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:

State-Based Requirements, Recommendations & Surveillance
Professional Associations & Member Organizations
Other Supporting Materials, Articles & Resources

For additional insight into the critical need for improved sharps injury and BBE prevention, we encourage your review of the following: