Sharps, splash, bite and needlestick injuries

A needlestick injury is an incident which causes a used needle, blade (such as scalpel) or other medical instruments, to penetrate the skin. This is sometimes called a sharps or percutaneous injury. An eye splash injury is where blood or other body fluids make contact with the eye.

Accidental exposure to human blood, other body fluids or tissue, could lead to contracting a blood borne virus such as HIV, Hepatitis B (HBV) and Hepatitis C (HCV). The risk of infection varies according to the pathogen involved and the circumstances of the accident.

If you have an accident of this type, we cannot make the assumption that no potentially harmful exposure has occurred. If the potential exposure is from a patient, they may be unaware that they carry a blood borne virus, have not disclosed their status, or not have it recorded in their medical notes. An assessment by a clinician will be necessary.

First aid for needle stick injury

If you suffer an injury from a sharp which may be contaminated:

  1. Encourage the wound to gently bleed, ideally holding it under running water
  2. Wash the wound using running water and plenty of soap; leave under running water for a minimum of 10 minutes - ideally 20 minutes
  3. Do not scrub or squeeze the wound whilst you are washing it
  4. Do not suck the wound
  5. Dry the wound and cover it with a waterproof plaster or dressing

Immediate action following a potential exposure incident - in all cases

  1. Encourage the wound to bleed, but do not scrub the wound - this may increase tissue damage
  2. Wash any wound or contaminated skin with soap and clean water - cover with a sterile dressing
  3. If blood is splashed into the eye or mouth, stop and wash out immediately with tap water or saline. Remove any contact lenses.

Next actions to be taken - Hospital setting

  1. Report the incident to the person in charge - your supervisor, ward manager/duty doctor. Don’t delay, or fail to report the accident even if you were not following the correct procedures
  2. Follow the John Radcliffe NHS Trust needle stick injury policy
  3. An exposure risk assessment, including the patient and donor risk assessment, should be completed by a third party
  4. You may need to go to A&E for assessment and in rare circumstances be prescribed for PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis)
  5. You may need to visit the Occupational Health Department at the John Radcliffe Hospital for bloods and Hepatitis B vaccinations
  6. In all cases, please contact the Oxford University Occupational Health Services (OHS) on 01865 (2)82676, from 8.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Thursday, and 08.30am to 3.30pm on Fridays as soon as possible and no later than the next working day so that any necessary follow up health assessment and support can be initiated.

Please note

Always inform the OHS of the incident as soon as possible and no later than the next working day so that any necessary follow up health assessment and support can be initiated.

 

Next actions to be taken - Laboratory setting

  1. Report the incident to the senior person on duty and ensure you have all the details of the potentially infectious materials to hand. The incident will need to be reported on the Univerrsity's Incident Reporting and Investigation System (IRIS).
  2. Contact Occupational Health Services (OHS) 01865 (2)82676, from 8.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Thursday, and 08.30am to 3.30pm on Fridays
  3. If outside of OHS operating hours, telephone the on-call microbiologist via the John Radcliffe Hospital Switchboard  on 01865 741166 and go to the Accident and Emergency Department at the John Radcliffe Hospital if deemed appropriate by the microbiologist
  4. In the event of a large animal bite go straight to the Accident and Emergency Department at the John Radcliffe Hospital
  5. Always inform the OHS of the incident as soon as possible and no later than the next working day so that any necessary follow up health assessment and support can be initiated.

Please note

Always inform the OHS of the incident as soon as possible and no later than the next working day so that any necessary follow up health assessment and support can be initiated.