OBJECTIVE: To examine a comprehensive approach for preventing percutaneous injuries associated with phlebotomy procedures. DESIGN AND SETTING: From 1993 through 1995, personnel at 10 university-affiliated hospitals enhanced surveillance and assessed underreporting of percutaneous injuries; selected, implemented, and evaluated the efficacy of phlebotomy devices with safety features (ie, engineered sharps injury prevention devices [ESIPDs]); and assessed healthcare worker satisfaction with ESIPDs. Investigators also evaluated the preventability of a subset of percutaneous injuries and conducted an audit of sharps disposal containers to quantify activation rates for devices with safety features. RESULTS: The three selected phlebotomy devices with safety features reduced percutaneous injury rates compared with conventional devices. Activation rates varied according to ease of use, healthcare worker preference for ESIPDs, perceived "patient adverse events," and device-specific training. CONCLUSIONS: Device-specific features and healthcare worker training and involvement in the selection of ESIPDs affect the activation rates for ESIPDs and therefore their efficacy. The implementation of ESIPDs is a useful measure in a comprehensive program to reduce percutaneous injuries associated with phlebotomy procedures.