- OSHA Healthcare Advisor - http://blogs.hcpro.com/osha -

Preventing needlesticks could save $1 billion a year

Despite federal mandates put in place 13 years ago to protect healthcare workers from needlesticks, they are still being stuck at an alarming rate. By some estimates, some 600,000 workers in medical clinics suffer needlesticks and other sharps-related injuries every year.

Safe in Common [SIC], a Lewisberry, PA-based non-profit advocate for healthcare worker safety, released statistics in late August estimating that 1,000 healthcare workers in the U.S. are stuck by a needle every day.
And those are expensive needle sticks. SIC estimates sharps injuries costs the U.S. healthcare system up to $1 billion for laboratory testing fees, counseling, and costs related to post-exposure follow-ups. This amounts to an estimated $3,042 per victim each year, according to CDC estimates.

“These completely preventable injuries, needless cost burdens on the healthcare system and psychological trauma inflicted on personnel is startling when safer equipment and smarter work practices are available to personnel across the healthcare spectrum,” says Safe in Common Chairperson Mary Foley, PhD, RN. “At a time when healthcare personnel are forced to wear Kevlar gloves to protect their hands from needlesticks, we’re highlighting the costs of ignoring safety-engineered devices to avoid these needless injuries.”