New safety sharp available; some California dental offices should review it

Dental practices not already using safety sharps are required by Cal/OSHA to review them, complete documentation
May 23, 2023
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Quick Summary:
A new safety needle, or safety sharp, is on the market and is now the fifth safety sharp available to California dentists. Dental practices that do not use safety sharps are required to document in their Cal/OSHA-required exposure control plan the reasons why the safety sharps are not used and why other brands or types of sharps are used. Dentists can use CDA's sample form to evaluate the new NopoGuard as part of that required documentation.

A new safety needle is on the market as of May 2023 and is now the fifth safety needle, or safety sharp, available to California dentists. Safety sharps have a built-in safety feature that reduces or prevents the risk of accidental injury or exposure during injections or aspiration of fluids.

The NopoGuard, according to the manufacturer Dental Products Lab, headquartered in Seattle, is “the only reusable, on-syringe sharps safety device that works with your existing syringes and needles,” is compatible with anesthetic needles up to 35mm length, can be sterilized and reused a minimum of 250 times and includes a safe means for disposing the needle. Video demonstrations are viewable on the product website.

NopoGuard joins four other safety sharps listed in the CDA-member resource “Safety Sharps Providers.”

Dental offices not using safety sharps must document reasons why

Dental practices that do not use safety sharps are required to document in their Cal/OSHA-required exposure control plan the reasons why safety sharps are not used and why other brands or types of sharps are used instead. The bloodborne pathogens standard states that the employer's exposure control plan should be reviewed and updated at least annually and whenever necessary to "document consideration and implementation of appropriate commercially available needleless systems and needle devices and sharps with engineered sharps injury protection."

Because dental practices are required to provide this documentation for each type of sharp, they should newly evaluate the new NopoGuard as part of the Cal/OSHA-required sharps review and documentation.

Dentists will document, for example, the type or brand of sharp used for dental procedures, whether the sharp has an “engineered sharps injury protection” feature and, if it doesn’t, which of the four Cal/OSHA-allowed exceptions is used by their dental office. The documentation must include the names of the employees who participated in the sharps evaluation.

Find the list and links to the five safety sharps and a link to the sample dental sharps evaluation form in the CDA-member resource “Safety Sharps Providers.”

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