Sharps Risks - Broken Skin
Unbroken skin is an effective barrier against many forms of hazardous substances that are unable to penetrate through the various layers in order to reach the bloodstream. However, if the skin is broken, it is much easier for foreign chemicals or biological agents to enter the body and the bloodstream. Once there, they can multiply and/or destroy the body's existing cells and cause illness or in severe cases, death.
Sharp objects can penetrate and tear the skin to create an opening from which airborne agents can enter. Also, the sharp object itself may transfer a virus as it penetrates the skin. One example of this is a discarded needle which may introduce viruses such as hepatitis or HIV into the bloodstream.
Viruses and biological agents are not the only reasons for avoiding sharp objects. If the cut is severe, it can lead to excessive blood loss or permanent scarring, not to mention being extremely painful in the short term!
In order to avoid the ill-effects caused by sharp objects, it is vital that those workers who have the potential to encounter sharps risks which could pose a hazard to their health have suitable sharps training which gives them the knowledge of the risks, the correct use of personal protective equipment etc. Through a combination of common sense, protective equipment and the knowledge gained through relevant health and safety training will enable them to work more safely and help them avoid sharps injuries and the related consequences that come with an injury by a sharp object.