NEEDLE STICKS: Prevention Bill Introduced In State Senate
State Assemblywoman Carole Migden (D-San Francisco) yesterday introduced legislation "that would require hospitals and other California health care facilities to shield workers from deadly needle injuries by purchasing safer syringes and blood-drawing devices," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The bill was prompted by Chronicle investigative reports that found "regulations requiring the use of needles with sliding sheaths and other protections against accidental sticks" have not been enforced. Migden said, "State regulations have been in effect for six years now, and regulators are dragging their feet and ignoring the law. These (safer) needles are available, and they should be used. It's very simple."
State Response And Responsibility
The Chronicle reports that in a letter to Migden last month, officials with the state Occupational Safety and Health Administration wrote that they "acknowledged that agency regulations already require hospitals to use 'engineering controls,' which are defined to include 'self-sheathing needles.' But hospitals cannot be forced to use 'self-sheathing needles' ... because that term appears only in the 'definitions' section, which is unenforceable." Migden contends that her bill "would fix the problem." The Chronicle reports that the state Department of Health Services "formed a needle stick advisory committee ... scheduled to convene on June 3" to study safety regulation deficiencies and to make recommendations. Migden's bill "is scheduled for hearings in state Senate committees and could reach the Senate floor as early as the end of June (Holding, 5/19).