Needlestick injuries to Dental Staff

  • October 1, 2012
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Needlestick injury to Dental Staff

A recent survey carried out by the US A’s TDIC (The Dentists Insurance Company) has shown that the most common injury to occur at the dentists and to dental staff are related to needlesticks with the most frequent cause of incident being as a result of breaking down instrument trays after a procedure.

In the main accidents involving sharps occurred during the cleaning of the instruments in preparation for sterilization.  The improper disposal of needles was another primary cause of accident followed by the careless passing or handling of an instrument.

The same cause of accidents involving needlesticks and sharps at dentists in the UK pretty much follows the same pattern and in the majority of cases the accident and subsequent worry and stress is a result of the negligent acts of an employee or colleague.

To avoid such incidents and the subsequent passing of blood borne pathogens such as hepatitis B and C as well as HIV all dentists should ensure that a combination of engineering and working practices are put in place so as to remove such risk.

Working practices should involve full training of all staff, advance vaccination, the provision of appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), full use of signs and labels to indicate and warn of hazards and requirements to avoid injury.

With regards to the engineering aspect all medical practices, not just dentists, should move towards safety syringes that don’t require recapping. In addition there should be immediate disposable of all needles in the required sharps box.

Others avenues of safety include not bending or breaking needles before disposal; avoidance of passing  any unsheathed needle and storing reusable  needles in containers with wire basket liners that allows for easy removal and cleaning.

If despite all of this you sustain a needle stick injury then you are entitled to claim compensation for stress, worry and anxiety that will almost certainly result; you don’t have to been infected to claim. The mental injury alone merits claiming your compensation.

To find out how you can claim the compensation you deserve get in touch with Gartons Solicitors today

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