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Physical and biological hazards of the workplace. Wald PH, Stave GM, eds. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1994 Apr; :476-478
Reports of cancer from expo- sure to malignant cells are quite rare. However, the most likely route of occupational transmission appears to involve needlestick or sharp object (i.e., surgical instruments, histologic tissue cutters, broken pipettes) injuries to workers' hands. Injuries whereby malignant cells are cutaneously injected or possibly implanted into an open wound probably have the greatest likelihood of occurrence and ultimate viability. A review of studies reporting needlestick injuries found that 34-50% of health care workers were injured and that 10-70% of those injuries were due to recapping of needles. Studies of hospital workers have shown that the highest incidence of needles tick injuries occur in housekeeping personnel (during trash disposal) and laboratory and nursing personnel (during needle disposal or recapping) Pathologists and surgeons have also been shown to be at increased risk for cutaneous injuries from sharp instruments and needlesticks (especially those involving the distal fingers of the nondominant hand) during operative procedures. Although the incidence of cutaneous injuries resulting from sharps contaminated with viable cancer cells is unknown, it probably represents only a small fraction of the cutaneous injuries incurred by potentially exposed workers.
Cancer; Malignancy; Cellular structures; Cell biology; Needlestick injuries; Infection control; Histology; Health care personnel; Health care facilities; Health care; Glass products; Laboratory equipment; Laboratory workers; Nurses; Nursing; Pathology; Surgeons
Wald PH; Stave GM
Physical and biological hazards of the workplace
Page last reviewed: March 3, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division