A new regional emphasis program focused on reducing the number of needlestick and sharps injuries has OSHA focusing special attention on ambulatory surgical care centers, freestanding emergency care clinics and primary care medical clinics in Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Mississippi.

"Needlestick and other sharps-related injuries that expose workers to bloodborne pathogens continue to be an important public health concern," said Cindy Coe, OSHA's regional administrator in Atlanta. "Employers must take seriously their responsibility to protect workers from these health risks."

From now until September 30, 2012, when the program is scheduled to end, OSHA inspectors will visit health-related facilities in the southeastern states to review each establishment's processes and programs designed to protect workers from bloodborne hazards. Those inspections will focus on bloodborne pathogen hazards associated with exposure to contaminated sharps devices. Establishments of all sizes with varying numbers of workers will be inspected.

OSHA area offices also will continue to open inspections in response to complaints that include allegations of sharps/needlestick hazard exposures.