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Proper safety protocols can prevent almost 40% of sharps injuries

On Behalf of | Mar 13, 2024 | Blog, Workers' Compensation

Sharps injuries include needlesticks and cuts from other medical instruments. These injuries pose notable risks to health care workers. These injuries can lead to exposure to bloodborne pathogens, including HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. However, adherence to proper safety protocols prevents many of these injuries.

Understanding the factors contributing to sharps injuries and implementing preventive measures are important steps in safeguarding the well-being of health care professionals.

Risks of sharps injuries

Health care settings are dynamic environments where workers rely on sharp objects in various medical procedures. These tools that aid in patient care also present inherent dangers to health care workers. Accidental needlesticks, for instance, can occur when administering injections or drawing blood. When they occur, they put health care professionals at risk of infection. Mishandling or improperly disposing of sharp instruments can result in cuts or puncture wounds. This can further heighten the risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens.

Preventive measures

Adhering to proper safety protocols helps mitigate the risk of sharps injuries. Health care facilities must provide comprehensive training to staff on the handling, use and disposal of sharp instruments. This includes utilizing safety-engineered devices designed to minimize the risk of accidental needlesticks. Establishing clear policies and procedures for disposing of sharps waste can help reduce injuries. So, too, can enforcing compliance among health care workers.

Per Safety + Health, health care institutions that consistently follow safety protocols see 38% fewer sharps injuries among staff members than those that do not. Nurses are those most likely to adhere to safety protocols, with almost 70% of them doing so.