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Increase in sharps injuries in surgical settings versus nonsurgical settings after passage of national needlestick legislation.

Authors
Jagger-J; Berguer-R; Phillips-EK; Parker-G; Gomaa-AE
Source
J Am Coll Surg 2010 Apr; 210(4):496-502
NIOSHTIC No.
20036658
Abstract
BACKGROUND: The operating room is a high-risk setting for occupational sharps injuries and bloodborne pathogen exposure. The requirement to provide safety-engineered devices, mandated by the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act of 2000, has received scant attention in surgical settings. STUDY DESIGN: We analyzed percutaneous injury surveillance data from 87 hospitals in the United States from 1993 through 2006, comparing injury rates in surgical and nonsurgical settings before and after passage of the law. We identified devices and circumstances associated with injuries among surgical team members. RESULTS: Of 31,324 total sharps injuries, 7,186 were to surgical personnel. After the legislation, injury rates in nonsurgical settings dropped 31.6%, but increased 6.5% in surgical settings. Most injuries were caused by suture needles (43.4%), scalpel blades (17%), and syringes (12%). Three-quarters of injuries occurred during use or passing of devices. Surgeons and residents were most often original users of the injury-causing devices; nurses and surgical technicians were typically injured by devices originally used by others. CONCLUSIONS: Despite legislation and advances in sharps safety technology, surgical injuries continued to increase during the period that nonsurgical injuries decreased significantly. Hospitals should comply with requirements for the adoption of safer surgical technologies, and promote policies and practices shown to substantially reduce blood exposures to surgeons, their coworkers, and patients. Although decisions affecting the safety of the surgical team lie primarily in the surgeon's hands, there are also roles for administrators, educators, and policy makers.
Keywords
Accident-potential; Exposure-assessment; Exposure-methods; Health-hazards; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Needlestick-injuries; Occupational-accidents; Occupational-exposure; Occupational-hazards; Occupational-medicine; Risk-factors; Safety-measures; Statistical-analysis; Surgeons; Surgery; Task-performance; Work-environment; Work-performance; Workplace-studies; Work-practices; Surveillance-programs
Contact
Elayne Kornblatt Phillips, RN, MPH, PhD, University of Virginia, International Healthcare Safety Center, 1224 Jefferson Park Ave, Charlottesville, VA 22903
CODEN
JACSEX
Publication Date
20100401
Document Type
Journal Article
Funding Type
Grant
Fiscal Year
2010
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-K01-OH-009140
Issue of Publication
4
ISSN
1072-7515
NIOSH Division
DSHEFS
Priority Area
Healthcare and Social Assistance
Source Name
Journal of the American College of Surgeons
State
VA
Performing Organization
University of Virginia, Charlottesville
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