Author(s): Wicker S, Jung J, Allwinn R, Gottschalk R, Rabenau HF
Abstract Share this page
Abstract OBJECTIVE: Health care workers (HCWs) are exposed to bloodborne pathogens, especially hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) through job-related risk factors like needlestick, stab, scratch, cut, or other bloody injuries. Needlestick injuries can be prevented by safer devices. METHODS: The purpose of this study was to investigate the frequency and causes of needlestick injuries in a German university hospital. Data were obtained by an anonymous, self-reporting questionnaire. We calculated the share of reported needlestick injuries, which could have been prevented by using safety devices. RESULTS: 31.4\% (n = 226) of participant HCWs had sustained at least one needlestick injury in the last 12 months. A wide variation in the number of reported needlestick injuries was evident across disciplines, ranging from 46.9\% (n = 91/194) among medical staff in surgery and 18.7\% (n = 53/283) among HCWs in pediatrics. Of all occupational groups, physicians have the highest risk to experience needlestick injuries (55.1\%-n = 129/234). Evaluating the kind of activity under which the needlestick injury occurred, on average 34\% (n = 191/561) of all needlestick injuries could have been avoided by the use of safety devices. Taking all medical disciplines and procedures into consideration, safety devices are available for 35.1\% (n = 197/561) of needlestick injuries sustained. However, there was a significant difference across various medical disciplines in the share of needlestick injuries which might have been avoidable: Pediatrics (83.7\%), gynecology (83.7\%), anesthesia (59.3\%), dermatology (33.3\%), and surgery (11.9\%). In our study, only 13.2\% (n = 74/561) of needlestick injuries could have been prevented by organizational measures. CONCLUSION: There is a high rate of needlestick injuries in the daily routine of a hospital. The rate of such injuries depends on the medical discipline. Implementation of safety devices will lead to an improvement in medical staff's health and safety.
This article was published in Int Arch Occup Environ Health
and referenced in Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals