Needlesticks law accounts for drop in injuries

By: February 20th, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

Law and order has led to a decrease in needlestick injuries among hospital workers.

A multihospital sharps-injury database maintained by the International Healthcare Worker Safety Center at the University of Virginia shows a 38% decline in percutaneous injuries since passage of the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act (NSPA) on November 6, 2000 and stronger enforcement by OSHA according to “Percutaneous Injuries before and after the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act,” appearing in the correspondence section of the of the New England Journal of Medicine, February 16.

Along with the decrease, researchers from the safety center tracked “a steep market shift from conventional to safety-engineered devices,” suggesting additional effects from the NSPA.

“Our findings provide evidence that the NSPA contributed to the decline in percutaneous injuries among U.S. hospital workers. They also support the concept that well-crafted legislation bolstered by effective enforcement can be a motivating factor in the transition to injury-control practices and technologies, resulting in a safer work environment and workforce,” conclude researchers Elayne K. Phillips, B.S.N., Ph.D.; Mark R. Conaway, Ph.D.; Janine C. Jagger, M.P.H., Ph.D.



By Mary Weaver on February 21st, 2012 at 7:58 am

Wonderful news. However, I find that some employees (especially physicians) will break the safety device off of the product because they do not like it and they think it gets in the way. That can be very frustrating.

By Bruce Cunha on February 21st, 2012 at 9:15 am

Totally in favor of this process. We have almost no IV, Blood Draw or Hypodermic related exposures since we changed to saftey sharps.

Now we need congress keep the pressure on the manufacturers. Still a lot of devices out there that do not have a safety option. Try finding a hypodermic needle longer than 1.5″ that has a built on safety device!

I completely agree with you, Bruce. Every year during our safety sharps evaluation process, at least one employee looks at me and says, “if it is against the law to use non-safety sharps, why are they still allowed to sell them in this country?”. I don’t have a good answer to give them because I don’t understand it myself. Maybe part of the congressional pressure should be focused on the manufacturing and sales of non-safety products in this country.

We are doing a FMEA Risk Assessment on accidental sticks during suturing in O.R. Suture needles don’t come with a safety device (can’t even imagine who they could even do that). Does anyone have any helpful suggestions?


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