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9/4/2000

OSHA Focuses on Safe Needle Programs

Katherine M. Bennett

Officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are stepping up efforts to investigate unsafe needle practices nationwide.

This effort is part of its "Enforcement Procedures for the Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens Standard." The International Health Care Worker Safety Center at the University of Virginia estimates that health care workers are exposed to 600,000 to 800,000 accidental needle sticks per year. 

The enhanced oversight is particularly important to protecting home care pharmacists from diseases such as HIV infection and hepatitis, which are more difficult to treat and control in home-based patients. 

For more information about the new standard on safe needles, see www.osha.gov.