Hospital cleaners at risk of ineffective sharps disposal



BACKGROUND: Improper waste management exposes hospital housekeepers to biological risk.

OBJECTIVES: To identify the frequency and profile of exposure incidents, classify the role of sharps waste and compare the first and last occurrence for hospital housekeepers with multiple exposure incidents.

METHODS: Retrospective epidemiological study using Brazilian records from 1989 to 2012. Data analyzed: hospital treatment records and the state notification database. Probabilistic linkage: LinkPlus.


RESULTS: There were 996 (11.6%) injuries with 57 (6.1%) workers reporting multiple occurrences, for a total of 938workers. These were primarily needlestick injuries (98.5%), involving blood (85.6%), caused by hypodermic needles (75.1%), and improper sharps disposal (70.8%). The number of workers completing vaccination after their first and before their last injury was statistically significant.

CONCLUSION: Additional efforts to prevent and manage exposure incidents are needed.


Ream, P.S., Tipple, A.F., Salgado, T.A., Souza, A.C., Souza, S.M., Galdino-Júnior, H. and Alves, S.B. (2015) Hospital Housekeepers: Victims of ineffective Hospital Waste Management. Archives of Environmental & Occupational Health. September 11th. [epub ahead of print].

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