Pointers Of Safe Taser Dart Removal

Scott Harris

According to the TASER International web site, TASER electronic control devices reportedly “have been used on humans 2 million times” and are “safer than high school sports.” As for pulling out those 2 million darts without potential exposure to bloodborne pathogens (BBPs) such as HIV or hepatitis, that is not a TASER issue — it is a federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) issue.

A dart meets the OSHA definition of a “sharp,” and if it has penetrated the skin, it is a “contaminated sharp.” An injury from one, such as getting scratched or stuck with the dart after removal, is an “exposure incident” and must be recorded on the “sharps injury log.”

Some police departments forbid officers to remove darts, leaving it to responding paramedics, EMTs or ambulance personnel. That is a safe work practice for those officers, but medical responders and departments that allow removal face the TASER dart equivalent of a needle-stick.

OSHA does not dictate how to pull a dart, only that it is done safely. There is no mention of contaminated darts in the BBP standard since they are treated by OSHA the same as contaminated needles. Contaminated dart containers must be closable, puncture-resistant, leakproof on sides and bottom, and labeled or color-coded in accordance with the standard. That might or might not allow putting darts back into the cartridge from which they were fired.

Read the rest of this article at GOVPRO.