Those working in occupations where they come into contact with hypodermic needles and sharp medical instruments can be faced with an agonising psychological dilemma should they be pricked or cut by them. It may not be so much the injury itself, which may be slight, but the traumatic wait following treatment for the injury to discover if they have been infected by HIV or hepatitis-infected blood from the objects.
Needle stick injury
Particularly at risk are healthcare workers such as doctors and nurses in hospitals, or indeed any NHS staff who come into contact these instruments, either by using them or in their disposal, such as cleaners and waste personnel. It is a sad fact that injection drug users discard hypodermic syringes in public places like parks and public toilets without thought for the dangers they hold for others. An innocent child at play can receive a needle stick injury as a result of finding a used hypodermic left under a playground bench and then experimenting with it out of curiosity.
Waste disposal industry
There are a huge number of workers involved in the waste disposal industry in this country – many of them being operational in street cleaning and refuse collection and at any time could be exposed to a needle stick injury as a result of another’s negligence. A public toilet cleaner for example may use protective gloves when going about his duties. But when picking up rubbish containing a needle left by drug user which is hidden from view can face infection from the needle if it pierces the glove and his finger or hand. Communal stairways in blocks of flat are another danger zone for cleaning staff.
Police and prison officers
Police officers and prison staff are also at risk from needle stick injury when apprehending drug offenders or checking over inmates suspected of ‘shooting up.’
Claims for needle stick injury compensation are made through Accident Advice Helpline by those in occupational risk groups. If you have been injured by a used needle or sharp, then you have a right to compensation. At Accident Advice Helpline, we can help start a claim against the offender. Our professional staff will be there for you and they’ll take down basic details of the accident and confirm with you that it happened within the last three years, it was not your fault and that you received medical treatment following the prick or cut.
Accident Advice Helpline has a large team of no win no fee solicitors, among them specialists in filing needle stick injury claims as well as those relating to other medical accidents.
Many needle stick injuries and cuts from sharps such as scalpel blades are caused by these instruments having been disposed of in the wrong type of containers. In hospitals, there are bins clearly marked for the disposal of hypodermics and sharps. But where needles and sharps are carelessly discarded in plastic bags, they present a real danger to the person handling them. He or she can pick of the bags and is then, perhaps unknowingly, cut or pricked from the instruments bursting through the sides of the bag.
The worry and stress from being injured in this way is certainly taken into consideration in the awards process and the gravity of actually being infected from a needle stick injury is paramount when it comes to compensation.
To discuss your claim with a member of our expert team dial 0800 689 5659.