A recent report1 on needlesticks and blood exposures to healthcare workers cited some of the approaches used by hospitals that were successfully preventing many of these incidents.

“Our goal is to come up with practical strategies that people can actually incorporate into their own practice,” says report co-author Linda Good, RN, PhD, COHN-S, manager of occupational health services at Scripps Health in San Diego. “To be able to offer tips from what others have done seems to resonate with the group.”

Some of the tips and strategies suggested in the survey of members of the Association of Occupational Health Professionals in Healthcare included:

• Sharps safety education at hire, during unit orientation, every time an employee sustains an exposure, and through an annual refresher;

• An emphasis on coaching rather than a disciplinary approach;

• A “Go Slow With Sharps” campaign to raise awareness of risk;

• Standardizing a “Safe Zone” and a needle accountability process in operating room daily huddles;

• “Face Mask Is the New Glove” campaign;

• After an exposure, employee health explains to the healthcare worker how and why it occurred;

• Ask how could the injury have been prevented;

• If incorrect practices identified in a needlestick, share with group in case others are doing the same;

• All blood and body fluid exposures are reported monthly to environment of care, infection control, and process improvement.


  1. Good L, Grimmond T, Burson J. Exposure Injury Reduction Strategies: Results that Protect Lives. Journal of the Association of Occupational Health Professionals in Healthcare, 2018.