A law firm like Accident Advice Helpline deals with thousands of calls from prospective claimants every year. Some of these claimants are nursing and care staff that have been injured whilst they were on duty in incidents or accidents that were not their fault. They want to know about how to make an injury on duty claim. There are hundreds of hazards that can affect nursing staff whilst they are on duty but many nurses feel that needle stick injuries or sharps injuries are the most worrying.
In fact, some nursing surveys have indicated that there are around 100,000 needle stick injuries amongst NHS workers in the UK each year. This is when a nurse is jabbed, stabbed or cut in some way by a needle or other sharp medical device that could be potentially contaminated with the blood of another person – usually a patient. There are many rules and procedures that are aimed at reducing the likelihood of needle stick injuries and so remove the need to make an injury on duty claim.
Top 5 tips for reducing the risk of an injury on duty claim involving needle stick injuries
- The first step in reducing sharps injuries is to reduce the number of ‘sharp’ implements that are in use. Needle-free equipment is now available for many medical procedures and an assessment should be carried out to ascertain if it is absolutely essential to use a sharp piece of equipment at all.
- Wherever possible a ‘safe sharp’ should be used. This is a medical device that has a built in feature or mechanism that cuts down the risk of accidental injury. An example of this is a syringe with a needle that has a shield that pivots to cover the needle after use.
- Effective training is often the key to preventing an injury on duty claim involving needles. For example, staff could be trained to re-cap needles using one hand – so-called one-handed capping – which has been shown to be less risky than using two hands.
- The provision and positioning of ‘sharps boxes’ is also vital. These are the boxes, often in a bright yellow colour, into which sharps must be placed as soon as they have been used. They must also be clearly marked and could, for example, be placed on the dispensing trolley during a ward round.
- Employees using sharps must be given the information that they need to keep safe and this could include information on the risks involved with medical sharps, the duties of employers and workers and good practice in preventing sharps injuries.
Accident Advice Helpline works with hundreds of solicitors, spread throughout the UK, who work on a no win no fee* basis. A solicitor for your injury on duty claim case can be found quickly and under the no win no fee* arrangement there are no costly legal fees from the outset. Call their team on 0800 689 0500 to discuss things in more detail.