Needle and Syringe Safety
This SafetyNet outlines practices that can be taken to prevent potential needle stick injury or illness from needles.
- Always be aware of where the sharp object is.
- When working with sharps, avoid placing your hand or part of your body in the “line-of-fire.”
- For example, do not inject the needle into a material that is against your hand. The needle may go through the material and poke your hand behind it.
- Dispose of needles and syringes in puncture-resistant (hard-walled) containers.
- For medical waste sharps, the sharps waste container should have the biohazard symbol and the word “Biohazard.” There is no requirement for the sharps container to be red.
- For non-medical waste sharps (i.e. no human pathogenic potential), the container should NOT have the biohazard symbol or the word “Biohazard.”
- A sharps waste container should be placed close to where the needles and syringes are being used to facilitate safe disposal of sharps.
- Do not walk around the room with an uncapped needle.
- Place the needle and syringe, without cap, directly into a disposable sharps container.
- Do not break or shear the needle shaft from the hub; this may aerosolize the material.
- Do not bend the needle.
- Avoid removing the needle from the disposable syringe.
- Avoid re-capping a needle.
- If you need to re-cap the needle, do not hold the cap while attempting to reinsert the needle. Use the one-handed “scoop” needle recapping technique.
- Place the cap on a surface (e.g. counter top) and carefully insert needle into cap (do not hold the cap).
- Gently elevate the needle and cap, then push the cap against a hard surface (again, do not hold the cap) to ensure a tight fit onto the device.
- Consider using safety-engineered sharps. Safety-engineered sharps have a built-in feature that effectively reduces the device user’s risk of a sharps injury.
- To Remove a Syringe from a Case:
- Grasp the casing top with the fingers of one hand and the case with fingers of other hand; push the top in toward the case and twist in opposite directions; or, hold the case perpendicular with the top facing downward and with one brisk tap, hit the top of the case against a counter top, then twist off the cap.
- Slip the syringe out of the case and hold by the barrel (do not touch the open end where the needle will be attached).
- To Remove a Needle from Sterile Plastic Packaging:
- Remove cap carefully.
- The plastic cap is pitted and may be sealed snugly against a plastic needle hub.
- Hold the small end (hub end) of the plastic packaging with fingers of one hand and the larger end with fingers of the other hand; then rotate the two pieces in opposite directions to break the seal.
- Remove smaller plastic cap from the hub end of the needle, leaving the needle (sharp end) covered and protected.
- Remove cap carefully.
- To Attach a Needle to a Syringe:
- Holding the capped needle in one hand and syringe in the other, insert the small end of the syringe into the hub of the needle. Slightly rotate the syringe as you push it into the hub of the needle. This also helps break the cap seal on the needle.
- To Remove a Needle Cap:
- Hold the syringe with one hand and grasp and push the needle cap toward the syringe with the other hand while rotating the cap just slightly (about 1/4 turn) to break the seal (do not try to pull the cap off the needle as you may inadvertently stick yourself when the cap comes off suddenly).
- Never leave an uncovered needle on the counter. Always rest needle in its cap while waiting to use the assembled needle and syringe; it is not necessary to place the cap securely onto the needle at this point.