Federal legislation to protect healthcare workers from needlestick injuries is moving closer to passage. The push is on to enact the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act, HR 5178/S. 3067, before Congress’s scheduled recess on October 6th.

Rep. Cass Ballenger (R-NC) and Rep. Major Owens (D-NY), chair and ranking member, respectively, of the House Workforce Protections Subcommittee, introduced a new needlestick bill (H.R. 5178) on Sept 14th. On Sept. 19th, the subcommittee unanimously passed it. Also on Sept. 19th, Sen. James Jeffords (R-VT) and Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA), chair and ranking member, respectively, of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, introduced companion bill S. 3067.

HR 5178/S. 3067 would:

  • Strengthen OSHA's Bloodborne Pathogen's standard to require the use of safer needles in health facilities;

  • Require involvement of frontline workers in determining which safer needles and sharps to use in their workplaces;

  • Provide for more accurate documentation of needlestick injuries by requiring a sharps injury log; and

  • Set a timeline of nine months for these requirements to take effect.