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Sharps injuries among hospital workers in Massachusetts, 2007: findings from the Massachusetts Sharps Injury Surveillance System.

Laramie AK; Davis LK; Pun V; Laing J; DeMaria A Jr.
Boston, MA: Massachusetts Department of Public Health, 2009 Oct; :1-22
More than 3,000 sharps injuries were reported by Massachusetts hospitals in 2007, underscoring the need for continued efforts to reduce the incidence of these injuries. Findings highlight a number of specific issues that still need to be addressed in Massachusetts: the unacceptably high number of injuries with devices lacking sharps injury prevention features, most notably hypodermic needles/syringes, for which alternatives with sharps injury prevention features are available; the need for improved disposal practices to reduce the large number of injuries that occur after devices are used; and the need to implement safe work practices and alternative methods for suturing to reduce the high number of SIs in operating rooms. In addition, prevention measures need to be focused on high risk procedures such as blood drawing procedures. The fact that injuries are also associated with devices with engineered sharps injury prevention features raises critical questions about the extent to which these injuries are due to lack of experience and training in using these newer devices or to flaws in product design, specifically the mechanism of the SI prevention feature (e.g., retracting, blunting, sheathing). In 2010 OHSP will add a data element to the Annual Summary to collect this information. Future analysis of these data will generate hypotheses that will move the research beyond determining efficacy of devices with sharps injury prevention features versus those without, to examining various generations of sharps injury prevention technology. In order to continue to replace existing devices to those with engineered sharps injury prevention features in an efficient manner, it is necessary to know which devices without such injury protections are still in use. MDPH has issued guidance to hospitals for creating such an inventory, including a template of data elements to be included in the inventory list. A flow chart outlining the process for maintaining such an inventory as well as identifying and implementing new devices is shown. Each clinical unit in the hospital should be involved in creating the inventory of devices. Data from the Annual Summary of Sharps Injuries should be used to prioritize the order in which devices will be converted to those with sharps injury prevention features. It is important to remember that staff who will be using the devices must be involved in the selection and evaluation of new devices (OSHA, 2001). The device inventory should be reviewed regularly to identify devices lacking sharps injury prevention features that should be replaced, as well as to identify devices with sharps injury prevention features for which more effective alternatives exist. Device evaluation is a continuous process which requires the participation of staff in various clinical departments as well as materials management and purchasing, along with the use of data on sharps injuries.
Health-care-personnel; Medical-personnel; Exposure-levels; Needlestick-injuries; Public-health; Hazards; Nurses; Nursing; Workers; Health-care-facilities; Health-care; Preventive-medicine; Safety-practices; Safety-measures; Safety-education; Training; Disease-prevention; Disease-transmission; Disease-control; Work-practices; Worker-health; Surveillance-programs; Employee-exposure; Statistical-analysis
Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Bureau of Health Information, Statistics, Research and Evaluation, Occupational Health Surveillance Program, 250 Washington Street, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02108
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Sharps injuries among hospital workers in Massachusetts, 2007: findings from the Massachusetts Sharps Injury Surveillance System
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Massachusetts State Department of Public Health - Boston
Page last reviewed: April 1, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division