17 Bloodborne Pathogens Environmental Health and Safety • Review available sharps injury data for the department, and answer the following questions: ¤ What personnel were involved? ¤ What sharps devices were being used? ¤ What were the circumstances of the sharps injuries? ¤ How frequent are sharps injuries? If no sharps injuries have occurred, think about where they might happen • Determine what alternative safer sharps devices exist to replace the devices currently used. More than a thousand devices designed to prevent sharps injuries are available. Examples are: ◦ retracting finger stick lancets ◦ breakage resistant plastic specimen/vacuum tubes ◦ plastic capillary tubes ◦ safety syringes with a cylindrical sheath to shield needles when blood is injected into tubes ◦ self-blunting or shielding needles for vacuum tube phlebotomy sets See Appendix II for resources to help identify available safer sharps devices. • Evaluate the effectiveness of different available safer sharps devices for each individual workplace setting in the department. • Non-managerial personnel who will actually be using the devices must be included in the selection of safer sharps devices. This will improve the quality of the selection process and improve personnel acceptance of the newer devices. • All evaluations must be documented annually in writing. ◦ Develop safety feature evaluation forms specific for alternative safer sharps devices to be tested in the department. A sample form is available in Appendix II. ◦ Have personnel using the devices complete the safety feature evaluation forms, and summarize the findings in a central location. ◦ Each year, summarize which alternative safer sharps devices were evaluated, and the reasons why the alternative devices were or were not implemented. Alternative safer sharps devices must be used wherever it will reduce personnel exposure, either by removing, eliminating or isolating the hazard, regardless of cost.