Healthcare Workplace Injuries and Exposures
Gain a deeper understanding of the risks frontline healthcare workers face each day, and how you can help improve workplace safety.
Occupational hazards for healthcare workers abound
Frontline healthcare workers’ health and safety are at risk.
Injuries from disposable syringes and sutures continue to be the most frequent injuries reported in the frontline healthcare setting, according to the International Safety Center’s Exposure Prevention Information Network (EPINet®) data. These injuries can be attributed to:
- Unsafe use of sharps devices
- Sharps devices that don’t feature safety mechanisms
- Sharps devices whose safety mechanisms have failed
What’s more, nearly 25% of all injuries occur to the non-user, meaning that safe work practices and disposal are key to preventing injuries for not only frontline healthcare workers, but other members of the clinical team, environmental services staff, waste haulers, and laundry personnel, as well.
In addition, more than 60% of non-sharps blood and body fluid exposures (BBFEs) occur to the eyes, and less than 6% of exposed workers report wearing protective eyewear. This is particularly troublesome given mucus membrane exposures can result in high-risk potential to contract bloodborne or infectious diseases or multidrug-resistant pathogens, like Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
To help healthcare facilities evaluate medical devices and PPE with safety features, we offer a wide variety of evaluation tools at no cost, including:
- Safety Feature Evaluation Forms
- Task Analysis Assessments
- User-Based Performance Standards
Recommended Healthcare Worker Safety Resources
Interested in what you see? Here are some web-based resources that can assist you in developing safer healthcare workplaces.
Sharps Injury, Needlestick, and Blood and Body Fluid Exposure Surveillance Tools and Resources
The International Safety Center delivers tools, resources, and expertise critical in tracking injuries and exposures, preventing occupational injuries and illnesses, and reducing healthcare costs and improving workplace safety:
Federal Government Requirements & Recommendations
The United States Federal Government provides critical guidance on improving workplace safety in the healthcare setting:
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Bloodborne and Needlestick Prevention
- OSHA Hospital e-Tool
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Stop Sticks Campaign
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Alert – Preventing Needlestick Injuries in Health Care Settings
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Sharps Safety for Healthcare Settings
State-Based Requirements, Recommendations & Surveillance
The States of Massachusetts and Texas have also issued valuable guidance for reducing sharps injuries:
- Massachusetts Department of Public Health Needlesticks and other sharps injuries among healthcare workers
- Texas Department of State Health Services Contaminated Sharps Injury Reporting
Professional Associations & Member Organizations
Healthcare worker associations have issued workplace safety guidance of their own: