All professional groups must be encouraged to be more aware of the risks in disposing of sharps. Safe handling practices for disposal of insulin pens are needed in in- and outpatient care settings” Dulon et al (2016).
Background: Needlestick injuries (NSIs) are the most common cause of sharps injuries and pose a serious risk to healthcare personnel (HCP). A “Technical rule for biological agents in healthcare and welfare facilities” (TRBA 250) was modified in 2014 in Germany in order to promote the prevention of sharps injuries.
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Aim: To examine the epidemiology of NSIs among HCP in hospitals, doctor’s offices and in- and outpatient care. To collect information on the causes of the accidents when safety-engineered devices (SED) are used. To compare the results with the main principles of TRBA 250.
Methods: The survey was based on workers’ compensation claims for NSIs, as notified within a 4-week period in November 2014. Detailed information on the NSI was collected by telephone interview.
Findings: A total of 533 HCP participated. Subcutaneous needles were most frequently involved in NSI, regardless of the healthcare setting (39% of all NSIs). Insulin pens were involved in 48% of NSIs in in- and outpatient care. Disposal of sharps devices accounted for 38% of the injuries. Safety devices were used in 20% of NSIs. Lack of activation was the most important cause of failure when SED were used.
Conclusion: In spite of the binding recommendations of the TRBA 250, more effort is needed to help HCP achieve greater experience when working with SED. All professional groups must be encouraged to be more aware of the risks in disposing of sharps. Safe handling practices for disposal of insulin pens are needed in in- and outpatient care settings.
Dulon, M., Lisiak, B., Wendeler, D. and Nienhaus, A. (2016) Causes of needlestick injuries in three healthcare settings – Analysis of accident notifications registered six months after the implementation of EU Directive 2010/32/EU in Germany. The Journal of Hospital Infection. November 29th. [epub ahead of print].
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