Being inadvertently pierced by a sharp object or needle can cause serious injury, infection and long term psychological damage. While it is assumed that people in hospitals, doctors' surgeries and other medical environment surroundings can be at the greatest risk, anyone who routinely handles waste can be exposed to this type of injury, if they are not provided with the correct safety equipment.
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A needle stick injury occurs when the skin is inadvertently pierced by a needle or other sharp instrument, or 'sharps'. ‘Sharps’ is the common term for any medical instrument that is capable of cutting or piercing. These items include needles, scalpels and lancets.
A variety of different professions will either use needles directly or handle needles and they, or their patients may be susceptible to a 'sharps' injury:
Needles and syringes are part of everyday life in hospitals and doctors surgeries. They are vital instruments for medical professional and have many life saving applications. However, if they are not disposed of correctly they can also pass on dangerous illnesses.
As well as causing the initial wound, used needles and other sharps can pass on a variety of harmful infections such as Hepatitis and HIV from the blood of the user as well as Tetanus, if the needle itself is dirty or rusty.
Those who work in the health care profession should regularly receive a Hepatitis and Tetanus vaccination.
Injuries caused by sharp objects such as broken glass, metal shards and splintered wood can occur in a variety of different jobs. Employees that regularly handle sharp objects such as broken glass as part of their role should be supplied with the correct safety equipment by their employer, such as reinforced gloves and tongs. Employees should never be required to move sharp objects with bare hands.
Being accidently pierced by a sharp object can unfortunately occur in a variety of public places like toilets, parks and communal stairways if they are not correctly maintained.
If sharp items such as used needles or broken glass are found in a public place, do not attempt to dispose of them yourself. Contact your local council to have these items disposed of safely and securely.
If you or your child is pricked by a discarded needle or other sharp object in a public place, seek immediate medical attention at the nearest A&E department. Further information can be found on the NHS Choices website.
While the risks cannot be completely eliminated, they can be reduced significantly by following a few simple steps:
With any injury claim it can be hard to put an exact figure on how much your needle stick claim is worth as there is not only the physical injury to take into account. There is also likely to be an element of psychological trauma to consider when assessing levels of compensation. Waiting for the results of a blood test after a needlestick or other sharps injury can have a severe psychological effect on the injured person, because of the possibilities of having contracted an infection like hepatitis or HIV.
One of our clients was by a General Hospital as a cleaner. During the course of their employment they were emptying a general rubbish bin in a treatment room, when a needle from a syringe protruded through the rubbish bag and punctured their leg.
Liability was admitted by the hospital (as needles shouldn't be put in general waste) and our client recovered £2,000 in damages in respects of the incident.
At Spencers Solicitors, we provide every client with a very personal service. Your claim is important to us and we will always strive you to get you the best settlement possible and to ensure that along the way, all your needs are met.
If you have been injured by a needle or other type of sharp due to the negligent action of another person and would like to find out more about making a compensation claim, please get in touch with us today.
You can complete our simple online claim enquiry form and one of our specialist needle stick injury lawyers will contact you when convenient. Alternatively, you can call us direct on 08000 93 00 94.
We're keen to help you make a successful needle stick injury compensation claim on a no win no fee basis, and firmly believe that talking to us will be the first step in securing the compensation you deserve.