Sterile or not, don’t recap that needle

JCAHO follows OSHA recapping standards

A Home Infusion Therapy Management reader recently noted that her agency was cited when a staff member recapped a sterile needle. Steve Olsen, PharmD, an intermittent surveyor for home care, ambulatory care, and long-term care pharmacy for the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) notes that you should never recap a needle.

Standards require JCAHO surveyors to ensure that organizations are complying by "all applicable laws and regulations," which includes (OSHA regulations.

"OSHA considers the recapping of a needle to be the potential for a work injury," says Olsen, "and it should never occur."

Olsen says this is the case regardless of the setting, whether it’s in a patient’s home or even in your pharmacy.

"In a compounding area inside the pharmacy where there’s not the potential for transmitting bloodborne pathogens, there is still a potential for a work injury, so recapping should not occur," says Olsen.