The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

5060.0: Wednesday, November 13, 2002 - 8:30 AM

Abstract #40842

Rates of sharps injuries among hospital nurses in four Western countries

Sean P. Clarke, PhD, RN, Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research, School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, Nursing Education Building, 420 Guardian Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6096, (215)898-5673,

Sharps injuries and their attendant risks of bloodborne infections have been a prominent hospital occupational safety issue for some time. While these injuries and the role of safety equipment in preventing them have been the subject of much attention, comparisons of injury rates across countries have been rare. Methods: 37,877 hospital staff nurses from 7 sites in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany reported their hours worked, sharps injuries in the previous year, as well as frequency of performing venipuncture and availability of safety equipment (in all sites except the U.K.) via anonymous mail-in questionnaires in 1999. Results: Injury rates were calculated for major specialties across countries, correcting for hours worked by respondents. Overall rates ranged from 0.11 and 0.12 injuries per year per full-time equivalent (FTE) position in the U.S. and U.K. to 0.20 in Canada and 0.28 in Germany. In the North American sites, operating room and emergency nurses had the highest injury rates, but nurses in rehabilitation and psychiatry reported injuries out of proportion to the frequency of risky procedures in their work. More nurses in the U.S. than in Canada or Germany reported that safety devices were in use in their hospitals. Conclusions: Observed differences in sharps injury rates reflect factors including the nature of nursesí work and use of safety devices across countries. Future analyses will examine whether differentials in injury risk can be explained by variations in nursesí workloads and hospital organizational climate both within and across countries.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this presentation, the learner will be able to

Keywords: Hospitals, Occupational Safety

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Safe Needles & Health Care Workers

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA