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What is a Needle Stick Injury:

A needlestick injury is a percutaneous piercing wound typically set by a needle point, but possibly also by other sharp instruments or objects. Commonly encountered by people handling needles in the medical setting, such injuries are an occupational hazard in the medical community. Occupational needlestick injuries are mainly focused on the healthcare environment, but law enforcement is at particularly high risk for incidental needlesticks, though this population is commonly overlooked. These events are of concern because of the risk to transmit blood-borne diseases through the passage of the hepatitis B virus (HBV), the hepatitis C virus (HCV), and the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS.

Despite their seriousness as a medical event, needlestick injuries have been neglected: most go unreported and ICD-10 coding is not available. On the other hand, as needlesticks have been recognized as occupational hazards, their prevention has become the subject of regulations in an effort to reduce and eliminate this preventable event.



The Sharps Terminator ® New needle destruction device has the potential to reduce needle stick injuries to health care workers...

London - A new device that destroys syringe needles immediately after use, rendering them harmless, has been launched today. The Sharps Terminator, which destroys the entire needle shaft in a single-handed action leaving the user with only the plastic syringe, has the potential to significantly reduce the number of needle stick injuries reported by healthcare workers every year in the UK.

It is estimated that around 100,000 needle stick injuries occur each year, but as many as 60–80 per cent may go unreported, making it impossible to estimate the true extent of the problem.1,2  According to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), at least 48 per cent of nurses during their working life will have been injured by a needle or sharp that had previously been used on a patient.3  Most needle stick injuries occur soon after the needle has been withdrawn from the patient,4  so by totally eliminating the needle directly after use, the Sharps Terminator ® removes the immediate risk of a needle stick injury to the healthcare worker and others who may be injured during the disposal process. 

The lightweight, portable, battery powered Sharps Terminator ® operates via a single-step process that is extremely simple to use and works with a wide range of needles, including regular intravenous and butterfly needles. Once the needle is withdrawn from the patient, the healthcare worker simply inserts the needle into The Sharps Terminator ® and holds it for 3 seconds. As the needle body completes a circuit between two angled copper electrodes, resistance from the needle creates sufficient heat to destroy the metal portion of the needle from the tip to the hub. The Sharps Terminator ® then cuts the plastic “hub” above the needle so that no metal is left on the syringe.  Finally, the debris from the needle falls into a clean-out tube at the base of the device where it is exposed to UV light to eliminate contaminants.  The remaining plastic syringe is no longer a sharp and can be disposed of in a regular medical waste container.

The most complete prevention of needle stick injuries and consequential blood-borne pathogen risk. The use of this device with its incorporated safety-engineered protection mechanisms will encourage changes in practice and eliminate the unnecessary use of sharps.  Further, because the device is cost-effective for Trusts to use, the product should not face implementation resistance in the way that safety needles have.  If introduced into routine clinical practice, the Sharps Terminator ™ has the potential to reduce the costs and resources associated with the disposal of clinical waste and those required to manage needle stick injuries to staff.


Evelyn McKnight tells her story about unsafe injections. Evelyn is part of the One & Only Campaign. The goal of the One & Only Campaign is to ensure patients are protected each and every time they receive a medical injection. This will be attained by empowering patients and re-educating healthcare providers regarding safe injection practices.

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