"Surgical personnel are at risk of occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens from injuries caused by sharp surgical instruments," said assistant secretary of labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke, Jr. "We strongly encourage the use of blunt-tip suture needles when feasible and appropriate to reduce this risk."
"The effectiveness of blunt-tip suture needles for preventing needlestick injuries has been widely reported," said NIOSH director John Howard, MD. "We are pleased to partner with OSHA in offering guidance to protect the safety and health of medical professionals."
The SHIB, available on the OSHA Web site at http://www.osha.gov/dts/shib/shib032307.html and on the NIOSH Web site at
http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2007-132, describes the hazards of sharp-tip suture needles and presents evidence of the effectiveness of blunt-tip needles in decreasing injuries. It also emphasizes OSHA's requirement to use appropriate, available and effective safer medical devices.
Sharp-tip suture needles are the leading source of penetrating injuries to surgical personnel, causing 51 percent to 71 percent of these incidents. These injuries potentially expose staff and patients to bloodborne pathogens.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of
Source: Occupational Safety and Health Administration