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What Can Be Done About NSIs?

October 28, 2014

With the epidemic of ebola sweeping West Africa, and cases being reported in Europe and America, the issue of infection control and reducing the risk of further spreading the disease has become a prominent issue. 

At the heart of this is reducing needlestick injuries, therefore minimising the risk of cross-contamination between healthcare workers and inhibiting bloodborne pathogens from spreading throughout a population.

But what can be done to help reduce the number of needlestick injuries suffered? 

Campaigning
 
Campaigning can have a significant role in trying to reduce the number of percutaneous injuries suffered by healthcare workers, as well as by patients themselves. This can help to raise awareness of new innovations such as safety devices or the latest developments in legislation and law. As well as this, being part of a wider campaign can help promote better practices between healthcare workers themselves, which is at the heart of reducing needlestick and other medical sharps injuries. 

As an organisation, joining one of the country's leading campaigns can also help raise your profile in this field and help to position you as a hospital that prioritises occupational safety and is on the cusp of new innovation and initiatives.

Take the right preventative measures
 
Preventative measures can encompass a wide range of things that can help an organisation reduce the number of healthcare workers injured in a medical setting. For a wide range of hospitals this includes introducing safety devices and ensuring that all appropriate members of staff are trained to use them correctly, as well as knowing how to dispose of them in the right manner. Implementing safety devices has been found to reduce the number of needlestick injuries suffered from workers, as well as cutting costs.

However, it is also important that medical organisations also include the right level of training and education for each member of staff. This can be everything from learning how to use and dispose of safety devices to infection control practices and who is responsible for what within a team or organisation. This will help ensure that each person within the hospital has the same level of knowledge and that everyone is abiding by the same protocol.

A major part of preventative measures is also ensuring that the correct processes are in place for reporting any near-misses or needlestick injuries. Research has shown that many workers remain unclear or unconfident when it comes to making an official report, contributing to widely inaccurate statistics in the matter. 

Encourage staff to take responsibility 

Many pieces of legislation, including the recently implemented EU directive, split the responsibility for reducing occupational hazards between the employer and employees. However, it is important that staff are aware of the practices, measures and training they are themselves responsible for. This will not only help an organisation to minimise the risk of medical sharp injuries, but will also help to identify issues that are solely the responsibility of the employer.

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