The Australian Construction Safety Journal Autumn 2012 digital eMagazine has been released, view here: http://t.co/6qniRFQj
The provision of a safe and healthy working environment is a key function of the Occupational Health & Safety Department of any organisation. Of course, the safety of healthcare employees is everyone’s responsibility. Needlestick injury is a major risk particularly to clinicians. The problem, in many instances, is that injuries are not reported due to both time constraints and embarrassment by experienced staff . But if some incidents of needle stick injuries are converted to blood borne viruses the physical, psychological and dollar costs can be very high.
The reality is that no matter how experienced the healthcare employee, all intrusions and extractions are an accident waiting to happen. It only takes a nanosecond of lapse of concentration for a simple injection to potentially become a blood-borne virus in the staff member. Healthcare staff are our greatest asset and everything possible should be done to protect them. Just like a seat belt. We wouldn’t drive a car without a seat belt, then why would we use a needle with no guard? We are not saying that we are not experienced drivers, but accidents do happen. A managed prevention program with the proper tools is the only sure fire way to minimise the risk of needlestick injury.
All health care providers have some sort of OH&S program for needlestick injury prevention. A key part of that should be the provision of safety engineered medical devices. There is more value in giving trained staff the simple easy to use tools of the trade. The SurGuard2™ safety needle is an effective product for the prevention of needlestick injuries. The clinician simply locks the safety mechanism in place immediately after extraction. There is also an audible click confi rming the needle is safe. This helps to protect the staff member administering the injection as well as decreasing the potential risk of needlestick injuries to subsequent ancillary staff . Surshield™ Winged Blood Collection Set and the QUICK FIT® Safe-TE® Holders offer similar benefits.
When safety devices are introduced needlestick injuries are reduced*. Like all behaviour change, there can be some resistance to a new device because of the unfamiliarity of it and the unrealistic defence of “we don’t have needlestick injuries”. Closer research reveals that in some cases there are up to six times as many needlestick injuries when a traditional needle is used*. That is a high cost that cannot be ignored.
The crucial point is to protect staff from a blood borne virus and prevent them from transmitting the infection. The only prevention is safety. It is reassuring to know that today we have better safety prevention devices to help us in injury prevention. If today’s trainees start with the safety engineered medical devices, their use should become second nature to them through their whole career.
This could be the beginning of the end of needlestick injuries.
*Ref: Needlestick Prevention: An Ongoing Journey, Hoeggs, BSN, CIC, Memorial Medical Centre Johnstown Pennsylvania, November 2002