Guidance on needle stick injuries

Flu injection photo

We have recently received reports from staff who have opened a sealed major incident pouch, containing anti-nerve agent, to find discharged atropine injectors coming out of their packaging.

This has led to a couple of near-miss needle stick injuries, so please be careful when opening them. If something similar happens to you, please report it on Datix.

In the meantime, please see the below guidance if a needle stick injury occurs.

Occupational exposure incidents are where a member of staff has been exposed to blood or body fluids.

This can happen through:

  • a needle stick injury – defined as any contaminated needle or other sharp object which punctures the skin
  • a splash – defined as any splash of blood or body fluids to the mucous membranes or open wounds.

In the event of an occupational exposure incident, it is important that you are aware of the correct procedure to follow. If the incident is high risk and post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is required, this is more effective the earlier it is started and should ideally be underway within two hours of the incident.

The Trust procedure for managing any occupational exposure incident is:

Immediate action

  • Bleed it: encourage the wound to bleed
  • Wash it: wash the wound with soap and running water
  • Cover it: dry the wound and cover it with a waterproof plaster
  • Do not: scrub the wound while washing it or suck the wound
  • For splash incidents: rinse with copious amounts of water
  • Inform EOC that you have sustained a needle stick / splash injury and need to attend A&E. 


  • Member of staff to be seen in A&E
  • A&E staff will conduct a risk assessment
  • A&E will provide initial assessment and treatment (you may be given a Hep B booster or PEP if required).

 Report the incident

  • If appropriate or needed, you can contact occupational health on 0330 6600365 for advice, counselling and to arrange the appropriate follow-up care, including blood tests where required.
  • Report the incident to your line manager
  • Report the incident on Datix.

Further information regarding occupational exposure incidents can be found in the IPC Manual on stations or in the Trust’s IPC Safe Practice Guidelines.

Published 24th June, 2016

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