Welcome to the May 2012 edition of SAFETYscribe, an update on our work together to eliminate needlestick and sharps injuries. Inside is news on the movement of healthcare personnel who are committed to avoiding needlestick injuries and learning about the safest equipment, and of course your stories about best practices and creating the right safety culture.
A Boston-area nurse signs
the Needlestick Safety Pledge
A nurse signs the Needlestick Safety Pledge
at the AONE conference in Boston
The thousands of healthcare personnel taking the Needlestick Safety Pledge are automatically entered to win an iPad as part of the campaign's sweepstakes. Share the pledge to earn more entries for our next giveaway on June 12.
Recent winners include:
Kathleen Quinn, Georgia Baptist
College of Nursing 2013
Social Media Mentions
ANA & UVa Healthcare Worker Safety Center Call to Action on Needlestick Prevention: UVa Healthcare Worker Safety... bit.ly/y3yCAJ
Percutaneous #Injuries before & after the Needlestick Safety & Prevention Act ht.ly/9wd5x #OccHealth
@safeincommon launches #needlesticksafety tour in York ... http://t.co/k2elm3o2 23 hours 23 min ago Thanks for the good wishes @chelseashank! We appreciate your support
safety advocate Nancy Purcell-Holmes shares the story of her frightening #needlestick injury http://t.co/CX9TZuiw @safeincommon: rt @unilifecorp:
Nurse.com: Safe in Common launches needlestick prevention tour
Infection Control Today: Campaign to Engage 100,000 Healthcare Personnel Behind Needlestick Injury Prevention
Safety Business & Legal Resources – "New Campaign Seeks to Protect Healthcare Workers"
News and Views
In March, the International Healthcare Worker Safety Center at the University of Virginia and the American Nurses Association (ANA) issued a Consensus Statement and Call to Action to address the protection of healthcare personnel from exposure to bloodborne diseases, specifically from needlestick injuries. Safe in Common joined colleagues across the spectrum of healthcare with a signatory endorsement.
Safe in Common took the important step to join the nursing and healthcare organizations that endorsed the statement as a roadmap for future efforts on needlestick prevention. The statement cited that in the 10 years since the passage of the Federal Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act, much progress has been made to reduce the risk of healthcare worker exposure to bloodborne pathogens—yet significant challenges remain.
In a press release, ANA President Karen A. Daley, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN, said "Needlestick injuries are preventable and cannot be tolerated as a cost of doing business. Healthcare organizations are charged with ensuring safety and preventing harm—to patients, employees and the public. Unfortunately, needlesticks still occur, whether from lack of education and training, complacency or frugality."
In endorsing the Call to Action, Mary Foley, PhD, RN Safe in Common Chairperson said "As a lifelong proponent of reducing needlestick injuries, I am proud to join the ANA, the International Healthcare Worker Safety Center and other national organizations in signing this Call to Action on behalf of Safe in Common and our organization’s members."
The eight page statement provides a snapshot of where healthcare personnel are now and where further work is needed in order to continue to protect healthcare personnel from this risk they face every day in the line of duty. Safe in Common applauds the work and urges you to look deeper into the call to action at the International Healthcare Worker Safety Center at the University of Virginia website.
Notes from the Nation
Dr. Mary Foley, PhD, RN,
Chairperson of Safe in Common
As I tour the nation meeting with the frontline workers who are at risk of needlestick injuries, I realize how little change has occurred in the 12 years since the passage of the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act.
As I met with nurses and other healthcare workers in New York, Boston and Washington DC, since our campaign launched in March, I realized that we should be serving as a model for other countries as they start to address sharps injuries in their regions, not still trying to figure out how to protect our own protectors. Looking back, as I meet with the healthcare personnel who we are fighting to protect, I'm reminded of how the passage of the Act was a momentous time in the history of health and safety in the U.S., and the world.
As important as the 2000 legislation was, I'm reminded at every hospital we visit, that our work is not finished. Healthcare institutions no longer place sharps injury prevention at the top of their agenda.
