We’re now onto the last of our blogs on entry routes of hazardous substances into the body, and today’s article takes a look at accidental injection of such toxins. While uncommon in most workplaces, it can occur when a sharp object (e.g., needle) punctures the skin and injects a chemical (or virus) directly into the bloodstream.
How does it happen?
Injection may occur through:
- mishaps with syringe needles, or
- accidents with broken glassware or other sharp objects that have been contaminated with chemicals.
Injections can also occur through high pressure streams of liquids or gases.
Which occupations are most at risk?
There are numerous occupations where sharps risks are present, including:
- customs officials searching luggage
- waste disposal workers (either medical waste or household), and
- construction workers where illegal drug use may have taken place on abandoned or derelict sites, or even current building sites if there have been trespassers on site overnight during the construction work.
What should you do if you have accidentally injected yourself?
If accidental injection has occurred, wash the area with soap and water and seek medical attention, if necessary.
How to prevent accidental injection
- Cautious use of any sharp object is always critical.
- Know proper storage, handling and disposal procedures when using syringe needles, glassware or other potentially sharp objects.
- Wearing gloves and other protective clothing may also reduce the possibility of injection.