238716 Impact of needlestick safety legislation on hospital nurse injuries

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 11:00 AM

Elayne Kornblatt Phillips, RN, MPH, PhD , International Health Care Worker Safety Center, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
Mark R. Conaway, PhD , Public Health Sciences, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
Ginger Parker, MBA , International Healthcare Worker Safety Center, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
Janine C. Jagger, MPH, PhD , International Health Care Worker Safety Center, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
Background & Objective: The Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act of 2000 required caregiver input in reviewing and selecting safety-engineered devices. It gave nurses influence in decisions regarding device purchases, providing opportunities to influence their own occupational health and safety. This study measures legislative impact on nurse injuries. Methods: A historic prospective design used data from the Exposure Prevention Information Network (EPINet ), a sharps injury surveillance network. Data from the years 1995-2005 reflected a total of 23908 needlestick injuries from a cumulative total of 85 hospitals. Variables included job category, when and where the injury occurred. Annual injury rates were reported as injuries per 100 personnel (FTEs) according to AHA. Nurse FTEs were estimated as 30% of all hospital FTEs. Results: Overall, nurse sharps injury rates decreased ~40% from the pre-legislation period to the post-legislation (P=0.006), reflecting ~2.5 fewer injuries per 100 nurse FTEs, and proportion of all injuries attributed to nurses decreased by 10%. Among nurses, the proportion of injuries before and after device use decreased. In-room injuries reflected a larger proportion of all nurse injuries in the post-legislation period. Conclusions: The legislation appears to have had a positive effect on nurse injuries- the proportion and rate of injury have decreased significantly. In addition, the patterns of injury, both where and when nurse injuries occurred, shifted. National policy, enacted and enforced, can make a difference in the health and safety of nurses.

Learning Areas:
Occupational health and safety
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related nursing
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
1. Participants will be able to describe the impact of the needlestick safety legislation on hospital nurses. 2. Participants will be able to compare the changes in patterns of injury subsequent to the legislation. 3. Participants will be able to define the roles of nurses, administrators and policy makers in creating an environment that is safer for hospital workers.

Keywords: Occupational Injury and Death, Nurses

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have published articles and presented research and educational webinars in the U.S. and internationally on healthcare worker safety. The focus is typically on the prevention of bloodborne pathogen transmission to healthcare workers.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.