Sharps Injuries in Healthcare

Sharps Waste Container

Sharps injuries in the healthcare setting may result in the transmission of blood borne viruses (BBVs) such as hepatitis B (HBV) hepatitis C (HCV) or Human Immune Deficiency Virus (HIV).

Healthcare workers may acquire a BBV if exposed to infected blood or body fluids. This could be via the mucous membranes (eyes, mouth and nose), through broken skin or through an inoculation injury where the skin is punctured or scratched by a needle or sharp device that has been used in a medical procedure. This final route is known as a needle stick or sharps injury.

The employer must ensure that there is a risk management system in place to protect the safety, health and welfare of employees and to provide a safe working environment.

Further Information