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OSHA, NIOSH publish report on needle safety

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WASHINGTON—The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health have published a joint safety and health information bulletin designed to help protect surgical personnel from needle puncture injuries while using suture needles.

The document describes the hazards of sharp-tip suture needles and presents evidence of the effectiveness of blunt-tip needles in decreasing injuries. It also emphasizes OSHA's requirement to use appropriate, available and effective safer medical devices when clinically appropriate.

According to OSHA, sharp-tip suture needles are the leading source of penetrating injuries to surgical personnel, causing 51% to 77% of such incidents. Those injuries potentially expose staff and patients to blood-borne pathogens.

The bulletin is available on the OSHA Web site at www.osha.gov/dts/shib/shib032307.html and on the NIOSH Web site at www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2007-132.