| FAQ - Sharps Safety/Postexposure Management - 2014
Question: Do you know where I can find out how many needle sticks occur in a year?
Ask OSAP reviewed a number of resources regarding needlesticks, and this is a sample of what was found.
Infection Control and Management of Hazardous Materials for the Dental Team states as follows:
Risks From Sharps Injuries
“Sharps” is a term for devices with sharp points or edges that can puncture or cut skin or other tissue. Dental examples include injection needles, orthodontic bands and wire, scalpel blades, burs, suture needles, instruments, and broken glass…The most serious types of occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens are accidental percutaneous (through the skin) injuries involving sharps. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that each year 385,000 needlesticks and other sharps-related injuries are sustained by just hospital-based health care personnel. Similar injuries occur in other health care settings, such as dental facilities, nursing homes, clinics, emergency care services, and private homes. Nonhospital health care workers experience approximately 205,000 such injuries per year for a total of almost 600,000 injuries annually. Such injuries involve a risk of infection, possible reactions to related prophylactic medications, and psychological stress related to the threat of infection. Thus, reducing contaminated sharps injuries is an important goal. 1
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) maintains a webpage entitled Bloodborne Infectious Diseases: HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C Surveillance which can be accessed at:
This webpage includes several resources that provide surveillance information regarding sharps injuries and bloodborne pathogens. Included with this information is the The National Surveillance System for Healthcare Workers (NaSH) - Summary Report for Blood and Body Fluid Exposure Data Collected from Participating Healthcare Facilities (June 1995 through December 2007). This report describes the variety of occupational exposures to blood and body fluids that occur among healthcare providers.2 Data from this report was analyzed in Preventing percutaneous injuries among dental health care personnel which was published in the Journal of the American Dental Association in February 2007. A link to this article’s abstract can be accessed here:
Some other possible resources include:
OSHA - How to Prevent Needlestick Injuries: Answers to Some Important Questions
Why Do I Need to Worry About Needlesticks?
If you're an employer of health care workers who are potentially exposed to blood and contaminated needles, you should know that there are an estimated 800,000 needlesticks each year in the U.S. About 2 percent, or 16,000, of these are likely to be contaminated with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Needlestick injuries account for up to 80 percent of accidental exposures to blood. Nurses in hospitals are the most frequently injured. 4
Safe In Common which can be accessed at :
This website includes a section on needlestick statistics:
By The Numbers
- OSHA estimates 5.6 million workers in the U.S. healthcare industry are at risk of occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens via needlestick injuries and other sharps-related injuries. http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/hospital/hazards/sharps/sharps.html
- Each year 385,000 needlestick injuries and other sharps-related injuries are sustained by hospital-based healthcare personnel. This equates to an average of around 1,000 sharps injuries occur per day in U.S. hospitals. http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/hospital/hazards/sharps/sharps.html
- Including other non-acute healthcare facilities, it is estimated that 600,000 healthcare personnel incur a needlestick injury each year in the U.S. http://nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ANAMarketplace/Factsheets-and...
- 40% of injuries occur after use and before disposal of sharp devices, 41% of injuries occur during the use of sharp devices on patients, and 15% of injuries occur during or after disposal (CDC unpublished data)
- Virtually all healthcare personnel are at risk of harm from occupational exposures such as needlestick injuries. The CDC notes that while nurses sustain approximately half of all needlestick injuries, physicians housekeeping and maintenance staff, technicians and administrators are also harmed. 6
American Nurses Association – Fact Sheet
Workers at Risk, By the Numbers
OSHA estimates that 5.6 million workers in the health care industry and related occupations are at risk of occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and others.
Each year, hospital-based health care workers sustain an estimated 384,000 percutaneous (skinpuncture) injuries from needles and other sharp devices, or more than 1,000 injuries per day.
When accounting for both hospitals and other health care settings, such as private clinics, home care operations and long-term care facilities, studies have estimated that between 600,000 and 800,000 needlestick and other percutaneous injuries occur annually to health care workers. 7
International Healthcare Worker Safety Center at the University of Virginia -
Moving The Sharps Safety Agenda Forward In The United States: Consensus Statement And Call To Action 8
This document references annual sharps injury rates.
1) Miller CH. Infection Control and Management of Hazardous Materials for the Dental Team, 5th edition. Elsevier/Mosby Publishers. Page 198.
2) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Bloodborne Infectious Diseases: HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C Surveillance. http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/bbp/surveillance.html Accessed on February 25, 2014.
3) Journal of the American Dental Association. Preventing percutaneous injuries among dental health care personnel. http://jada.ada.org/content/138/2/169.abstract Accessed on February 25, 2014.
4) US Department of Labor – Occupational Safety and Health Administration. How to Prevent Needlestick Injuries: Answers to Some Important Questions https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3161/osha3161.html Accessed on February 25, 2014.
5) Safe In Common. Home Page. http://www.safeincommon.org/ Accessed on February 25, 2014.
6) Safe In Common. Needlestick Statistics. http://www.safeincommon.org/needlestick-statistics Accessed on February 25, 2014.
7) American Nurses Association. Fact Sheet. http://nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ANAMarketplace/Factsheets-and-Toolkits/Fact-Sheet.pdf Accessed on February 25, 2014.
8) International Healthcare Worker Safety Center. Moving The Sharps Safety Agenda Forward In The United States: Consensus Statement And Call To Action.
http://www.healthsystem.virginia.edu/pub/safetycenter/Consensus_statement_sharps_injury_prevention.pdf Accessed on February 25, 2014.