Stop Sticks is a community-based program announced by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C are among the bloodborne pathogens that can result from needlesticks and other sharps-related injuries in the workplace.
While operating room and emergency department personnel are especially at risk, clinical and nonclinical health care workers and health care administrators in hospitals, doctors' offices, nursing homes, and home health care agencies also may be exposed. NIOSH says the first step to reducing the risk is making health care workers aware of the magnitude of the problem.
According to the Exposure Prevention Information Network, sharps-related injuries in nonsurgical hospital settings decreased more than 31 percent from 2001 to 2006 following the Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act of 2000. But surgical settings saw an increase in injuries of more than 6 percent during the same time period, where adoption of safety devices was limited compared to the nonsurgical settings.
The network also says about half of sharps injuries go unreported. The idea of the campaign is to raise awareness of the problem and encourage changes in organizations' safety cultures and the use of safer sharps devices and practices.
"Safer sharps devices have engineering controls that are built into the product and prevent sharps injuries," according to NIOSH. "Safer sharps devices come in various types -- from devices that contain a protective shield over the needle to those that do not use a needle at all, and includes sharps containers. All traditional devices have safer alternatives that are highly effective in substantially reducing injuries."
The development of the campaign materials followed a multiyear pilot project in Columbia, S.C. They include a series of strategic communication initiatives designed to convey the message, stop sticks.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
August 29, 2011
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