Needlestick Statistics

The passage of the Federal Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act in 2000 and the subsequent revision of the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard by OSHA have led to increased adoption of safety equipment and other measures designed to protect healthcare personnel from needlestick injuries. Despite these compliance measures, injury from needlestick remains a pervasive problem.


By The Numbers
The Cost of Safety
There is More Work to Be Done

By The Numbers

  • OSHA estimates 5.6 million workers in the U.S. healthcare industry are at risk of occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens via needlestick injuries and other sharps-related injuries. http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/hospital/hazards/sharps/sharps.html
  • Each year 385,000 needlestick injuries and other sharps-related injuries are sustained by hospital-based healthcare personnel. This equates to an average of around 1,000 sharps injuries occur per day in U.S. hospitals. http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/hospital/hazards/sharps/sharps.html
  • Including other non-acute healthcare facilities, it is estimated that 600,000 healthcare personnel incur a needlestick injury each year in the U.S. http://nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ANAMarketplace/Factsheets-and...
  • 40% of injuries occur after use and before disposal of sharp devices, 41% of injuries occur during the use of sharp devices on patients, and 15% of injuries occur during or after disposal (CDC unpublished data)
  • Virtually all healthcare personnel are at risk of harm from occupational exposures such as needlestick injuries. The CDC notes that while nurses sustain approximately half of all needlestick injuries, physicians housekeeping and maintenance staff, technicians and administrators are also harmed.

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The Cost of Safety

  • Direct costs for testing and follow-up treatment of healthcare personnel receiving a needlestick injury are up to $5,000 depending on the treatment provided. www.cdc.gov/sharpssafety/pdf/workbookcomplete.pdf
  • Costs that are harder to quantify include the emotional cost associated with fear and anxiety from worrying about the possible consequences of an exposure, direct and indirect costs associated with drug toxicities and lost time from work, and the societal cost associated with an HIV or HCV seroconversion; the latter includes the possible loss of a worker’s services in patient care, the economic burden of medical care, and the cost of any associated litigation. www.cdc.gov/sharpssafety/pdf/workbookcomplete.pdf
  • According to the American Hospital Association, one case of serious infection by bloodborne pathogens can soon add up to $1 million or more in expenditures for testing, follow-up, lost time,and disability payments and disability payments. http://www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/WorkplaceSafety/SafeNeedl...

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There is More Work to Be Done

Unilife Corporation

  • Leading industry groups and government agencies have stated a preference for the use of equipment with passive, integrated safety features; few devices with passive safety features are currently available. www.cdc.gov/sharpssafety/pdf/workbookcomplete.pdf
    • FDA, NIOSH, CDC and OSHA give preferences for devices with passive, integrated safety features
    • ECRI recommends safety syringes allowing pre-removal activation
      Unilife Corporation
  • Devices with safety features that automatically or semi-automatically activate the safety mechanism were found to be 10 times more effective in preventing needlestick injuries compared to fully manual devices requiring active engagement of the safety feature, according to a recent study conducted in 61 French hospitals.

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