Safe Injection Practices

Implementing safe injection practices, monitoring blood glucose appropriately, and following the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Bloodborne Pathogens Standard help prevent the transmission of bloodborne pathogens such as HIV, hepatitis B virus (HBV), and hepatitis C virus (HCV) in healthcare and residential settings.

  • Do not recap, bend, break, or hand-manipulate used needles.
  • Use safety features when available.
  • Place used sharps in a puncture-resistant container.
  • Use a surgical mask for insertion of catheters or injection of material into spinal or epidural spaces via lumbar puncture procedures (e.g., myelogram, spinal or epidural anesthesia).

Safe injection practices are a set of infection prevention recommendations intended to prevent transmission of infectious diseases between one patient/resident and another or between a patient/resident and care provider and to prevent injuries, such as needle sticks.  Because we do not always know if a person has an infectious disease, safe injection practices are a part of standard precautions that are applied to every person every time to assure that injections are performed in a way that is safe and healthy for the patient/resident, care provider, and community.  A safe injection does not harm the recipient, does not expose the care provider to any avoidable risks, and does not result in waste that is dangerous for the community.  To follow safe injection practices, care providers should implement these recommendations:

  • Use aseptic technique to avoid contamination of sterile injection equipment.
  • Do not administer medications from a syringe to multiple patients, even if the needle or cannula on the syringe is changed.
    • Needles, cannulae, and syringes are sterile, single-use items; they should not be reused for another patient.
  • Use fluid infusion and administration sets (i.e., intravenous bags, tubing, and connectors) for one patient only and dispose appropriately after use. Consider a syringe or needle/cannula contaminated once it has been used to enter or connect to a patient’s intravenous infusion bag or administration set.
  • Use single-dose vials for parenteral medications whenever possible.
  • Do not administer medications from single-dose vials or ampules to multiple patients or combine leftover contents for later use.
  • If multidose vials must be used, both the needle or cannula and syringe used to access the multidose vial must be sterile.
  • Do not keep multidose vials in the immediate patient treatment area and store in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations; discard if sterility is compromised or questionable.
  • Do not use bags or bottles of intravenous solution as a common source of supply for multiple patients.