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Is Needle Recapping Necessary?

Have you asked scientists working in the labs at your institution if they have the need to recap needs rather than telling them that needle recapping is not allowed? It is simple to put a policy in place that says that needle recapping is not permitted, but there are certainly cases where the need to recap a needle cannot be avoided. These cases need to be properly evaluated and addressed.

The BMBL addresses recapping of needles, even at Biosafety Level 1, by stating that needles must not be recapped or removed from disposable syringes by hand prior to disposal. OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogen Standard also states that needs must not be recapped, with few exceptions. Common sense says that needles should not be recapped to greatly reduce the risk of potential exposure.

If there is a true need for needles to be recapped at your institution, a one handed technique using a needle recapping device must be put into practice. Rather than assuming that needle capping is not taking place because it is policy to not recap needles, ask the scientists if they ever have the need to recap needles. If your facility has areas where needle use is prevalent, like animal care facilities, it may be best to start with scientists working in these area.

Proactively reduce the risk of exposure to the materials being manipulated and ask – is needle recapping necessary?

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