The Ohio Nurses Association cheered in victory when the state''s Needlestick Protection Legislation was signed by Ohio Gov. Robert Taft last week.
The bill will require the use of needlestick safety devices by healthcare workers, thus saving injuries and lives.
Ohio Sen. Dan Brady, who sponsored Senate Bill 183, said, "the bill has the potential to save Ohio at least $132 million annually by requiring the use of a 35 cent safe needle to prevent needlestick injuries to an estimated 40,000 Ohio healthcare workers annually."
The components of the bill require the formation of a subcommittee made up of at least 50 percent of front-line public healthcare workers to conduct the following duties:
- Study methods to protect from exposure incidents, including needleless systems, engineered sharps injury protection; also disposal devices such as needle incinerators.
- Study prevention procedures, including training and education, increase use of vaccinations, strategic placement of sharps collectors and use of protective equipment.
- From this study, the subcommittee will create a list of recommended practices and systems.
These recommendations will be adopted six months after the effective date as a standard, known as the Ohio Employment Risk Reduction Standard.
Employers are required to do the following under the legislation:
- Select engineering and work practice controls which include needlestick prevention devices that are OSHA compliant.
- Develop exposure control plans and update them at least yearly.
- Train employees in the use of these devices .
- Maintain records of exposure incidents.
by Virginia Sutcliffe