And it’s not just a concern among healthcare workers. In Boston we met Sean Sullivan outside of Brigham & Women’s Hospital. He was moved to tears at the thought of a doctor, who was inadvertently stuck during a recent procedure. “Anything that can make you guys safer,” Sullivan told us.
Sean Sullivan outside Brigham & Women’s
He urged his doctor to sign the pledge because safe workplaces, protected staff and safe healthcare environments create safer patient settings. Sullivan knows that now is the time to join the original supporters and new advocates in rebuilding the focus and the energy so we can reach the goal of zero sharps injuries for healthcare personnel.
Massachusetts Needlestick Report Finds All-Time High of Safety-Related Device Injuries
The latest data released by the Massachusetts Sharps Injury Surveillance System, a local survey of the exhaustive recording of needlestick injuries from various devices, sheds light on some very sobering trends. While the data indicates that devices with active sharps injury prevention are in use, and that the trend is stable, it goes on to find that safety devices are now causing 76% of all reported injuries for this category – an all-time high.
This staggering statistic simply highlights the need to implement work practice controls and increase education for those interacting with devices. More safety-related injuries were reported in 2010 than any year except for 2008. As hospitals evaluate devices as a part of their continuous quality improvement process, they need to consider devices with passive sharps injury prevention features which are already strongly encouraged by OSHA.
Injuries from subcutaneous injections with safety devices are skyrocketing. This is primarily where 1ml hypodermic syringes and prefilled syringes (outside of vaccines) are being utilized. The report examines the use of passive and active safety features. Active technology requires the user to complete additional steps to engage the sharps injury prevention feature (e.g., hinged arm). Passive technology, however, allows the sharps injury prevention feature to engage through the clinical use of the device, with no extra steps (e.g., retractable needles). Of the 1,090 (37%) of injuries involving devices with sharps injury prevention features, injuries occurred most often with devices with a sliding sheath (470, 43%). The hinged arm and retractable mechanisms accounted for 308 (38%) and 263 (24%) injuries respectively.
Hypodermic needles/syringes lacked these features in 24% (201) of the injuries associated with these devices, even though hypodermic needles/syringes with engineered sharps injury prevention features have been available on the market for the past 14 years.
Leading industry groups and government agencies such as FDA, OSHA, NIOSH, CDC, MSISS, and ECRI have stated a preference for the use of needles/syringes equipped with passive pre-removal activation with integrated safety features. Healthcare personnel represent a critical national resource and we should do everything we can to protect them from harm as they care for others.
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, what this data shows is that more education and awareness is needed so healthcare personnel have a working environment safe from the risk of needlestick injury. Safe in Common believes that with the safest equipment, the best practices, and the right culture, needlestick injuries can be prevented.
Safe in Common takes a signature on the Needlestick Safety Pledge
As the Needlestick Safety Awareness Tour crosses the nation, healthcare professionals are sharing their stories of living with and preventing the dangers of needlesticks. Some of the healthcare personnel we have encountered throughout our journey:
Anne Haig: “I don't want any needlesticks injuries. Zero is our goal. Two incidents were related to lab sticks, two were also related to insulin syringes and both of them were safety syringes.”
Sharon Bradley: “Safety syringes are really important because I’ve had a clinician in an emergency room situation who managed to get a used needle up out of the safety device and stick her hand with an HIV-positive patient. She was a pregnant nurse. It was a nightmare. We had OSHA in our building for nine months. I've seen people hurt themselves. Come on, you know, you can't be a nurse for 40 years without sticking yourself. Give 100 people their flu shots and eventually you're going to stick your thumb.”
You can read more stories and share your own at http://www.safeincommon.org/stories
The Needlestick Safety Advocacy Tour will be at the following upcoming conferences. Remember to stop by for news and information on the tour and encourage colleagues to come take the Pledge.
- APIC’s 39th Annual Educational Conference & International Meeting in San Antonio on June 4th and 5th
- The American Academy of Nurse Practioners 27th National Conference in Orlando on June 21st and 22nd