Every needle is required to have a safety feature that can be activated once a blood draw has been completed. Needle safety features are an integral part of the device and not an accessory; they are one of the most important venipuncture components. The safety features must provide immediate permanent containment of the needle and the ability to initiate it with a single hand, which must always stay behind the needle.
The most common safety feature are re-sheathing devices. These are shields that cover the needle or retract the needle after use, such as a needle cap and safety lock. The safety feature for the ETS needle is simple to use, requiring little or no training to use effectively. Most evacuated tube systems (ETS) needles have pre-attached needle covers, but needles that do not come with safety features must be connected to tube holders that have a safety feature.
Re-sheathing covers, as well as other needle safety devices, prevent the repeated use of needles and do not penetrate, cut, or scratch anyone who are disposing the needles. With a cover on a used needle, patients and phlebotomists reduce their risk of contracting Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and HIV.