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Tell employers: Don't use nonsafety syringes
While the role of manufacturers in sharps safety may be debated, there's no question about an employer's responsibility.
"It's not permitted to use a conventional needle where there are acceptable alternatives, and there certainly are acceptable alternatives [to conventional pre-filled vaccine syringes], some of them manufacturer by the same manufacturer [who produced the nonsafety devices]," says Deborah Gold, MPH, CIH, senior safety engineer in the research and standards health unit at Cal-OSHA in Oakland.
Health care employers need to make their preferences known to manufacturers, says Dionne Williams, MPH, senior industrial hygienist with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). "Any kind of injection or vaccination is going to raise the same issues if you're using an unprotected needle," Williams says. "I know that manufacturers are interested in being a part of the process. They're in business to sell devices. If they make a device and it's not selling, it's not going to be beneficial to them."