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Sharps Injuries Endangering Healthcare Workers

September 11, 2014

All healthcare workers should be aware of the importance of obeying the necessary safe sharps practices, in order to minimise their risk of being exposed to bloodborne pathogens through a percutaneous injury. However, despite various work being done by leading organisations and campaigns to raise awareness, incidents are still happening in some healthcare settings.

Melrose-Wakefield Hospital has been investigated by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) following an inspection, CBS Boston reports.

According to the leading new reporter, the hospital could face a heavy fine if OSHA decides that it has enough evidence to determine that the healthcare setting has been fallen below the necessary blood borne pathogen standards. 

These guidelines protect healthcare workers from all health hazards and include implementing the correct sharps safety measures, as well as delivering training and educational materials.

According to OSHA's report, the hospital has a number of serious problems that could be putting both patients and professionals working within the organisation at risk. The document found that employees are being "exposed to sharps injuries" when contaminated disposable blades are put with reusable surgical instruments to be cleaned and sterilised.

This incident, although rare, shows that there is still much progress for safer sharps campaigns to make. Many leading organisations and initiatives want to see needlestick injuries become a never event, so that similar incidents do not happen and that healthcare institutions can guarantee a certain standard of care for their workers and patients.

Not only does this ensure that healthcare professionals are protected by their employer while they are at work, but also helps them deliver the best standard of care to all the patients they treat.

Many campaigns believe this can be best achieved through a combination of implementing safety devices where possible, training and educational materials. This is more financially viable for healthcare settings in the long run as they minimise the risk of litigation, as well as emotional harm to their staff and loss of productivity that can arise from needlestick injuries.

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