Notes from the field: Have you done your annual sharps evaluation?

By: January 31st, 2011 Email This Post Print This Post

The year is still new enough for another resolution or two, so be sure you commit to completing all of your required OSHA paperwork.

During my mock OSHA inspections, one area where I usually find deficiencies is the lack of an annual sharps evaluation. OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens standard (section [c][1][iv][B]) requires that once a year, clinical staff members need to evaluate the sharps used in the office.

Have there been sharps injuries in the past year? Have you seen trends in how injuries may have occurred? Have each staff member demonstrate how they are “engaging” the safety on the sharps device. Are they doing this correctly?

As a part of the annual sharps evaluation, contact your medical supply vendor and request samples of any new safety devices that may be new to the market this year. The clinical staff should perform an evaluation of any new devices.

The safety officer needs to determine whether the updated devices appear to be easier/safer for the staff to use. If the majority of the staff likes the new device, consideration should be given to switching to that safety device. If there are not any new safety devices for the staff to evaluate, document the conversation that was held with the supply vendor.

As a last reminder, have you done the Annual Facility Review? This should be a walk through the office with a checklist of items to verify compliance. Questions concerning disinfection procedures, PPE, fire drills, hazard communication, and your exposure control plan should be addressed in the walk through.

Tools and checklists for the annual sharps evaluation and the walk through are available on the Tools page.


If we determine that one particular department is having the majority of the exposures, can we do a department specific evaluation rather than the whole facility? Thank you

By David LaHoda on February 1st, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Yes. OSHA gives much latitude to how you do evaluations, and an evaluation can be for the purposes of a specific department. The absence of neeedlesticks, however, does not exempt you from doing evaluations in those other departments.


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