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Sharps Injuries – Completing the Injury Report

nurse and physician posing with documents

If you sustain a sharps injury, the most important thing to do is to make sure you file a report. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that in the United States 50% of the sharps-related injuries to health care workers go unreported. When the employee does not report a sharps injury or the report is completed too hastily, you may be allowing information to get away that might spare another employee a similar injury. Critical information to collect for reporting purposes includes the following details:

  • Date and time of exposure
  • Procedures involved in the injury
  • Exposure specifics
  • Source patient specifics (if known)
  • Exposed person specifics
  • Counseling, post-exposure management, and follow-up

From MMWR Vol. 50 / No. RR-11 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Reporting requirements: Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act

In November of 2000, the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act was established to set forth in greater detail (and make more specific) OSHA's requirement for employers to identify, evaluate, and implement safer medical devices. The act mandates the reporting of certain information including:

  • Information about the injury in a manner that protects the employee's confidentiality
  • Type and brand of the device involved (if known)
  • Department or work area in which the exposure occurred
  • Information on the source patient and possibility of obtaining his or her blood sample for testing
  • Explanation of how the exposure occurred
    • How deep was the injury?
    • Did the injury occur while the employee was using a safety device?
    • Was the protective mechanism activated?

See EPINet reporting forms

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