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Needle Forgotten on Cart Causes Needlestick

What Happened?

An animal technician sustained a needle stick to his right index finger while cleaning a push cart. The cart contained mice cages and water bottles hiding a needle from view that someone had left behind. When the technician sanitized the cart he reached into the top shelf of the push cart and was pricked by the forgotten needle. This is especially bothersome since the needle was potentially used to inject mice with a biohazard. The technician indicated that he was wearing full PPE, including double gloves at the time of the incident. The technician immediately notified his supervisor who sent him to the Occupational Health Facility for medical evaluations.

What Was The Cause?

A syringe with an uncapped, attached needle had been forgotten on a cart.

What Corrective Actions Were Taken?

A reminder was emailed out to all Division of Laboratory Animal Medicine (DLAM) users:

  • Account for all sharp objects including needles used in experiments
  • Dispose of all sharp objects including needles in biohazard sharps containers

The incident was discussed with all employees at DLAM

  • Inspect carts and other areas used by researchers for loose sharps and report them to your supervisor as Near Misses

How Can Incidents Like This Be Prevented?

Animal technician are at the mercy of the research community. The best way to prevent incidents like this:

  • Diligence by the research community to dispose of all sharps into biohazard sharp containers




Minimize exposure to biohazards:

  1. Expose the wound
  2. Express the wound
  3. Flush the wound under running water for 5 min
  4. Cover the wound and seek medical attention
  5. Report the incident to your supervisor


Biohazard Sharps

  • Dispose in biohazard sharps containers
  • Do not fill sharps containers more than 3 quarters full otherwise sharps can bounce back out
  • Do not recap needles
  • Keep track of of all sharps used in your experiment