Effectiveness of safety-engineered devices in reducing needlestick

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“Sharps injuries remain a common factor in occupational exposure of healthcare workers to blood-borne viruses. The extent to which the introduction of safety-engineered devices has been effective in reducing such injuries among healthcare workers is unclear.” Lu et al (2014).

Reference:

Lu, Y., Senthilselvan, A., Joffe, A.M. and Beach, J. (2014) Effectiveness of safety-engineered devices in reducing sharp object injuries. Occupational Medicine. October 24th. .

Abstract:

BACKGROUND: Sharps injuries remain a common factor in occupational exposure of healthcare workers to blood-borne viruses. The extent to which the introduction of safety-engineered devices has been effective in reducing such injuries among healthcare workers is unclear.

AIMS: To investigate the incidence of sharp object injury among healthcare workers in the Capital Health Region of Alberta, Canada and to determine the effectiveness of the introduction of safety- engineered devices in preventing these.

METHODS: All reports of sharp object injuries to Capital Region Workplace Health and Safety offices from healthcare workers 2003-10 were analysed. Rates of sharp object injury were compared before (2006), during (2007-08) and after (2009-10) the introduction of safety-engineered devices, adjusting for other potential risk factors using Poisson regression and log-linear models.

RESULTS: Between 2003 and 2010, a total of 4707 sharp object injuries were reported from 15 healthcare facilities. The sharp object injury rate per 1000 full-time equivalent employees per year declined from 35 before the introduction period to 30 during the introduction period (rate ratio [RR]: 0.88, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.78, 0.99) among most healthcare workers, but then rebounded again slightly after the intervention. Physician risks showed little change during the period of introduction (odds ratio [OR]: 0.99, 95% CI: 0.85, 1.14) but decreased significantly after the intervention (OR: 0.83, 95% CI: 0.71, 0.97).

CONCLUSIONS: The introduction of safety-engineered devices was associated with a modest reduction in reported sharp object injuries but this appeared to be relatively short-lived for most workers.

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