Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Needle stick from emptying trash receptacles

The article below reminds me of a phone call I received a few years ago. A janitor was thrilled with the installation of the SCENSIBLES System in the facility she maintained and wanted to tell me her story. Several years prior, working for another cleaning service, she contracted Hepatitis from a needle that was improperly discarded in a stall "sanitary" napkin disposal unit. The receptacles was lined with a brown waxed paper bag that did not contain all the trash deposited into it. Subsequently, when she reached into the receptacle with her hand to empty the unit-she was stuck by the needle!

She was so impressed that the facility took preventative measures to protect the cleaning staff and restroom patrons not only from this risk but the potential of coming in contact with discarded feminine care products ( blood borne pathogens and harmful viruses). The facility manager removed all the sanitary napkin disposal units throughout the building and installed SCENSIBLES refillable bag dispensers for each stall. This way product is discarded in a SCENSIBLES sanitary disposal bag and tossed in the large trashcan in the restroom. And the facility installed a needle disposal unit.

Though the article describes an incident that took place in a hospital while handling a bag of clinical waste, a puncture wound can occur in any setting if restroom patrons discard needles in stall sanitary napkin disposal units. Afterall, these receptacles are trash cans and are commonly found with all kinds of items women need to throw out including food, diapers, soda cans, personal care and baby wipes, and of course blood soaked tampons(applicators) and sanitary pads.

Damages for hospital worker pricked by needle
A Court has ruled a hospital worker who feared a used injection needle may have contaminated him with a life-threatening disease is entitled to £3,000 compensation.
Monday, 07 December 2009
Court of Appeal judges said Sean Fryers should receive damages after he suffered a puncture wound while handling a bag of clinical waste.
Mr Fryers, a ward bedside hygiene operator at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, developed an adjustment disorder over anxieties that he may have been exposed to grave risks.
He received counselling for any fears that the needle could have been contaminated and infected him with HIV, Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C.
Prophylactic injections and blood tests were carried out, and it has since been confirmed there is no risk of developing any disease connected with the injury suffered in August 2006.
A High Court judge previously held that penetration of Mr Fryers' skin by the needle was just a trivial injury. It was found to be an exposure to risk and no more.
But the Court of Appeal ruled it was wrong to decide the injury was so trivial it could not lead to damages.
Lord Justice Girvan said: "As has been frequently said in many situations, context is everything.
"The plaintiff was injured by a non-sterile needle in a bag of other items for disposal.
"It constituted hospital waste and it may well have been contaminated by blood-borne organisms liable to cause serious infection."
The judge pointed to the Belfast Health Trust's protocol for dealing with such situations as clear evidence of the gravity of the risk to those accidentally injected by used needles.
© UTV News

No comments: