Q: Who is responsible, the dental assistant or dentist, for the disposing of a contaminated needle in the sharps container?
A: OSHA’s Bloodborne pathogens Standard 1910.1030(d)(2)(i)  says:
Engineering and work practice controls shall be used to eliminate or minimize employee exposure.
I believe the unnecessary handing of a contaminated sharp, even with the safety mechanism engaged, by a dental assistant constitutes a work practice that increases the chance of exposure.
This is supported by OSHA’s Enforcement Procedures for the Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens  which says:
Preventing exposures requires a comprehensive program, including the use of engineering controls…and proper work practices (e.g., no-hands procedures in handling contaminated sharps, eliminating hand-to-hand instrument passing in the operating room).
Is there a patient safety reason for the dentist not disposing of the sharp. If not, I’d say having the dental assistant unnecessarily handling the contaminated shard is a likely OSHA violation.
What do you think, is this a standard or unsafe work practice. Let us know in the comment section below.