How Do We Decrease Sharps Injuries and Body Fluid Exposures? Through Personal Protective Equipment
September 6, 2017 | Strategic Insights for Health System
Data show that 45% of blood and body fluid exposures among healthcare workers made contact with unprotected skin, and although 67% of exposures involved the eyes, fewer than one-third of healthcare workers were wearing facial protective equipment, according to the International Safety Center's (ISC) 2015 Exposure Prevention Information Network (EPINet) report for blood and body fluid exposures. Similar trends are also reported in the 2015 EPINet report for needlestick and sharp object injuries; in 56% of cases, safety mechanisms for items causing injury were not activated at the time of use and injury. Following passage of the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act of 2000, sharps-related injuries in nonsurgical hospital settings decreased by 32% from 2001 to 2006, which suggests that many injuries and potential blood or body fluid exposures can be reduced when both safety devices and protective gear are used.