The hazards posed by puncture wounds caused by needlesticks and other sharp objects are prevalent in the health care industry. However, the threat of this type of workplace injury can also be found in Vancouver facilities where workers deal with solid waste and recovery of recycling material. These injuries often involve inadvertent skin punctures during the disposal or disassembly of hypodermic needles.
The Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety says other sharp objects that pose puncture or skin piercing threats include razor blades, scalpels, metal wire and scissors. When a discarded needle or another sharp object pierces a worker's skin, infectious diseases can be transmitted. These bloodborne pathogens could include HIV and the hepatitis B and C viruses.
The CCOHS requires employers to protect employees by providing education and training on protection against needlesticks and sharps hazards. Limiting the use of these items to the minimum is essential, and installing proper disposal units can prevent most injuries. Disposed sharps must never be carried in linen or garbage bags through which they can pierce a worker's skin.
A worker who contracts a disease from a needlestick or sharp object injury during the course of work duties might be eligible for worker's compensation benefits. Navigating a claim to cover medical expenses, lost wages and other benefits could be a challenging process. This is where the skills of experienced legal counsel can help. A Vancouver lawyer who can prove that a workplace injury caused the disease can be an invaluable asset in providing the necessary support and guidance throughout the entire claim process.