Standards and Procedures

Recapping Needles at an Agricultural Animal Facility, Standard Operating Procedure for


This SOP pertains to those in agricultural facilities who use needles. Research shows that 80% of farmworkers have accidentally stuck themselves with a needle. Recapping needles poses an increased risk of needlestick to the worker. Most needlesticks are minor but serious injury could result including:

  • Allergic reaction
  • Deep tissue wound
  • Miscarriage due to accidental injection of a hormone product
  • Serious cardiovascular event or death due to accidental injection of Tilmicosin/Micotil


A guideline to avoid the recapping of needles where possible and techniques to follow if recapping is necessary.


  • A multi-dose vaccination gun with a retractable needle would be the optimum solution; however, the cost may be the limiting factor.
  • If you need to recap a needle, do not bend or break the needle and NEVER remove the needle from the syringe by hand. This could result in accidental needle sticks, cuts, or punctures.
  • Recapping should ONLY be performed using a mechanical device or the one-handed technique. ANY RECAPPED NEEDLE MUST BE PLACED IN AN APPROPRIATE SHARPS CONTAINER AT THE NEXT AVAILABLE OPPORTUNITY.
  • What guidance does OSHA give on recapping fill needles? OSHA is pretty blunt about recapping needles—they don’t recommend it!!

One-Handed Needle Recapping Method

  1. Place the cap on a flat surface with something firm to “push” the needle cap against.
  2. Holding the syringe with the needle attached in one hand, scoop the needle into the cap without using the other hand.
  3. Push the capped needle against a firm object to “seat” the cap onto the needle firmly using only one hand or lift the syringe/needle vertically and once the tip of the needle is completely covered, use the other hand to secure the cap in place.

It is recommended that you should NEVER RECAP NEEDLES that have been used for:

  • Sedatives (E.G., xylazine)
  • **Tilmicosin (Micotil)
  • Oil-based products or vaccines
  • Modified live vaccines
  • Hormones
  • Antibiotics
  • Johne’s Vaccine
  • Brucella abortus strain RB51 vaccine
  • **Injection of this drug into humans has been associated with fatalities

If you stick yourself with a needle, you should:

  • Make sure the animal is secure
  • Properly dispose of the needle
  • Remove gloves and wash the needlestick area thoroughly
  • Tell your supervisor and complete the injury report within 24 hours
  • Seek medical attention during working hours at:

Carle Occupational Medicine
810 W. Anthony Drive
Urbana, IL 61801

Safeworks Illinois 1
806 N. Market Street
Champaign, IL 61820

Seek medical attention after hours at:

Carle Hospital ER
611 W. Park Street 1
Urbana, IL 61801

Presence Covenant Hospital ER
400 W. Park Street
Urbana, IL 61801

If appropriate, take the Safety Data Sheet of the product you were using.


If you have any questions, please contact:

  • Occupational Health and Safety Specialist: 217-244-0781
  • AACUP Office: 217-265-6790


Approved Date

Revised Date