Healthcare workers encouraged to report needle stick injuries

Tuesday 12 November 2019
Linda Hanley

Handling used needles is one of the most common ways a health worker can be exposed to the risk of infections and diseases such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV. 

Needle stick injuries should never been ignored; the consequences may be lifelong and devastating.

Recent research conducted around the incidence of these types of injuries show that they occur often and are vastly under-reported.  This is suggested to be due to injured workers: 

  • believing the risk of having been exposed to infection and/or contracting diseases is low;
  • being too busy to report the incident after the event;
  • fearing being considered to have poor clinical skills and/or judgement; or
  • not knowing how to report the incident.

After any occurrence of a needle stick injury, it is important to submit an incident report and WorkCover claim form. 

Who is at risk?

  • Health care workers
  • Nursing and other medical staff
  • Ambulance officers
  • Cleaners and waste handlers
  • Builders
  • Gardeners
  • Maintenance workers
  • Sewerage workers
  • Police officers

Which workplaces are commonly affected?

  • Hospitals and medical centres
  • Nursing homes
  • Toilets
  • Rubbish bins and bags
  • Accommodation
  • Parks
  • Car parks
  • Sewers

What should I do after an incident?

Workers who have suffered a needle stick injury ought to be provided with immediate first aid, serological testing and counselling.  In some cases, immunoprophylaxis and antiviral medication may also be used.

If you have suffered from a needle stick injury and would like advice about next steps, call us on (03) 9321 9988.

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