Sharps Injuries

Sharps (including hypodermic needles) may be used at work (e.g., in healthcare), or may be found discarded at workplaces (e.g., in public bathrooms or car parks). Sharps are a cause of skin penetrating (needle-stick or sharps) injuries, which can expose workers to blood-borne viruses such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Skin penetrating injuries may also expose workers to other infection risks, such as tetanus.


Immediately after the injury

  • Allow the wound to bleed
  • Wash the wound with soap and water.
  • If soap and water aren’t available, use alcohol-based hand rubs or solutions.
  • If you are at work, notify your supervisor or occupational health and safety officer – you will need to fill out an accident report form.
  • Go straight to your doctor, or to the nearest hospital emergency department.