Sharp object injuries/skin tears
Explain dangers: occasionally workers may encounter needles, syringes, or razors on the job. Certain workplaces may be at a higher risk of encountering these types of hazards. The main risk to workers who have a needle stick injury is exposure to viruses such as hepatitis B and C, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
- Hepatitis B is an illness that affects the liver. It causes liver inflammation, vomiting, and jaundice. Over the long term, it can cause scarring of the liver and liver cancer. It can eventually lead to death.
- Hepatitis C also affects the liver and can cause fever, loss of appetite, fatigue, and jaundice. Over longer periods of time, it causes scar tissue and liver failure. Some people may have no symptoms for many years but can still infect others.
- HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system, causing infection. When the body can’t fight infections anymore, the disease becomes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
Identify controls: Use adequate lighting when working in dark areas to avoid any accidental contact with used needles or other sharp objects. Accidental contact with used needles can be avoided by following some simple procedures.
- If you find a needle or syringe, always assume it is contaminated.
- Before picking up the needle, notify your supervisor for direction. If your supervisor is not nearby, have another worker get the supervisor. Never leave the needle alone.
- Use a strong container (glass, metal, or durable plastic such as a peanut butter jar). Do not use pop bottles.
- Open the lid of the container and bring it close to the needle(s) or object(s). This will minimize the distance you have to carry the material.
- Use pliers, tongs, or tweezers to pick up the needle, syringe, or glass stem. Never use your hands.
- Hold the needle tip away from you at all times.
- Put the needle, syringe, or glass stem in the container.
- Close the lid securely.
- Do not dispose of needles in the garbage. Used needles should be dropped off at these designated locations. Your company may also have some other arrangement for disposal. Always follow your company’s disposal procedures.
Skin tears are traumatic injuries which can result in partial or full separation of the outer layers of the skin. These tears may occur due to shearing and friction forces or a blunt trauma, causing the epidermis to separate from the dermis (partial thickness wound) or both the epidermis and the dermis to separate from the underlying structures (full thickness wound). Skin tears are perceived by some to be minor injuries. However, they can be significant and complex wounds; complications such as infection or a compromised vascular status can increase morbidity or mortality risks.
What to do if you accidentally injured yourself?
- Let the wound bleed.
- Flush the area with water or wash with soap and water. If the skin has been broken, apply a topical antiseptic solution (e.g., iodine, isopropyl alcohol).
- Do not apply disinfectants to the eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Bandage the wound.
- Seek immediate medical attention at the hospital emergency department.
Muscle strains and sprains:
A sprain is a stretch and/or tear of a ligament, the fibrous band of connective tissue that joins the end of one bone with another. Ligaments stabilize and support the body’s joints. For example, ligaments in the knee connect the upper leg with the lower leg, enabling people to walk and run.
A strain is an injury of a muscle and/or tendon. Tendons are fibrous cords of tissue that attach muscles to bone.
A sprain is caused by direct or indirect trauma (a fall, a blow to the body, etc.) that knocks a joint out of position, and overstretches, and, in severe cases, ruptures the supporting ligaments. Typically, this injury occurs when an individual lands on an outstretched arm; slides into a base; jumps up and lands on the side of the foot; or runs on an uneven surface.
Chronic strains are the result of overuse (prolonged, repetitive movement) of muscles and tendons. Inadequate rest breaks during intensive training precipitates a strain. Acute strains are caused by a direct blow to the body, overstretching, or excessive muscle contraction.
A bruise also called a contusion (medical term), is a type of hematoma of tissue in which capillaries and sometimes venues are damaged by trauma, allowing blood to seep, hemorrhage, or extravagate into the surrounding interstitial tissues. Not blanching on pressure, bruises can involve capillaries at the level of skin, subcutaneous tissue, muscle, or bone.
To prevent accidental poisoning consider the following:
- Store cleaning products properly;
- Never mix products together;
- If one product is put into another container, it should be relabeled;
- Make sure your care recipient is able to read the labels on containers;
- Lock up poisonous products for those who tend to be easily confused;
- Store all medications safely. They should be kept in their original containers, away from children, pets, and any heat sources;
- Cleaning tools and supplies should be stored safely as close as possible to where you will use them.