Agencies Promote Use of Blunt-tip Surgical Needles

Published June 13, 2012

On May 30, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), NIOSH and OSHA issued a joint safety communication encouraging health care professionals to use blunt-tip surgical suture needles rather than the standard sharper needles “when clinically appropriate” in order to reduce needlestick injuries and associated health risks such as exposure to bloodborne pathogens. According to the document, studies show that using blunt-tip needles reduces the risk of needlestick injuries by 69 percent.

Blunt-tip needles currently cost approximately 70 cents more than standard needles; however, FDA, NIOSH and OSHA maintain that the benefits to employees—fewer needlestick injuries and reduced risk of health hazards—support the use of blunt-tip needles.

Read the full document on NIOSH’s website. For more information, visit OSHA’s safety and health topic page on bloodborne pathogens and needlestick prevention.