Needlestick injury

Needlestick injuries occur when a hypodermic needle, scalpel, or other sharp medical device accidentally punctures the skin. They are a significant concern within the medical and healthcare industry.

Needlestick injuries can have severe consequences for those affected but are often preventable. When this is the case, there may be a possible claim for negligence.

Preventing Needlestick Injuries

Many needlestick injuries can be prevented by adhering to Health and Safety legislation and procedures. Employers play a crucial role in ensuring a safe working environment for their employees. If an employer fails in their duty of care, they may be liable to pay compensation.

One common cause of needlestick injuries is the incorrect disposal of used needles. The proper place to dispose of these sharp objects is in a designated bin with solid sides, commonly known as a sharps bin. However, if someone fails to follow the correct procedure and disposes of a needle in a regular plastic bag, it poses a significant risk for anyone handling the bag. The needle may puncture the bag, leading to the potential injury of the person handling it.

Irresponsible individuals sometimes litter public spaces such as toilets, staircases, and alleyways with needles. This irresponsible act poses risks for those tasked with cleaning these areas. If the employer has not provided these workers with appropriate training and equipment for handling needles and other sharp implements, they are failing in their duty of care and putting them at risk.

Who is at risk?

While healthcare professionals are particularly susceptible to needlestick injuries, they are not the only ones. Various other groups, including cleaners, police officers, refuse collectors, prison officers, and park keepers may encounter these hazards.

According to a survey conducted by the Royal College of Nursing, a significant number of nurses have experienced needlestick injuries. Shockingly, 48% of nurses admitted to to experiencing needlestick injuries from a used needle or other sharp medical implement. Even more concerning is that 45% of nurses said they had had no training on safe needle use. This highlights the need for better education and prevention measures.

Consequences of needlestick injuries

The primary risk associated with needlestick injuries is not the physical wound itself but the potential transmission of blood-borne viruses (BBVs), including Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and HIV. Consequently, a needlestick injury can lead to extensive psychological trauma, including prolonged periods of stress and depression. Victims often find themselves subjected to lengthy and stressful hospital tests, during which they are filled with worry about potential infections and long-term health consequences.

Legal recourse and compensation

If you’ve been a victim of a needlestick injury due to negligence, you can claim for compensation. This compensation cannot undo the injury, but can help alleviate the financial burden associated with medical treatments, therapy, and lost income. To explore your legal options and understand how you can pursue compensation, contact one of our experts. Remember, legal action is not just about compensation; it’s also about accountability and promoting safer practices in the workplace.

Needlestick injuries are preventable, but when they do occur, they can have devastating consequences. By raising awareness, improving training, and holding negligent parties accountable, we can work towards reducing the incidence of needlestick injuries and ensuring that those affected receive the support and compensation they deserve.