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Sharps Injury Prevention

The safe use, and disposal, of sharps is one of the most critical health and safety issues registered nurses will face in the workplace. According to past research carried out by the American Nurses Association (ANA), nearly two thirds of our members say needlestick injuries and blood borne infections remain major concerns, and 55% believe their workplace safety climate negatively impacts their own personal safety.

The numbers are certainly staggering - according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 385,000 sharps-related injuries occur annually among health care workers in hospitals, but it has been estimated that as many as half of injuries go unreported.

While the majority of sharps injuries involve nursing staff; laboratory staff, physicians, housekeepers, and other health care workers can also be at risk and need protection. ANA is working to reduce those risks through education and legislation: arming health care professionals with the guidelines and resources to prevent injuries; and their employers with the ability to create workplace environments where they can do so.

Prevention

To help nurses mitigate the risks of sharp-related injuries, we have compiled a list of online best-practices and advice on raising the profile of sharps safety in the workplace:

Prevention resources

Legislation

At the present time, the most up-to-date federal law relating to sharps practice is the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act/Bloodborne Pathogens Standard, enacted by the 106th Congress. ANA has released a series of position statements relating to sharps, and have outlined where we see that existing legislation can be improved.

2008 Study of Nurses’ Views on Workplace Safety and Needlestick Injuries

The 2008 Study of Nurses’ Views on Workplace Safety and Needlestick Injuries seeks to capture opinions, concerns and experiences about workplace safety climate and needlestick injuries (NSIs).

The independent survey of more than 700 U.S. nurses, sponsored by the American Nurses Association (ANA) and Inviro Medical Devices, reveals NSIs and blood borne infections remain major concerns for nearly two-thirds (64%) of nurses. The research also highlights that safety concerns influence the decisions made by the vast majority of nurses (87%) about the type of nursing they do, and that nearly two-thirds of nurses (64%) have been accidentally stuck by a needle while working.

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