Risk Management

Sharps injuries can be minimised with appropriate risk management systems

 

For all employers, compliance with the provisions of the OHS Regulations presupposes that the risk of needlestick injury in the workplace has been identified, assessed, and either eliminated, or the risk of harm controlled to the lowest possible level.

Whilst this is obvious in the high-risk areas of nursing, hospitals and aged care facilities; it applies equally to those groups whose activities are involved with the community such as policing, councilworkers, lifeguard services. teachers in schools and universities. In fact all employers have a duty of care to protect their workers from the risk of needle stick injury.

For this reason, all organisations should ensure that employees and contractors who may be exposed to sharps in the workplace receive training in sharps awareness and sharps handling. They should be provided with sharps containers conforming to AS 4031-1992 and suitable personal protective equipment.

Sharps that are collected in community sharps disposal facilities, or at the workplace should be managed as sharps waste (hazardous waste). This includes disposal only to treatment premises that hold an environment protection licence permitting the receipt of sharps waste.