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WORKING SAFELY WITH SHARPS

INTRODUCTION

This guidance is intended to help departments and individuals to control the risks associated with sharps and how to deal with incidents involving them.

What are sharps?

Sharps are anything that can puncture or scratch the skin and include: needles, broken glass, scalpel blades, microtomes and scissors.

What are the risks?

In addition to the physical injury i.e. cuts, scratches or punctures that can be caused by contact with sharps, there is also a risk of:

  • infection from needles etc that have been used to handle blood, other body fluids or microbiological cultures;
  • injection or contamination from chemicals or drugs being handled or administered by the sharps.

Who is at risk?

Anyone who comes into contact with sharps is at risk including: laboratory staff, students, cleaners, gardeners and maintenance workers.

Accidental exposure to blood or body fluid

The UCL Occupational Health procedure for accidental exposure to blood or body fluids can be found at the following link:

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/occ_health/policies/accidental_exposure.php

Incidents involving sharps, whether they result in an injury or not, should be reported on riskNET using the Report an incident link on the SafetyNET home page.

 

USEFUL LINKS

 


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