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Home > Personal Injury > Accidents at Work > Needlestick injury compensation claims

Needlestick injury compensation claims

What are needlestick injuries?

Needlestick injuries occur when a hypodermic needle or sharp medical device such as a scalpel accidentally punctures a person’s skin. It is sometimes also referred to as a sharps injury.

Often the physical injury will not be too severe, but the mental effects of this type of injury can be devastating. The victim will suffer weeks or months of anxiety whilst they await the results of tests they will undergo to ensure that the puncture injury has not resulted in their being infected by a disease carried by the user of the needle, or patient treated by the scalpel.

Clear Answers injury at work solicitors deal with a large number of work accident cases each year, including many needlestick injuries. Details of some of these personal injury compensation claims can be found in our Personal Injury News Section which is updated regularly.

Compensation secured for worker who suffered needlestick injury

A woman has received compensation after sustaining a needle stick injury at the pharmacy where she was employed.
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Please select one of the following links to read more about needlestick injuries and how you may be able to claim needlestick compensation.

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Workers at risk from needlestick injuries and sharps injuries

The vast majority of these types of accidents could and should be prevented. If the correct procedures were followed for the disposal of needles and other sharp instruments, they would not give rise to situations where an injury could occur.

Injuries from hypodermic needles and scalpels occur when they have not been disposed of correctly. In a medical environment, they should be disposed off in a designated refuse container, normally referred to as a sharps box, or sharps container. This type of strong container provides a preventative shield between the sharp item and anyone dealing with their disposal. If they are disposed of in plastic bags, they can penetrate the plastic and present a hazard when the bag is taken for refuse disposal.

Another common situation where injury can occur is when needles are carelessly discarded and accidents occur because people are unaware of their presence. Whilst Healthcare workers and NHS staff such as doctors and nurses are most at risk from suffering a needlestick injury, they are by no means the only group of workers who should be aware of the potential risks.

Other groups of workers such as police officers, park-keepers, cleaners, prison officers and workers involved with refuse collection, including street cleaning, can all suffer needlestick injury if sharp items are carelessly tossed aside after use. Places where this can occur might include parks, communal stairways, public toilets, and public alleyways. All these areas can create a dangerous environment for cleaners and other workers.

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Injuries caused by hypodermic needles and sharp items

The piercing injury caused by the sharp object can cause bleeding, swelling and tenderness at the site of the puncture. However, whilst this trauma is bad enough, they then have to live with considerable anxiety before they know whether they have contracted some type of blood-borne virus (BBV).

Three of the most severe viruses that can be transmitted through a needlestick or sharps injury are Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV, which of course can lead to the further development of Aids.

Blood tests will typically be taken immediately following the injury, and results can take weeks or months to be confirmed. However, since some of the virus can take some time to show up on the blood tests, the results may only be given after several follow-up blood tests over the course of several months, often up to 12 months.

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Reducing the risk of needlestick injuries

There are several precautions that should be adopted to minimise the risk of needlestick injury or sharps injury. Injuries suffered during a medical procedure by the treating healthcare worker are difficult to prevent, but by adopting the following procedures, the risk should be minimised.

There are other measures that have been suggested to reduce the risk of needlestick injury in known problem areas. It is suggested by some that local authorities should take responsibility for providing appropriate disposal containers (sharps bins) for disposing of needles and sharp items, and also for providing security in known problem areas such as parks and public areas at night.

It is also thought that the medical manufacturers should consider replacing the standard hypodermic needle with a "safer needle" which retracts or is destroyed after use.

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Compensation claims

Telephone us now for expert legal advice on 0800 783 9019 or complete one of our online compensation claim forms.

Strict time limits apply for making a personal injury compensation claim, so please seek expert legal advice as soon as you think you may have a valid claim for compensation.

Please visit our section on information and advice for more details on making a personal injury compensation claim, or our gathering information and evidence for details on what to do if you are involved in an accident.

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