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.
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
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.