It is possible that you will find a used hypodermic syringe or needle on a job-site. If you accidentally prick your skin, you could become infected with a serious or deadly disease. The best way to avoid infection is to avoid contact with the needle. Needle sticks greatly increase in densely populated areas.
Expect to find needles behind material or boxes, therefore never stick your hand where you cannot see.
- If sani-cans are not locked, expect needles in the sani-can.
- Keep tongs and a sharps container on site.
- Never press down the trash with your hand.
If You Find a Needle
- It has probably been used by a drug user and may be contaminated by infected blood.
- Do not touch it or move it.
- Leave a responsible person to safeguard the needle while you report the matter to your supervisor.
- If you have a safety representative, they should be notified.
- Use suitable tools (e.g. tongs) to handle sharps.
If You Must Move a Needle
- Carry it with the needle pointing downwards
- Do not wrap it in paper or put it into a litter bin
- If available, place it in a sharps container
- Wash your hands thoroughly
- Pre-read the Toolbox Talk. Your comfort level and confidence will be higher if you know your topic.
- Discuss related tasks, work areas or events that make the Toolbox Talk relevant to your job site.
- Involve the workers by asking questions and input that drives discussion.
Questions for Discussion
- On what types of site do you think you are most likely to discover used needles or syringes?
- Will gloves give you the protection needed?