Infection Control Today - 05/2002: Sharps Safety

Infection Control Today magazines virtual roundtable onsharps safety

Guardian Medical Products, Inc.
6786 Hawthorn Park Drive
Indianapolis, Ind. 46220
Toll free (866) 915-5560

Infection Control Today: While the NeedlestickSafety and Prevention Act of 2000 helped raise awareness of sharps injuriesamong healthcare workers, do you think this legislation had a quantifiableimpact on reducing incidences overall?

Guardian: Not yet. Many healthcare facilities across the country have yet tocomply with the law. In addition, facilities that have converted to saferdevices continue to allow healthcare workers to use unsafe products.Unfortunately, until all healthcare workers are using safety devices faithfully,needlesticks will continue to occur.

Infection Control Today: What can be done in hospitals to realisticallysafeguard healthcare workers from sharps injuries?

Guardian: Training. Every healthcare worker that uses a safety device shouldbe trained on its proper use. It is also necessary to remind healthcare workersof the severity of exposure to Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV from aneedlestick. Hospital administrators and managers should take every steppossible to keep their employees safe.

Infection Control Today: As a manufacturer, how are you able to betterengineer sharps to help mitigate or eradicate the possibility of occupationalexposure?

Guardian: By providing a product that has as little change intechnique as possible. The Gettig Guard Safety Needle fits any standard syringe.Therefore, healthcare workers can use syringes that they are already familiarwith using. Unlike any other product available, the Gettig Guard features atemporary locked position to keep the healthcare worker protected against anexposed needle when transporting the syringe to the patient or betweeninjections.

Infection Control Today: The most effectively designedsharps safety device wont do its job unless healthcare workers know how touse it properly. What kind of staff education and training would you advocate?

Guardian: Face-to-face training. In-services are the most effective way forevery healthcare worker to learn the proper use of a safety device. Supportingmaterials, such as videos and handouts should also always be available beforethe device is used.

Infection Control Today: What should a healthcare worker look for whenevaluating a sharps safety device for use?

Guardian: A balance of safety and functionality. The end-user should feelprotected from the sharp at all times. Any device that has a safety feature thatgets in the way of a procedure or creates another potentially hazardoussituation should not be acceptable.

Infection Control Today: What would you say to the hospital administrator whobalks at the cost of exchanging conventional sharps for protective devices?

Its the law! Not only can your own employees notify OSHA of the violation,but JCAHO is now reporting violators to OSHA as well. Time has run out. You haveno choice but to begin evaluating safety devices. There are manyinformational resources available that can help you begin the process. Whywouldnt you want to protect your employees?