Sharps injury prevention: needlesticks, scalpels, and glass

Premier’s commitment

nurse-needlestickPremier has a long-standing commitment to worker safety, including prevention of occupational needlestick injuries. Premier’s work in needlestick injury prevention began with the launch of the Premier Safety Institute in 1999.  For nearly two decades, the Premier Safety Institute® has provided information and resources to assist healthcare organizations in protecting workers from bloodborne pathogen exposure through percutaneous sharps injuries.  The following documents describe Premier’s history of support for sharps safety and needlestick prevention.

This website assembles a wide array of resources to assist healthcare organizations in eliminating sharps-related injuries. Many of these resources were developed by the Premier Safety Institute® and include:

  • Performance features for safety devices
  • OSHA program compliance tools
  • Education and training materials
  • Collaboration with stakeholders, including CDC
  • Sharps safety devices for members

Introduction to sharps injury prevention resources

This website provides information, tools, and strategies to reduce workers’ exposure to blood and body fluids of patients infected with bloodborne pathogens, such as HIV, hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV). The greatest risk for workers is posed by percutaneous injuries (e.g., needlesticks and injuries from other sharp devices).

Overview of website: Each link in the right navigation bar guides you to essential documents such as the CDC’s sharps injury prevention workbook. The OSHA program addresses not only the bloodborne standard requirements but also supplemental implementation materials. Key agencies such as CDC, NIOSH and FDA provide major links to bloodborne pathogen information, guidelines, prevention and treatment, while Resources and tools complements OSHA’s program with other materials for program implementation and training. The association between worker and patient safety is well established, and Safe injection practices serve to protect everyone involved with the use of sharps.

Premier’s Safety Institute provides unique resources such as Premier’s “Needlestick Prevention Educational Brochure” that is intended for use in all healthcare delivery settings. Premier’s research on device field evaluations remains useful today for identifying important features when evaluating devices. Premier’s contract portfolio includes a robust selection of  safety devices available for member-only access in the Supply Chain Advisor catalog.

Risks of occupational bloodborne infection

Following a needlestick or other percutaneous injury from a sharp object (e.g., lancet, scalpel, broken glass), the risk of developing an infection will depend on the infectious status of the patient, the immune status of the worker, the severity of the needlestick injury, and the availability and use of appropriate post-exposure prophylaxis. CDC provides current information regarding post exposure prophylaxis and also links to the National Clinician’s Consultation Center’s
Hotline providing rapid response to injuries.

Comprehensive information on occupational injury statistics, transmission risk, and disease outcomes for HIV, HBV, and HCV can be found in detail within the “CDC Workbook for designing, implementing, and evaluating a sharps injury prevention program.” More information about the workbook including educational slides, video, posters, and a 2-page CDC worker training pamphlet addressing  these issues are also available. For additional information about CDC resources see Key Agencies.

OSHA regulatory requirements

Federal OSHA and state laws have moved needlestick prevention to the top of the safety agenda. Selecting, evaluating and adopting safety devices require collaboration among many individuals in the healthcare setting, including front-line workers. To ensure a successful program each healthcare facility and care setting will need to tailor its approach to the specific risks and characteristics of the clinical environment and the needs and preferences of the workers. See the OSHA Program for additional information and strategies for implementation.

Sharps safety devices from Premier

Many safety devices designed to prevent sharps injuries — including syringes, phlebotomy devices, lancets, vascular access devices, suture needles, and sharps disposal containers — are available through Premier’s contracts with a wide variety of contracted suppliers. Additional information may be obtained at the website from Premier’s electronic catalog, available to Premier members with a password.

OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogen Standard requires employers to solicit input from non-managerial, frontline workers responsible for direct patient care on the identification, evaluation and selection of effective engineering controls/devices to prevent sharps-related injuries, whether or not they are covered by a group purchasing contract.