Perioperative personnel are at risk for sharps injuries when using devices with sharp points and edges and therefore are at risk for infection from exposure to blood and other potentially infectious body fluids. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration bloodborne pathogens standard is the regulatory document that health care employers must follow to protect personnel who are at risk for sharps injuries. The AORN “Guideline for sharps safety” provides guidance to perioperative personnel for identifying sharps hazards and implementing best practices to prevent injuries. This article discusses the guideline recommendations for developing and implementing work practice controls and administrative controls for handling sharps. A scenario describes an interdisciplinary team’s efforts to decrease specific sharps injuries and develop policies and procedures based on the identified risks and practice changes. Perioperative RNs should review the entire guideline for additional information when creating and updating policies and procedures for sharps safety.
Key words: sharps, needles, injury, scalpel, bloodborne pathogens.