Using Needles Safely

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How can I prevent needlesticks?

Using Needles Safely

Health care workers have long fought for laws that would require hospitals and health care centers to use safe needles -- that is, needles with safety caps and other devices that prevent puncture wounds. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires gloves, gowns, masks, and eye protection, but the agency hasn't addressed the need for safe needles. Fortunately, there's a new federal law that requires hospitals to use safe needles beginning on Jan. 1, 2001. If your hospital doesn't yet use safe needles, you may want to make that an issue. Meanwhile, make sure you're especially careful when drawing blood. Be aware that you are likely to be at your highest risk of injury at the end of a shift or when working a double shift, or at times when staffing is low.



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