In another effort to protect health care workers, New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, yesterday signed new safety legislation into law.
The governor's signature follows the nearly unanimous approval of this measure by both houses of the New Jersey Legislature.
Under the new law, all licensed healthcare facilities in NewJersey must use FDA cleared safety needle devices where commercially available, no later than 12 months from now.
"Every day health care workers dedicate themselves to providing quality health services to our citizens. This bill will help minimize the incidence of inadvertent needle stick injuries suffered by health care workers," said Whitman.
In addition to requiring the use of safety needles health care facility must implement the following actions:
- Establish procedures to evaluate and implement safety engineered sharps, Educate and train staff in the use of the devices,
- Initiate a mechanism to continually evaluate newly introduced safety engineered sharps, and
- Record and report all needle sticks and provide a procedure for exceptions during emergency or special situations.
This past November, OSHA issued new Compliance Directives to enforce the use of available, approved and effective safety engineered needles in virtually every health care workplace facility in the United States.
New Jersey joins California, Tennessee, Maryland and Texas, who have all enacted legislation mandating that safety needles be used to protect health care workers and patients from deadly accidental needlesticks.