Health care/social assistance Injury prevention

‘New vigor’ needed to reduce needlestick injuries, health care group says

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Warrendale, PA – The health care industry has not made sufficient progress on reducing the number of needlestick injuries among workers, according to the Association of Occupational Health Professionals in Healthcare.

A survey of AOHP members at 157 hospitals in 32 states showed that health care workers experienced a sharps injury rate of 2.2 per 100 full-time equivalent workers in 2012. This is an increase from the 2011 rate of 1.89, prompting AOHP to suggest current rules do not adequately protect workers.

“These results indicate that simply mandating the use of safety engineered devices through the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act of 2001 has not achieved our reduction goals, and new vigor must be found to protect health care workers,” survey co-author Terry Grimmond said in a press release.

AOHP offered several strategies to protect health care workers from sharps injuries and other blood exposures, including:

  • Prevention through education
  • Immediate root-cause investigations of all exposures
  • Adoption of safer safety-engineered devices
  • Staff engagement

This was the second annual survey conducted. AOHP has collected and is currently analyzing data on sharps injuries from 2013 and 2014. The recent survey results were published June 17 in the Journal of the Association of Occupational Health Professionals in Healthcare.