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IOSH members listen to needlestick risks

September 25, 2015

Members of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) have heard about the danger of needlestick injuries and the steps they can take to best avoid them at a special event. They were also told about how such incidents can easily lead to exposure of bloodborne pathogens and infectious diseases.

The event, which was organised by the Tyne and Wear Branch of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), was led by Dr Simon Howard from Public Health England who gave a presentation on the matter.

Dr Howard, who is a speciality registrar in public health, showed delegates how infections can be easily transmitted in a workplace and looked at how companies can introduce strategies to effectively deal with this.

He also spoke about the work Public Health England (PHE) does to manage a situation where an outbreak of a disease occurs at work. 
 
Carl Hagemann, a member of the IOSH branch’s executive committee and chair of the IOSH sports grounds and events group, then looked at the dangers that workers at any level can face when confronted with a discarded needle sticks and ‘sharps’.

Mr Hagemann said: “This presentation highlighted today’s real risks as opposed to the perceived risks regarding needle stick injuries within the workplace and outdoor environment. It also explored perceived beliefs and misconceptions of addiction and the habits and behaviours of intravenous drug users.”
  
Delegates were given the chance to handle and identify paraphernalia that can be used to indicate a high-risk situation for employees even if a needle stick is not in immediate sight.

Mr Hagemann explained that the training was aimed at any staff members who are responsible for staff who often have to deal with situations where intravenous needles and sharps may be in use or have been inappropriately discarded.

“Such personnel can be social workers and care staff; parks and cleansing workers; and leisure industry personnel,” he added.

The meeting, which was held on September 17th at Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd in Sunderland, was arranged by two members of the Tyne and Wear Branch Executive Committee: Gary Dowell and Samantha Day.

Mr Dowell said: “With people working in close contact with one another, being able to prevent infectious diseases spreading throughout a workplace is a challenge but is vital in ensuring the smooth running of an organisation.

“The needlestick injuries presentation was equally informative. There are many different roles where workers are posed with this risk. Hopefully the presentation will help many organisations put a system in place to manage this risk.”

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