Accidental needle puncture injuries continue to pose a hazard to hospital workers. In order to reduce the number of such injuries in our hospital, needle disposal procedures were revised to discourage recapping and prevent bending or clipping of needles before discard. Collapsible cardboard boxes were replaced with impervious containers. An educational program accompanied these changes. We compared reports of needlestick injuries before and after the change of procedure, for three parallel 9-month periods. During the 27-month study, injuries occurred during administration of medication (22%), or recapping of used needles (16%), from needles protruding through (10%) or out of the "mouth" (9%) of the container, from needles left in the patient's environment (10%), or those left on procedure trays (7%). Seven percent were the result of being stuck by someone else, usually in the operating room. The mechanism of injury for 19% was not, described. Altering the disposal procedures did not change the number or anatomic site of injuries, nor the risk of injury among the various job categories. A reduction in the rate of sticks from needles protruding through the container (1.3 vs 0.3/mo, p≤0.005) was the only difference observed. Changing the needle receptacle changed the type but not the overall number of injuries. The education program had little effect on the number and types of injuries. These data point to the need for developing innovative approaches for eliciting changes in behavior of health care personnel.