Glass Capillary Tubes Dangerous

March 29, 1999
It's little surprise that 18- to 34-year-olds are at the heart of a nationwide increase in illegal drug use, and the manufacturing industry traditionally draws heavily from this pool of job seekers.

OSHA, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Center for Devices and Radiological Health of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have produced a joint advisory notice on the use of glass capillary tubes.

Designed to inform readers of the potential hazards associated with these blood collection devices, the organizations recommend safer alternatives to glass capillary tubes. According to the advisory, breakage of glass capillary tubes during use may result in worker exposure to contaminated blood.

Such cases can increase the risk of acquiring a bloodborne pathogen infection, such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. Studies of health care workers indicated that hundreds of these exposures occur, sometimes requiring expensive and lengthy treatment as well as tremendous mental anguish for injured workers.

"There are an estimated 2,800 injuries from glass capillary tube breakage every year," said OSHA Administrator Charles N. Jeffress. "OSHA wants to be sure that employees in labs and health care facilities receive the best possible protection against dangerous, potentially fatal exposures."

To reduce the risk, OSHA recommends using:

  • Capillary tubes that are not made of glass;
  • Glass capillary tubes wrapped in puncture-resistant film;
  • Products that use a method of sealing that does not require pushing one end of the tube into putty to form a plug; and
  • Products that allow the blood hematocrit to be measured without centrifugation.

Employers using capillary tubes may be cited under OSHA's bloodborne pathogen's standard (29 CFR 1910.1030) under certain circumstances, such as improper housekeeping (picking up broken, contaminated capillary tubes with the hands) [paragraph (d)(4)(ii)(D)]; improper handling of regulated waste (improperly disposing of contaminated capillary tubes) [paragraph (d)(4)(iii)], or lack of personal protective equipment (i.e., not using gloves when handling contaminated capillary tubes) [(d)(3)(ix)]; or failure to provide post-exposure evaluation and follow-up of exposure incidents [paragraph (f)(3)]. Additionally, occupational illnesses and injuries sustained from capillary tubes may be recordable under OSHA's recordkeeping requirements (see 29 CFR Part 1904: Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses).

For more information or comments, contact the Office of Health Compliance Assistance at (202) 693-2190 or the Office of Occupational Health Nursing at (202) 693-2120.

Sponsored Recommendations

Free Webinar: ISO 45001 – A Commitment to Occupational Health, Safety & Personal Wellness

May 30, 2024
Secure a safer and more productive workplace using proven Management Systems ISO 45001 and ISO 45003.

ISO 45003 – Psychological Health and Safety at Work

May 30, 2024
ISO 45003 offers a comprehensive framework to expand your existing occupational health and safety program, helping you mitigate psychosocial risks and promote overall employee...

DH Pace, national door and dock provider, reduces TRIR and claims with EHS solution

May 29, 2024
Find out how DH Pace moved from paper/email/excel to an EHS platform, changing their culture. They reduced TRIR from 4.8 to 1.46 and improved their ability to bid on and win contracts...

Case Study: Improve TRIR from 4+ to 1 with EHS Solution and Safety Training

May 29, 2024
Safety training and EHS solutions improve TRIR for Complete Mechanical Services, leading to increased business. Moving incidents, training, and other EHS procedures into the digital...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of EHS Today, create an account today!