The sudden rise in hypodermic needle use (driven by the global vaccine campaign against COVID19) highlights the importance of sharps safety. Air-Tite’s President, Neil Garnache, discussed this situation in a Healthcare Purchasing News article.
Garnache explained how the uptick in needle demand combined with inventory supply issues resulted in a sharps safety device shortage. This lack of availability forced some practitioners to settle for substandard equipment in regard to safety.
At Air-Tite, we stock sharps safety inventory, including sharps containers, safety syringes and needles, and needle holders, to help ensure your team’s protection. Our products are manufactured by well-respected companies, like TSK, EXEL International, and Bemis Healthcare. In addition to supplying your practice with the tools you need, we’re here to support your organization’s education and training efforts.
Here’s what you should know about sharps safety and some of our best-selling products to equip your business for success.
In the 1980s and 90s, accidental needlesticks led to a rise in dangerous infections among healthcare workers. In response, the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act was signed into law.
This legislation created new requirements for medical device safety, emphasizing sharps and needlesticks. Since then, needlestick rates have decreased thanks to more training, awareness, and a considerable effort by medical device companies to design safer products.
Although stick rates have decreased since the 80s and 90s, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that over 1,000 sharp sticks still occur daily. Shockingly, as many as 64% of all needlesticks in the dermatology industry go unreported.
Dermatology Advisor explains:
Since the passage of the Needlestick Prevention and Safety Act of 2000, which required safety syringes, needlestick and sharps injuries (NSIs) have decreased by 40%.2 However, sharps injuries during dermatologic surgery have increased by 6.5%.
While the new laws and increased awareness are a good start—more must be done to reduce or eliminate sharps sticks, keeping patients and providers safe.
Needlesticks typically occur when you least expect them. The CDC published an infographic outlining essential preventative measures, such as keeping your eyes on sharps, maintaining situational awareness, and ensuring proper disposal. They advise providers to be prepared, be aware, and dispose of with care. Here’s what each step entails:
Use best practices to prepare yourself and your immediate environment to work with dangerous (and potentially lethal) sharps. Preparation includes using adequate lighting, keeping equipment organized, and having a nearby sharps disposal container available.
Be sure to stress the importance of sharps safety to everyone in the office. If you witness an unsafe situation, don’t ignore it. Instead, use it as a valuable learning opportunity to educate staff and implement stronger safety practices.
Maintain visual contact with your sharps at all times. Consider using a “neutral zone” to retrieve and place them, and immediately activate the safety feature once you’ve completed the procedure.
Never pass a hypodermic needle that’s unsheathed. One minor slip is all it takes for that needle to accidentally puncture another human being. Establish a control action plan, lead by example, and enforce it among staff.
Never assume that sharps are properly disposed of—unless you performed the task yourself. Used needles may be hiding among used latex gloves and other medical waste left on the table.
Always proceed with extreme caution and handle sharps as if they were used on a patient with a blood borne disease. Finally, when transporting used needles, be sure to do so in a locked and labeled container.
To simplify your sharps disposal process, we offer a Sharps Mail-Back System. Learn more about this convenient and easy-to-use service.
As mentioned earlier, innovative safety devices can dramatically reduce accidental sticks. Some of the best options on the market are listed below.
The TSK Needle Holder™ helps prevent sharp sticks by securing the hard-shell plastic capsules of cannulas and needles to enable safe loading and removal from the syringe.
You’ll also get a much tighter fit when attaching cannulas and needles to the syringe. The firm grip and weighted base allow you to safely store sharps during a procedure.
With an integrated safety mechanism, BD’s SafetyGlide Hypodermic Needles fit onto any conventional Luer syringe and make safe injections easier and more efficient.
We also carry simple finger stroke activation safety needles manufactured by EXEL International. An audible click, as well as a tactile feel, and a visual indicator confirm the safety mechanism engagement on these needles.
The CuraCator™ is a new medical device that allows for a much safer application of PRP, exosomes, ointment, cream, or other products to the patient’s skin.
Instead of taking a risk by using a sharp hypodermic needle for precise product placement (that could potentially stick the patient if they suddenly move), the CuraCator™ offers a sterile, non-sharp product delivery method.
While innovative sharps safety products on the market can improve safety, the responsibility ultimately resides with the person using them. Adhering to best practices and routinely auditing the sharp policies in your office or lab helps ensure everyone’s safety.
Click the button below to access our full line of sharps safety products.