Safety Sharps: What’s the Point?
Mayo Clinic is passionate about reducing employee exposures to blood-borne pathogens and has established the Blood-Borne Pathogen Exposure Reduction Subcommittee (BBPERS) to oversee the program. There are various members who represent areas of the practice that are most likely impacted by blood-borne pathogens, including nursing, occupational health, infection prevention and control, occupational safety, as well as research and clinical laboratories. BBPERS acquires, evaluates, records, tracks exposure events and their causes, and identifies and promotes safer products and work practices. The group is also responsible for the annual review and update of the Mayo Clinic–Rochester Blood-Borne Pathogen Exposure Control Plan and related educational activities. The Blood-Borne Pathogen Exposure Control Plan is designed to eliminate or minimize occupational exposure to human blood, body fluids, or other potentially infectious materials by complying with the OSHA Blood-Borne Pathogens Standard 29 CFR 1910.1030 and Standard Precautions.
As part of BBPERS' commitment to share information and resources, this recent article from Healthcare Purchasing News was shared with me, and I thought that our readers would also find it interesting: "Sharps Safety Calls for Aggressive Passive Design: Safety-Engineered Devices Should Be the Norm, Not Exception, Advocates Urge."
This article prompted me to do some searching, and I found some more great articles and information on blood-borne pathogens and sharps-injury reduction:
- Bloodborne Pathogens and Needlestick Prevention (from OSHA)
- Hospital eTool: Health Care Wide Hazards–Needlestick/Sharps Injuries (from OSHA)
- Quick Reference Guide to Blood-Borne Pathogens Standard (from OSHA)
- Blood-Borne Infectious Diseases: HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C (from CDC)
- AOHP Publishes Strategies to STOP Blood-Borne Pathogen Exposures (from EHS Today)
- Proven Strategies to Prevent Blood-Borne Pathogen Exposure in EXP-S.T.O.P. Hospitals (from AOHP)
- Blood-Borne Pathogen Resources (from BLR)
Protection of health care workers against exposure to blood-borne pathogens via needlesticks, other sharps injuries, and splashes is only part of the process. Knowing the risk of injury in various settings and situations will help workers remember to be careful and pay attention to what they are doing, but it’s also critical that safety devices be engineered so that they are easy to use.