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Needlestick injury

Needlestick injuries are a significant concern due to the potential of contracting diseases such as hepatitis B and C and HIV.

It is important University personnel are aware of safe disposal procedures for needles and syringes and emergency action to take in the event of a needlestick injury.


If a person sustains a needlestick injury:

  • Administer appropriate first aid for any bleeding or embedded object. Gain assistance from a first aid officer as required.
  • Wash the wound or skin sites thoroughly with soap and water or use a waterless cleanser or antiseptic if water is unavailable. Apply a waterproof dressing as necessary, and apply pressure through the dressing if bleeding is still occurring.
    Do not squeeze or rub the injury site.
  • If blood or blood products make contact with eyes, rinse the eyes gently but thoroughly (remove contact lenses), for at least 30 seconds, with water or normal saline.
  • If blood or body fluids are sprayed into the mouth, spit out and then rinse the mouth with water several times.
  • If any clothing is contaminated, remove and shower if necessary.
  • Identify the source individual or the source of the sharp if possible and assess the risk status of the source individual.
  • All staff and students who sustain a sharps injury in which there is any risk of contamination must either attend the University Medical Centre or a medical practitioner for assessment advice and if necessary, counselling.
  • If a source individual is identified, they should be strongly encouraged to undergo blood testing.
  • Report the incident to your supervisor and complete a report on UWA's electronic incident reporting system as soon as practicable.     
  • After hours - follow the above procedure, if needing assistance call the UWA emergency number (+61 8) 6488 2222.
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