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Use of blunt-tip suture needles to decrease percutaneous injuries to surgical personnel (superseded by 2008-101).
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2008-132, 2007 Mar; :1-4
The purpose of this Safety and Health Information Bulletin is: 1. To describe the hazard of sharp-tip suture needles as a source of percutaneous injuries to surgical personnel; 2. To present evidence of the effectiveness of blunt-tip suture needles in decreasing percutaneous injuries to surgical personnel, particularly when used to suture muscle and fascia; and 3. To emphasize OSHA's requirement to use safer medical devices - in this case, blunt-tip suture needles - where clinically appropriate. Conclusion: OSHA and NIOSH strongly encourage the use of blunt-tip suture needles, whenever feasible and appropriate, to decrease percutaneous injuries to surgical personnel. Clinical use and scientific studies have established the effectiveness of blunt tip suture needles in decreasing the risk of percutaneous injuries. Employers in workplaces that use suture needles have the responsibility under the Bloodborne Pathogens standard to evaluate the use of blunt-tip suture needles as well as other appropriate safer medical devices. After this evaluation, which must include input from nonmanagerial employees responsible for direct patient care [29 CFR 1910.1030(c)(1)(v)] - e.g., in this case surgical personnel - employers must use safer devices to replace corresponding conventional sharp-tip suture needles in their workplaces when clinically appropriate. The introduction of any device must include training of staff in its proper use and follow-up to ensure a successful transition from conventional to safer devices. Where an employer has determined that the use of available safer devices is not feasible, the clinical justification for this determination must be documented in the facility's Exposure Control Plan and the employer must implement alternative means of protecting surgical personnel from percutaneous injuries.
Bloodborne-pathogens; Health-care-personnel; Physicians; Nurses; Surgeons; Injury-prevention; Accident-prevention; Needlestick-injuries; Engineering-controls; Control-technology; Surveillance-programs
NTIS Accession No.
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2007-132
Healthcare and Social Assistance
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: April 12, 2019
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division