Reduction of needlestick injuries in healthcare personnel at a university hospital using safety devices
Background Healthcare personnel (HCP) is exposed to bloodborne pathogens through occupational risk factors. The objective of this study was to compare the incidence of needlestick injuries (NSIs) before and after the introduction of safety devices in all departments of our hospital.
Methods Data was extracted from mandatory needlestick report forms of the hospital’s Occupational Health Service. Serological results of patients and healthcare personnel (HCP) were reviewed in the laboratory information system.
Results In 2007, the year before the introduction of safety devices, 448 needlestick injuries were self-reported, corresponding to an annual rate of 69.0 NSIs per 1 000 full-time HCP. The highest incidence was observed among medical staff in the surgery department and internal medicine with 152 (33.9%) and 79 (17.6%) NSIs, respectively. Of all occupational groups, nurses (36.2%) had the highest risk to sustain NSIs. In 2008 safety devices were introduced across the hospital, e.g. peripheral venous catheter, hypodermic needle and stapling system for wound sealing providing active or passive protection. In 2009, the year after introduction of safety devices, only 350 NSIs were reported, the annual rate of NSIs decreased to 52.4 per 1 000 full-time HCP. Thus an overall reduction of 21.9% for NSIs was achieved when safer devices were applied. The number of NSIs was reduced by even 50% for blood withdrawal, for use of peripheral venous catheters and application of hypodermic needles.
Conclusion The application of safety devices led to a reduction of NSIs and significantly reduces the risk of bloodborne infections.