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Needlestick Prevention/Sharps Safety Issue Toolkit

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Occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens from needlesticks and other sharps injuries is a serious problem, but it is often preventable. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that each year 385,000 needlesticks and other sharps-related injuries are sustained by hospital-based healthcare personnel. Similar injuries occur in other healthcare settings, such as nursing homes, clinics, emergency care services, and private homes. Sharps injuries are primarily associated with occupational transmission of hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), but they may be implicated in the transmission of more than 20 other pathogens. (Source: CDC)

Sharps injuries can be avoided by eliminating the unnecessary handling and use of needles, using devices with safety features, and promoting education and safe work practices for handling needles and related systems. These measures should be part of a comprehensive program to prevent the transmission of bloodborne pathogens.


Workbook for Designing, Implementing,
and Evaluating a Sharps Injury Prevention
Program Revised 2008
From the CDC. The workbook includes several sections that describe each of the organizational steps and operational processes. A toolkit of forms and worksheets is included to help guide program development and implementation.
Safer Medical Device Implementation in Health Care Facilities: Sharing Lessons Learned NIOSH asked a small number of health care facilities to share their experiences on how they implemented safer medical devices in their settings. These facilities described each step in the process and discussed the barriers they encountered.
Device Screening and Evaluation Forms To increase the safety of both dental personnel and their patients, we are making these forms available for general use. Although these forms are specific for anesthetic syringes, they can be modified for use with other types of dental devices.
What Every Worker Should Know: How to Protect Yourself From Needlestick Injuries Needlestick injuries can lead to serious or fatal infections. Health care workers who use or may be exposed to needles are at increased risk of needlestick injury. All workers who are at risk should take steps to protect themselves from this significant health hazard.
Bloodborne Pathogens and Needlestick Prevention From OSHA.
Selecting, Evaluating, and Using
Sharps Disposal Containers
This document presents a comprehensive framework for selecting sharps disposal containers and evaluating their efficacy as part of an overall needlestick injury prevention plan. The correct and consistent use of rigid sharps disposal containers in the health care environment has been demonstrated to reduce needlestick injuries.
MMWR: Guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Health-Care Settings --- 2003 Engineering controls are the primary method to reduce exposures to blood and OPIM from sharp instruments and needles. These controls are frequently technology-based and often incorporate safer designs of instruments and devices (e.g., self-sheathing anesthetic needles and dental units designed to shield burs in handpieces) to reduce percutaneous injuries

Evaluating Safety Devices in USAF DentalClinics

In 2001, OSHA revised their Bloodborne Pathogen Standard. The revisions clarify the need for developing a program to prevent sharps injuries that includes a process to identify, evaluate, and select engineering and work practice controls. Under the revised OSHA Bloodborne Pathogen Standard, employees directly responsible for patient care (e.g., dentists, hygienists, and dental assistants) should actively participate in this program.

Sharps Safety Reminders
Be Prepared - Be Aware - Dispose With Care

UVa Center, American Nurses Association Unite to Protect Healthcare Workers From Needlesticks

Press Release - March 8, 2012
The STOP STICKS Campaign Sharps injuriesare a significant injury and health hazard for health care workers and also result in anumber of direct and indirect organizational costs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 385,000 sharps-related injuries occur annually among health care workers in hospitals.

UVa Healthcare Worker Safety Center and American Nurses Association issue Call to Action to protect healthcare workers from exposure to bloodborne diseases

Press Release - March 8, 2012

Moving The Sharps Safety AgendaForward In The United States: Consensus Statement And Call To Action

This Consensus Statement and Call to Action was drafted by members of the steering committee for the conference "Tenth Anniversary of the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act: Mapping Progress, Charting a Future Path,” held in Charlottesville, Virginia, from November 4-6, 2010, and sponsored by the International Healthcare Worker Safety Center at the University of Virginia.

