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Sharps Injuries

A sharps injury is a piercing stab wound caused by a needle, scalpel, or another sharp object that may expose the victim to blood or bodily fluids. Sharps injuries are most commonly caused by using sharp-edged equipment in a fast-paced, stressful, and perhaps understaffed situation. These drastic efforts frequently result in feelings of exhaustion, frustration, and, sometimes, hostility. Healthcare staff, for example, do not have the option of "taking a break" in the operating room but must continue with their job until the surgery is over. These situations can put healthcare workers at risk of injury and future infection or sickness.

Healthcare workers may also sustain injuries as a result of unsafe practices such as passing sharps between team members, discarding sharps in an overfilled container, failing to use a safer device, or failing to identify a safer alternative (e.g., blunt tip sutures, alternate skin closure devices/technologies).

The expense of a sharps injury can be an impetus to adopt safer sharps procedures. A single sharps injury, needlestick, or mucocutaneous exposure can result in several direct and indirect expenditures for the healthcare facility, such as:

  • Employee time loss

  • Personnel time spent investigating the injury

  • Laboratory testing costs (source patient and employee)

  • Treatment costs for post-exposure treatment

  • The cost of replacing or reassigning employees

Aside from the expenditures incurred by the healthcare facility and workers' compensation provider, the stress experienced by the impacted worker and their family might be tremendous. Aside from the initial alarm, testing for bloodborne pathogens might take months, causing anxiety and misery for an extended period.

Injuries are closely related to specific work activities that can represent an elevated risk of bloodborne pathogens or infectious disease exposure, in addition to using sharps devices. Among these work practices are:

  • Disposal-related activities (e.g., sharps container overfilled, sharps container too far away, the tool left on surface) (8%)

  • After-use and pre-disposal activities, such as item disassembly or multi-step processes (16%)

  • Reusing an old needle (3%)

Injuries are also directly linked to specific gadgets that can enhance the danger of blood or body fluid exposure. Among these devices are:

  • (27%) disposable syringe

  • (25%) Suture Needle

  • 6% Scalpel Blade

  • Iv Stylet (3%)

  • Needle with Wings (2%)

Multiple published papers highlight that sharps injury prevention (SIP) device injuries are rising. Many of these incidents occur before placing a safety feature. It is vital to practice safe work practices when utilising the devices. In addition, activating the safety feature/mechanism and disposing of sharps is critical in developing safer sharps safety procedures.

The frequency has decreased due to conventional precautions, engineering controls, and PPE. However, with an older population of patients seeking treatment who have active hepatitis C, hepatitis B, HIV, or co-infections with one or more of these viruses, the risks to healthcare workers are higher than ever.

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) has killed more baby boomers (born between 1945 and 1965) than 60 other infectious illnesses combined. Only around half of the people afflicted are aware that they are infected. The occupational health concerns connected with contaminated sharps injuries are less concerned with national estimates of total numbers and more with determining how to avoid them.

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