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Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act

Author: Ina R. Silvergleid

The Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act (NSPA) was enacted to codify and strengthen the guidelines set forth in OSHA's Bloodborne Pathogens Standard as it relates to reducing the incidence of accidental needle and other sharp (non-needle) equipment injuries in healthcare and other occupational settings where employees are exposed to blood or other potentially infectious bodily fluids, tissue or cell material. Consequently, the NSPA covers a wide range of facilities in addition to hospitals. These include: dental offices, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, freestanding labs and veterinary clinics. The NSPA imposes three requirements on covered employers: 1) use safety-engineered needles and other sharp devices; 2) seek feedback and input from front-line (non-management level) personnel about what safety-engineered devices to use; and 3) maintain a sharp device injury log. This Legal Insight will explore these requirements at a greater length.