List Of Supporting Organizations for the Consensus Statement And Call To Action: Moving Forward The Sharps Safety Agenda In The United States

March 2012 Background: The International Healthcare Worker Safety Center at the University of Virginia drafted and began circulating the consensus statement on sharps safety in the summer of 2011. The American Nurses Association(ANA) endorsed the statement in November 2011, and worked closely with the IHWSC to reach the ANA’saffiliate members and other professional groups. The following organizations have officially endorsed the statement.

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5 Strategies for Creating a Culture of Sharps Safety To create a culture of safety, organizations must address those factors known to influence em­ployees' attitudes and behavior. Organizations must also direct measures to reduce hazards in the environment. Although many factors influence a culture of safety, the CDC, in its "Workbook for Designing, Implementing, and Evaluating a Sharps Injury Prevention Program," emphasizes the following five strategies that are believed to be the major determinants of a safety culture.
OSHA Fact Sheet: Protecting Yourself When Handling Contaminated Sharps Sharps are objects that can penetrate a worker's skin, such as needles, scalpels, broken glass, capillary tubes and the exposed ends of dental wires.
US Labor Department sues Beverly, Mass., dentist for allegedly firing employee who raised concerns about contaminated needle disposal According to the complaint filed in US district court in Boston by the department's Office of the Regional Solicitor, the dentist discharged a dental assistant in November 2010 after the employee raised concerns about an office procedure that required workers to remove protective caps from contaminated needles before putting the needles in disposal containers for sharps.
Rates of Sharps, Needlestick Injuries Unchanged Over 10-Year Span, Study Shows Researchers retrospectively reviewed blood and body fluids exposures that took place from 1999-2008 at Washington D.C. Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
Three ways to prevent an exposure incident Needlesticks and other percutaneous injuries can cause exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials. A percutaneous injury occurs when a needle, sharps instrument, or other device penetrates the skin. Careful handling of sharps can prevent an exposure incident. Three ways to prevent an exposure incident include using engineering controls, using needle recapping devices, and working practice controls.
ICAAC: Sharps Injuries Still a Danger Federal legislation designed to reduce needlesticks and other injuries from sharp instruments has had only a modest impact, with many sharps exposures now occurring with safety devices, according to a single-center study reported here.
Self-reported needle-stick injuries among dentists in north Jordan

The study highlights the need for continuous education programmes about handling of sharp dental instruments and reporting injuries.

Study Shows Healthcare Worker Needlestick Injuries Dramatically Reduced Through Use of Safety Feature-Enhanced Needle Disposal Device A safety enhanced disposal device could prevent more than 19,000 accidental needlesticks and other "sharps” injuries to healthcare workers, suggests study.
Allcare Dental's Nashua, N.H., dental office faces $76,500 in U.S. Labor Department OSHA fines following employee needlestick injury The office's training program did not include the proper method of removing the capped needle from a syringe, did not explain procedures to be followed in the event of an exposure and did not provide an opportunity for employees to ask questions about the training. The office's exposure control program also was incomplete and not updated annually. Finally, the office did not use needles with engineered safety devices for user protection.
Preventing percutaneous injuries among dental health care personnel All dental practices should have a comprehensivewritten program for preventing needlestick injuries that describesprocedures for identifying, screening and, when appropriate,adopting safety devices; mechanisms for reporting and providingmedical follow-up for percutaneous injuries; and a system fortraining staff members in safe work practices and the properuse of safety devices.
Preventing sharps, splash, and needlestick injuries in dentistry: a comprehensive overview This article presents a comprehensive collection of precautions and suggestions for preventing sharps, splash, and needlestick injuries in dentistry.
Management of needlestick injuries in general dental practice The objective of this paper is to advise on the development of practical policies for needlestick injuries in general dental practice.

Dental Safety Needles' Effectiveness: Results of a one-year evaluation

Evaluators had significant concerns aboutthe usability of dental safety needles and their ability toadapt to using them effectively. Results of a review and benchtests indicate that the devices tested are no safer than traditionalanesthetic needles.

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