The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a joint safety communication with OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) which strongly encourages surgeons and other healthcare professionals to use safer, blunt-tip suture needles instead of standard sharps.
Despite the availability of blunt-tip suture needles and the endorsement of their use by professional organizations, needlestick injuries are on the rise in surgical settings. OSHA, together with FDA and NIOSH, has been working to increase awareness in the healthcare industry that the use of these safer needles can reduce workers' risk of needlestick injuries by 69 percent and limit their exposure to Hepatitis, HIV, and other bloodborne pathogens.
The OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens standard requires the use of safer devices, such as blunt-tip suture needles, to protect healthcare workers. For more information, visit OSHA's Safety and Health Topics page on Bloodborne Pathogens and Needlestick Prevention and the OSHA FAQ on the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act.