The most frequent injuries to laboratory workers are caused by 'sharps', i.e. glassware breakages, needle stabs and cuts by scalpel blades. They generally result due to an individual failing to comply with basic safe handling procedures.
Injuries of this type must be dealt with promptly for two reasons:
- The trauma caused by the injury itself. This may be a puncture wound from a needle, a laceration from broken glassware or a clean cut from a scalpel blade. The severity of the injury can vary from trivial to severe.
- The possibility of contact with or injection of hazardous or potentially hazardous materials. These hazards may be chemical or radio-chemical in these cases adverse effects will depend on the property of the materials involved e.g. irritancy or radioactivity.