Author(s): Gershon RR, Karkashian CD, Vlahov D, Kummer L, Kasting C, , Gershon RR, Karkashian CD, Vlahov D, Kummer L, Kasting C,
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Abstract There were three main objectives of this cross-sectional study of Maryland State correctional health care workers. The first was to evaluate compliance with work practices designed to minimize exposure to blood and body fluids; the second, to identify correlates of compliance with universal precautions (UPs); and the third was to determine the relationship, if any, between compliance and exposures. Of 216 responding health care workers, 34\% reported overall compliance across all 15 items on a compliance scale. Rates for specific items were particularly low for use of certain types of personal protective equipment, such as protective eyewear (53.5\%), face mask (47.2\%) and protective clothing (33.9\%). Compliance rates were highest for glove use (93.2\%) waste disposal (89.8\%), and sharps disposal (80.8\%). Compliance rates were generally not associated with demographic factors, except for age; younger workers were more likely to be compliant with safe work practices than were older workers (P < 0.05). Compliance was positively associated with several work-related variables, including perceived safety climate (i.e., management's commitment to infection control and the overall safety program) and job satisfaction, and was found to be inversely associated with security-related work constraints, job/task factors, adverse working conditions, workplace discrimination, and perceived work stress. Bloodborne exposures were not uncommon; 13.8\% of all respondents had at least one bloodborne exposure within the previous 6 months, and compliance was inversely related to blood and body fluid exposures. This study identified several potentially modifiable correlates of compliance, including factors unique to the correctional setting. Infection-control interventional strategies specifically tailored to these health care workers may therefore be most effective in reducing the risk of bloodborne exposures.
This article was published in J Occup Environ Med
and referenced in Medical Safety & Global Health