Evaluation of the usefulness of safer needle devices over conventional devices

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Intravenous literature: HSE report on “Evaluation of the usefulness of safer needle medical technologies/devices over conventional devices to reduce the incidence of sharps injuries in heal – Project number: OH1706.

Background: Sharps injuries, particularly in the healthcare sector, are a major concern nationally and internationally. Injuries from sharps contaminated with patients’ blood can transmit infectious diseases, including blood borne viruses. An additional but important consideration is that contaminated sharps injuries can cause considerable anxiety during any subsequent period of testing. Some of these injuries might be avoidable if safer sharps or sharps disposal devices were used, but currently HSE does not have the evidence to help inform enforcement decisions on the reasonable practicability of such devices. The proposed study is designed to provide robust evidence that will inform HSE’s judgment in enforcement on the use of such devices over the continuing use of conventional technology. In England the National Health Service (NHS) employers report approximately 40,000 needlestick injuries a year, and recognise that the true figure may be twice this. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) estimate 100,000 needlestick injuries a year. Between 2002 and 2008 there have been 5 formally documented instances of occupational disease from needlestick injuries reported through RIDDOR. Despite the low level of RIDDOR notifications, HSE accepts that data (Health Protection Agency and HSE) indicates incident reports are rising, there is a level of non-reporting and sharps injuries can give employees significant psychological distress.

Aims: The main aim of the project will be to provide robust evidence that will inform HSEs judgment in enforcement on the use of such devices over the continuing use of conventional technology.

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