Workers’ compensation claims for needlestick injuries

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The study had 2 objectives: to investigate whether hospitals, doctors’ surgeries and care facilities differ with respect to the causes of needlestick injuries (NSI) and to collect data on availability and implementation of safety-engineered devices (SED) in these healthcare settings workplaces” Dulon et al (2017).

Abstract:

Objective: The “Technical rules for biological agents in healthcare and welfare facilities” (TRBA 250) came into force in March 2014 in Germany and deals with protective measures to prevent needlestick injuries (NSI). The present study covers the period of 6 months after TRBA 250 came into force. The study had 2 objectives: to investigate whether hospitals, doctors’ surgeries and care facilities differ with respect to the causes of needlestick injuries (NSI) and to collect data on availability and implementation of safety-engineered devices (SED) in these healthcare settings workplaces.

Methods: This study analyses workers’ compensation claims for NSI, as received by the Institution for Statutory Accident Insurance and Prevention in the Health and Welfare Services (Berufsgenossenschaft für Gesundheitsdienst und Wohlfahrtspflege, BGW) (n=1602). During a telephone interview (response rate 33.3%), the subjects were asked about the course of the accident and the handling of SED at the workplace. Descriptive analyses were performed for hospitals, doctors’ surgeries and care facilities (including inpatient care for the elderly and outpatient care).

Results: In all 3 settings, about half of the NSI did not occur during the invasive procedure, but during the subsequent disposal of the instruments. 30% of all NSI were caused by needles for subcutaneous injections; in care facilities, the proportion was above 50%. SED were involved in 20% of the NSI in hospitals and doctors’ surgeries and in 10% of NSI in care facilities. Lack of experience in activating the safety mechanism was the most important cause of failure for NSI with SED. SED were available at the workplace in 80% of hospitals and doctors’ surgeries and in 50% of care facilities.

Conclusion: Training on the safe disposal of sharp instruments should be provided to all professional groups who come into contact with such instruments. It is currently not possible to provide a reliable estimate of the risk of infection from subcutaneous needles. As a high proportion of NSI in nursing homes and outpatient care services were caused by subcutaneous needles, training on safe handling practices for disposal of needles is needed in these settings.

Reference:

Dulon, M., Lisiak, B., Wendeler, D. and Nienhaus, A. (2017) Workers’ Compensation Claims for Needlestick Injuries Among Healthcare Personnel in Hospitals, Doctors’ Surgeries and Nursing Institutions. Gesundheitswesen. July 28th. [epub ahead of print]. [Article in German].

doi: 10.1055/s-0043-114003.

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