NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Sharps injuries among hospital workers in Massachusetts, 2005: 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, 2008 Dec; :1-20
More than 3,200 sharps injuries were reported by Massachusetts hospitals in 2005, underscoring the need for continued efforts to reduce the incidence of these injuries. Findings highlight a number of specific issues to be addressed in Massachusetts: 1) Use of devices without safety features continues, as evidenced by the more than 1,100 injuries with such devices. This is true even for those devices for which alternatives with engineered sharps injury prevention features exist on the market and are widely available. Previous studies have shown that implementation of devices with safety features can reduce injuries related to those device types by as much as 86%. (Adams& Elliot, 2006; Muntz & Hultburg, 2004) Hospitals should examine non-safety device inventories and evaluate and implement devices with sharps injury prevention features where clinically appropriate. 2) Blood procedures continue to account for about 20% of all injuries reported. Injuries with hollow bore needles, particularly those used for blood procedures, are associated with a higher risk of transmission of bloodborne pathogens. Issues with devices or technique may be revealed through closer examination of the circumstances surrounding injuries associated with blood procedures, particularly how the injury has occurred. 3) Injuries in operating and procedure rooms constitute 45% of all reported injuries. Work-practice controls are as essential as engineering controls in operating and procedure rooms, particularly because some devices have fewer alternatives with safety features. Evaluation of devices used, and consideration of those with safety features, such as scalpel blades and blunt suture needles is needed. In addition, evaluation of the practice of multi-dose administration of various medications via injection should also be reviewed and alternative practices evaluated, as this practice does not allow for the use of hypodermic needles/syringes with safety features. It also prevents the risk of cross-contamination and transmission of infections to patients (MMWR, 2008). The Massachusetts Sharps Injury Surveillance System is a collaborative effort between the MDPH, hospitals, professional associations and community advocates. The success of the program in collecting data is a result of this collaboration. MDPH will continue to work with these groups to conduct surveillance, review exposure control activities in hospitals, and facilitate the exchange of information among hospitals about successful prevention strategies.
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
Publication Date
Document Type
Email Address
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Priority Area
Healthcare and Social Assistance
Source Name
Sharps injuries among hospital workers in Massachusetts, 2005: findings from the Massachusetts Sharps Injury Surveillance System
Performing Organization
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