you will need that information.