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Title: Evaluating and Selecting Safer Needle Devices
Type: Title Slide
Manufacturers have responded to the need for safer devices and as a result, a wave of safer medical products has flooded the marketplace. One thousand U.S. patents for safer medical devices have been issued since 1984 (Ippolito, 1997). Employers are faced with the tremendous task of selection and evaluation of products among the vast array of devices available.
The Bloodborne Pathogens Standard requires that "each employer having an employee(s) with occupational exposure (as defined by paragraph (b) of this section) shall establish a written Exposure Control Plan designed to eliminate or minimize employee exposure." [29CFR 1910.1030(c)(1)(ii)(B)]
While OSHA does not require employers to institute the most sophisticated engineering controls, OSHA does require the employer to evaluate the effectiveness of existing controls and to review the feasibility of instituting more advanced engineering controls (CPL 2-2.44C). Implementing a comprehensive needlestick prevention program may be evidence that the employer meets this requirement. Research to date has shown that no single safer needle device will work equally well in every facility so employers must develop their own programs to select the most appropriate devices.