OSHA: Needle removal device may be OK, but placement is the key

OSHA Healthcare Connection, March 3, 2009

OSHA posted a letter of interpretation last week stating that the Q104 needle removal device could meet the definition of a compliant mechanical method for removing a needle under the bloodborne pathogen standard.

Similar to previous letters on needle-destruction devices, however, OSHA emphasized that the interpretation only applied to the limited circumstances described in the letter, and if the device was not located immediately to the area of use, it probably would pose a hazard to employees and result in a violation.

In short, mechanical needle removal and needle destruction devices, like sharps disposal containers, are only effective when they are located in close proximity to where the hazard occurs.

For more information and a training video clip on this subject, see "Location, location, location: The keys for sharps disposal containers safety" at the OSHA Healthcare Advisor.

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