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Health Issues


Needle stick injuries can expose workers to a number of blood borne pathogens that can cause serious or fatal infections, the most serious being Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), and the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) – the virus that causes AIDS.

HBV vaccine has proved highly effective in preventing infection in workers exposed to HBV. However, no vaccine exists to prevent HCV or HIV infection. It should also be noted that most discarded needles are left in conditions unfavourable for the survival of viruses over long periods of time.

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First aid and advice for dealing with needle stick injuries

  • Encourage bleeding and wash the wound with warm running water with soap – don’t suck
  • Seek medical assistance
  • Counselling of staff should be offered

Incidents of needle stick injuries where illness requiring medical treatment occurs, should be reported under The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995.


Employers should report work related accidents, diseases and dangerous occurrences to the Incident Contact Centre on 0845 300 9923 or their local authority between Monday – Friday 8:30 – 5:00pm.