To determine the change in accidental needlestick rates in the Phlebotomy Service at Mayo Clinic Rochester and to identify safety practices implemented from 1983 through 1996. We retrospectively reviewed yearly Phlebotomy Service accidental needlestick rates from 1983 through 1996. Interviews were conducted with representatives of the Infection Control Committee and the management team for the Phlebotomy Service, and minutes of meetings of these two groups were reviewed to identify implemented safety improvements that may have had an effect on accidental needlestick exposures. Accidental needlestick exposures in the Phlebotomy Service declined from a high of 1.5/10,000 venipunctures to 0.2/10,000 venipunctures. Several safety improvements were made during that time, including the implementation of a one-handed recapping block, change to single-use evacuated tube holders, increased number and improved locations of disposal containers for needles, implementation of resheathing needles and retractable capillary puncture devices, discontinuation of the practice of changing needles before inoculation of blood culture bottles, increased emphasis on safety for new and experienced phlebotomists, and improved exposure reporting tools. We believe that the decrease in our accidental needlestick exposure rate is correlated with the changes in education, practices, and products that we have implemented.