Preventing Needlestick Injuries in Health Care Settings


November 1999
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 2000-108
cover of 2000-108

These injuries can be avoided by eliminating the unnecessary use of needles, using devices with safety features, and promoting education and safe work practices for handling needles and related systems. These measures should be part of a comprehensive program to prevent the transmission of bloodborne pathogens.

This Alert provides current scientific information about the risk of needlestick injury and the transmission of bloodborne pathogens to health care workers. The document focuses on needlestick injuries as a key element in a broader effort to prevent all sharps-related injuries and associated bloodborne infections. The document describes five cases of health care workers with needlestick-related infections and presents intervention strategies for reducing these risks. Because many needleless devices and safer needle devices have been recently introduced and the field is rapidly evolving, the Alert briefly describes an approach for evaluating these devices.

NIOSH requests that workers, employers, manufacturers, editors of professional journals, safety and health officials, and labor unions implement the recommendations in this Alert and bring them to the attention of all health care workers who use or may be exposed to needles in the workplace.

Page last reviewed: June 6, 2014