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Potential work-related exposures to bloodborne pathogens by industry and occupation in the United States.

Chen-GX; Jenkins-EL
2005 National HIV Prevention Conference, June 12-15, 2005, Atlanta, GA. Atlanta GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2005 Jun; :34
Current data on potential work-related exposures to bloodborne pathogens (BBP), including needlestick/sharps injuries, skin/mucous membrane exposures to blood or other body fluids, and human bites, are mostly derived from hospital workers. The objective of this study was to ascertain the frequency and rate of exposure, as well as other revelant issues such as BBP safety training, use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and use of safety needles, by industry and occupation in the U.S. (1) Descriptive analyses were conducted using data from the 1998-2000 National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), which is a stratified probability-based sample of U.S. hospitals with emergency departments (EDs). NEISS covers all industries and occupations, regardless of size or ownership of business. (2) Follow-back telephone interviews were also conducted with workers who had been treated in the EDs for potential work-related exposure to BBP in 2000-2002. On average, an estimated 78,123 potential work-related exposures to BBP were treated in hospital EDs annually in the U.S. from 1998 to 2000. Hospitals had the highest exposure rate of 11.3/1000 full time equivalents, followed by nursing homes (2.8), and residential care facilities without nursing (1.9) Registered nurses had the highest rate of 15.3, followed by clinical laboratory technologists and technicians (13.9), and physicians (7.1). Needlestick/sharps injuries predominated in hospitals and other healthcare settings, skin/mucous membrane exposures in emergency medical services/firefighting, and human bites in law enforcement. Workers from non-hospital settings were less likely to use PPE, to have BBP safety training, to be aware of the BBP standard, and to report or seek treatment for a work-related exposure compared to hospital workers. This study suggests that various worker group have unique needs that should be addressed in preventing BBP exposure in the workplace. Using safety needles can be an effective approach to prevent sharps injuries in healthcare settings, while improving awareness of the BBP standards and establishing exposure reporting and treatment procedures may be a useful first step in non-healthcare workplaces.
Occupational-exposure; Bloodborne-pathogens; Needlestick-injuries; Injuries; Safety-measures; Safety-education; Personal-protective-equipment; Exposure-levels; Emergency-care; Emergency-responders; Medical-care; Medical-personnel; Health-care-facilities; Health-care-personnel; Workers; Work-environment; Worker-health; Nurses; Nursing; Physicians; Fire-fighters; Fire-fighting; Law-enforcement; Law-enforcement-workers
Publication Date
Document Type
Abstract; Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Source Name
2005 National HIV Prevention Conference, June 12-15, 2005, Atlanta, GA
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division