Reducing Needlestick Injuries
A recent study published by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) reported a disturbing rise in the number of blood and bodily fluid exposure (BBFE) incidences, including sharps injuries, among RCN Members in the UK in 2020, highlighting another way that the pandemic has put increased strain on healthcare workers.
- 15% of respondents had suffered a sharps injury in 2020, which is a significant increase from 2008, the last year this survey was conducted.
- 3% of those surveyed received multiple sharps injury in the last year.
- 25% pointed to lack of safety equipment being readily available
- 38% of respondents had not received training on all the safety engineered devices (SEDs) they use.
Serving healthcare for over 30 years, we are very cognizant that an issue as big as this is not solved by putting forward a single remedy in isolation. A sharps container, no matter how safe, cannot eliminate the issue of needlestick injuries single handedly; albeit vital, it is a single piece of a much bigger strategy. Industry reporting of NI, sharps container placement, staff training, SED use and other preventative strategies all form part of the collective need of safeguarding healthcare workers from sharps injuries.
"My injury didn't occur because I was careless or distracted or not paying attention to what I was doing. This injury and the life-threatening consequences I am now suffering should not have happened."
Karen Daley - former president of the American Nurses Association
Karen Daley's story is sadly not a "needle in a haystack" occurance; her story is felt by healthcare practitioners around the globe. Eliminating sharps injuries relies on many factors – safer devices, safer sharps containers, leadership focus and safety process adoption. However overall, as an industry and as a group of people committed to improving safety for healthcare workers, it requires a collaborative effort ensure that everyone; healthcare practitioners, portering staff and patients, get home safely at the end of the day. To support our healthcare partners in the execution of their needlestick injury aversion strategies, we have put together this library of resources to help support in driving much needed awareness and training around the safe handling of sharps.