National Phlebotomy Association

(301) 386-4200  United Way - Live United

Safety Alert
NPA Goals
Application Handbook
Site Testing Guidelines
Program Application
Student Catalog
Outreach Programs
Continuing Education
Frequently Asked Questions


National Plebotomy Association Logo    

The National Phlebotomy Association (NPA) is committed to educating the nation's phlebotomists, promoting healthcare worker and patient safety, and improving overall quality of care in the United States.
In recent years, NPA and other leaders in the healthcare community have become increasingly concerned about the transmission of bacteria, viruses, and spores in hospitals, clinics, physician offices, and laboratories.  Every day, in healthcare settings, healthcare workers and patients are unnecessarily exposed to potentially deadly pathogens spread through blood and other vectors (e.g., air, droplets, contaminated surfaces/devices).  Exposure to HIV, hepatitis C virus, hepatitis B virus, staphylococcus aureus (a.k.a. "staph"), and other drug resistant microbes are likely in healthcare settings.

The phlebotomist is at the front line of patient care and is often at the greatest risk of exposure and infection.  NPA, along with various infection prevention and control organizations, regulatory agencies, policy makers, and medical device manufacturers, have taken the lead in developing practices, guidelines, and protocols designed to prevent needlestick injuries and other healthcare associated exposures to bloodborne pathogens and microbes.

In that role, NPA recently completed a study on reusable blood tube holders.  The study revealed that 99% of holders sampled, were contaminated with blood.  This poses an occupational exposure risk to the healthcare worker and an infection control exposure risk to the patient.

Several national healthcare and regulatory agencies and organizations have also recognized this risk.  OSHA Safety and Health Information Bulletin (SHIB 10-15-03) prohibit the reuse of tube holders to protect healthcare workers from contaminated back-end needles.  In May 2003, the Society for Epidemiology of America (SHEA) recommended single use of portable equipment and medical devices in order to prevent the spread of microbes and emerging resistance.

In keeping with its findings and the recommendations of peer organizations, NPA highly advises all phlebotomists and healthcare workers not to reuse blood tube holders.  In an effort to afford a superior level of healthcare worker safety and patient safety for blood collection, safety needles that are pre-attached may offer the highest level of infection prevention and control.  The use of a reused holder can cause infection to healthcare workers and patients and potentially yield incorrect results. 


Call us today for more information on phlebotomy and our organization.
(301) 386-4200