The Distributor's Role In Driving Safety Devices…Show You Care!

Edition: September 2001 - Vol 9 Number 09
Article#: 1062
Author: Wayne Care

When the nurse, or medical practitioner is using old style sharps devices, they may think they are getting away with something, but they are breaking the law! They are leaving the practice open to huge fines! Tell them the truth, OSHA's Safety Needle law is in effect already and your customers have to follow them.

In practices that are OSHA compliant, erring employees receive written warnings, and then per written office policy, if they do not comply with safety rules, they are fired. The same applies to those who have willfully disregarded wearing gloves during phlebotomy. It's a fact that practices that care about employee safety have lower injury rates and better employee morale.

In many instances, YOU are your customers' liaison to the government, whether you wish to be or not. They may hate the regulations, but they have to obey them. When you let them off the hook, you do them a disservice (like letting your kids roll around in the back seat without seat belts).

As painful as it sometimes is, by educating your customers, you show that you care!

This is a sampling of some of the questions and answers that Quality America, Inc. has given on this issue over the past few months.

Q. My customer has never had a needlestick, do they need to buy safety needles?

A. Yes. OSHA's law is intended to prevent future needlesticks, not to report on past mistakes.

Q. My customers say they have not heard of this law and think I am making it up to increase my sales.

A. If they haven't heard of it, they've been under a rock. Every major newspaper and news organization on television has reported on it. But you can also provide written materials offered by your company or suppliers, or direct them to the OSHA web site at, or print off the regulation and hand it to them.

Q. My customers saw the prices for the new safety syringes and suddenly they are reviewing all of my prices.

A. Safer sharp products are more expensive, but as the field of competitive products grows, the price, like for most commodity items, will drop. Review the options that your company sells and offer your customer alternatives. Also remind the customer of the other value-added services that your company provides to them, and also of the long-term savings over having to deal with a needlestick and the aftermath.

Q. If OSHA inspects an office will they give us a warning over deficiencies?

A. OSHA does not issue warnings. If they cite deficiencies, they are always going to impose a monetary fine.

Q. My customer looked at safety needles and found they were too expensive. Can we use that in our evaluation protocol to make the decision not to change?

A. No. OSHA will not accept any decision that is based on monetary considerations. Preventing needlesticks and other sharps injuries is OSHA's top priority.

Remember, selling is not just holding out a pretty widget or quoting a price, it is education. For you and your customers.

Don't duck their questions, educate your customers! Remind them that you care!