Background: The companion surveillance portion of this study [Chen and Jenkins, 2007] reported the frequency and rate of potential work-related exposures to bloodborne pathogens (BBP) treated in emergency departments (EDs) by industry and occupation, but it lacks details on the circumstances of the exposure and other relevant issues such as BBP safety training, use of personal protective equipment (PPE) or safety needles, or reasons for seeking treatment in a hospital ED. Methods: Telephone interviews were conducted with workers who had been treated in EDs for potential work-related exposures to BBP in 2000-2002. Respondents were drawn from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. Results: Of the 593 interviews, 382 were from hospitals, 51 were from emergency medical service/firefighting (EMS/FF), 86 were from non-hospital healthcare settings (e.g., nursing homes, doctors' offices, home healthcare providers, etc.), 22 were from law enforcement (including police and correctional facilities), and 52 were from other non-healthcare settings (i.e., schools, hotels, and restaurants). Needlestick/sharps injuries were the primary source of exposure in hospitals and non-hospital healthcare settings. Skin and mucous membrane was the primary route of exposure in EMS/FF. Human bites accounted for a significant portion of the exposures in law enforcement and other non-healthcare settings. In general, workers from non-hospital settings were less likely to use PPE, to have BBP safety training, to be aware of the BBP standards and exposure treatment procedures, and to report or seek treatment for a work-related exposure compared to hospital workers. Conclusions: This study suggests that each industry group has unique needs that should be addressed.
Bloodborne-pathogens; Exposure-assessment; Surveillance-programs; Occupational-exposure; Needlestick-injuries; Emergency-responders; Emergency-treatment; Employee-exposure; Health-care-facilities; Medical-equipment; Medical-personnel; Medical-treatment; Skin-exposure; Mucous-membranes; Law-enforcement-workers; Fire-fighters; Correctional-facilities;
Author Keywords: bloodborne pathogens; occupational exposure; needlestick injuries; sharps injuries; emergency departments
Guang X. Chen, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Division of safety Research, Mail Stop 1811, 1095 Willowdale Road, Morgantown, WV 26505