Researchers link safety law with decrease in needlestick injuries

February 29, 2012

Charlottesville, VA – The Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act appears to have contributed to a decline in the number of needlesticks and sharps-related skin puncture wounds among health care workers, according to research from the University of Virginia.

The Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act, which went into effect in 2001, required OSHA to update its Bloodborne Pathogens Standard (1910.1030) to mandate use of safety-engineered medical devices. An analysis of data on nearly 24,000 sharps injuries that occurred in 85 hospitals between 1995 and 2005 showed rates were on the rise before 2001 but fell after the law took effect and remained low through 2005.

The decrease was associated with an increase in use of safer devices and OSHA citations for violations of the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard, researchers said.