What precautions should be used when working with needles and sharps?
Consider all sharps as potentially infective. The user of the sharp should plan for it's safe use and disposal.
- Use puncture-resistant containers.
- Label containers.
- Clean and sterilize reusable syringes before reusing.
- Place large bore reusable needles in puncture-proof containers.
- Use clamps to remove lancet and scalpel blades from holders, not your fingers.
- Do not recap, bend, break or remove needles by hand from disposable syringes or otherwise handle after use.
How should decontamination and waste disposal be handled?
- Disinfect or sterilize medical devices or apparatus according to manufacturer's instructions.
- Clean instruments thoroughly before disinfecting with a germicide or medical grade disinfectant.
- Incinerate or autoclave infectious waste before disposal. Carefully pour bulk blood, suctioned fluids, excretions or secretions into a drain connected to a sanitary sewer. Check with local, regional or provincial authorities regarding by-laws.
How should blood/body fluid spills be cleaned?
- Remove visible material from patient care areas and decontaminate.
- Remove blood or body fluids with absorbent paper towels. Dispose according to hospital policy.
- Clean area and use disinfectant.
How should I handle laboratory specimens?
- Place collected blood and body fluid specimens in sterile containers. Securely close lid.
- Clean the outside of the container with disinfectant if visibly contaminated.
- Place container in a clear impervious plastic bag.
- Label container "Blood and Body Fluid Precautions." Label requisition and attach to outside of bag.
- Do not transport in a vacuum/pneumatic system.
How should patient care articles be handled?
- Use disposable patient care articles whenever possible.
- Incinerate or dispose of disposable articles according to hospital policy.
- Place articles soiled with blood in impervious bag. Label "Blood and Body Fluid Precautions."
- Reprocess reusable items according to hospital policy.
Document last updated on January 13, 2010
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