Tips and Tricks for Safe Needle Use

November 2, 2017

Laboratory staff member wearing purple glove and holding sharp needleWhile National Biosafety Month may be over, the Department of Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) and the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) want you to remember to practice needle safety in your research all year long.
One component of biosafety oversight at U-M includes review and evaluation of incident and near miss reports by EHS and the IBC. We continue to see incident reports that involve improper practices for needle use in experiments.
Improper needle use greatly increases the risk of personnel exposure to potential biohazardous substances. Therefore, EHS and the IBC ask all U-M biological research laboratories to ensure every lab member practices needle safety by:

  • Minimizing or eliminating unnecessary needle use in experiments
  • Minimizing the need to recap needles before injection and follow safe procedures if recapping is necessary
  • Never recapping needles after use
  • Disposing of sharps directly, without manipulation, into an approved sharps container
  • Reviewing the Safe Needle Guide
  • Consulting the standard operating procedure for Responding to a Needlestick or Biological Exposure

Additional reminders for U-M biological research laboratories:

  • Register all research involving rDNA, infectious agents, biological toxins, or human-derived substances with the IBC. Visit the IBC website for more information
  • Ensure that your laboratory staff are trained to properly handle biological materials
  • Further information on biosafety training is available on the EHS website
  • Schedule your annual BSL2 containment laboratory inspection by emailing BioSafetyInspections@umich.edu and address all corrective actions in a timely manner
  • Report incidents and near misses relating to research to EHS

Questions?

Questions can be directed to the IBC at ibcstaff@umich.edu, or to EHS Biosafety at BioSafetyInspections@umich.edu.