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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-2011-0063-3154, needlestick injuries among employees at a retail pharmacy chain - nationwide.

de Perio MA
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, HETA 2011-0063-3154, 2012 Mar; :1-21
In February 2011, NIOSH received an HHE request from management representatives at a nationwide retail pharmacy chain. The request concerned pharmacists' potential exposure to needlestick injuries while administering vaccines in pharmacy locations nationwide. The pharmacy chain began offering adult vaccinations in 2000 in select locations and had since expanded this service to all locations. Prior to our visit, we reviewed the company's written policies and procedures regarding vaccine administration, needlestick injuries, and bloodborne pathogens. We also analyzed the information in the company's needlestick injury reports. We visited two pharmacies in October 2011 where we observed work processes, work practices, and workplace conditions. We also interviewed pharmacy employees. The company's written policies and work procedures were comprehensive. In our review of needlestick injury reports, we found 33 reported needlestick injuries over an 11-year period. The annual incidence of needlestick injuries ranged from 0-3.62 per 100,000 vaccinations and ranged from 0-5.65 per 1,000 immunizing pharmacists. Work practices relating to sharps were observed to be safe at both of the pharmacies we visited. Pharmacists who have the added responsibility of administering vaccinations have become an emerging occupational group at risk of needlestick injuries. However, the incidence of needlestick injuries among employees at this retail pharmacy chain appears to be lower than that found in the hospital setting. This may be due to the nature of the procedures being performed, which require less manipulation (such as phlebotomy or suturing), activation of the safety devices, the company's training programs, and safe work practices. We recommended that the company continue to encourage employees to follow all written work procedures. We recommended improvements to the positioning of patients and equipment during vaccine administration and health screenings to improve safety. We also recommended obtaining additional information on the circumstances of the injury for the needlestick injury reports. This information may be useful in determining factors contributing to these injuries at the pharmacy and in evaluating the safety of devices. Employees should continue to use safe work practices during vaccine administration and health screenings and should promptly report all needlestick injuries.
Needlestick-injuries; Bloodborne-pathogens; Vaccines; Work-practices; Work-operations; Health-care-personnel; Pharmacists; Pharmacy-workers; Author Keywords: Pharmacies and Drug Stores; needlestick injuries; sharps injuries; bloodborne pathogens; pharmacy; pharmacists; vaccination
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
HETA-2011-0063-3154; B03282012
NIOSH Division
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division