needlestick dripping on a black background

What is a needlestick or sharps injury?

A needlestick injury is an injury from a needle which has already been used. For example, in a medical procedure or to inject illegal drugs. A sharps injury includes other used medical supplies i.e. medical syringes, scalpels, lancets and glass from broken equipment.

Why are these injuries so dangerous?

This type of injury can seem fairly innocuous at first glance. For example, if a used needle causes a puncture wound on your skin you may only experience a small amount of immediate pain and bleeding.

However, these injuries can be very serious in the long term. This is because you can potentially contract over 20 different diseases from a used needle or sharp. Once someone has used a needle, viruses in their blood such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV can contaminate it. If you are then subsequently injured by the object then you could catch the disease it has been contaminated with.


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Can I claim for a needlestick or sharps injury?

These injuries are particularly devastating if they have happened because your employer has put you in danger. For example, by not providing you with the right equipment or failing to dispose of the needle/sharp correctly. If this is the case, we can help you to make a claim for compensation against the negligent party.

For an estimate on how much your claim could be worth try our claims calculator or call us on 0800 025 0000 where one of our specialist team will be happy to advise you on whether you have a claim.

What should you do if you injure yourself with a used needle or sharp?

According the NHS website, if you pierce or puncture your skin with a used needle you should immediately:
  • Encourage the wound to bleed;
  • Wash the wound using water and soap;
  • Dry the wound and cover it with a plaster or dressing.

You should then seek medical advice, as you may need treatment to reduce the chance of you getting an infection. Call 111 or visit your nearest A&E department.

You should never:
  • Suck the wound;
  • Scrub the wound.

Who is at an increased risk of a needlestick injury?

People in certain jobs are at an increased risk of getting a needle or sharps injury because of their line of work. For example:

  • Medical professionals;
  • Police;
  • Prison and probation services;
  • Tattooists and Piercers;
  • Building and demolition workers;
  • Cleaners or waste disposal team members.

How can we help?

If you have suffered as a result of a contaminated needlestick or sharps injury you may be able to claim compensation. Contact us for free advice today by calling 0800 025 0000. You can also see how much your claim could be worth by using our free compensation claimometer.

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